Chilliwack business owner enters the Dragon’s Den

Brent Poulton flew to Toronto to pitch his ugly Christmas sweaters for dogs in the Dragon’s Den

Sometimes it’s not the destination that’s most important, but rather the journey. At least that’s how Chilliwack’s Brent Poulton feels about his Funky Tails pitch to top Canadian business gurus on CBC’s Dragon’s Den.

Poulton said he came up with the idea of selling ugly canine Christmas sweaters with matching sizes for their human counterparts a few years ago while watching an episode of Dragon’s Den.

“We saw (the show) and thought ugly Christmas sweaters would be perfect to sell in our (pet) store. But we couldn’t find any anywhere, so we came up with the idea to make our own,” explained Poulton.

Poulton’s been selling his Funky Tails sweaters for about four years, focusing on online sales through his website and wholesale. He now has nearly 100 retailers carrying his ugly canine Christmas sweaters. But friends kept encouraging him to go bigger. So when auditions for the Den rolled into the Valley this spring, Poulton stepped in and pitched his idea.

Three days after auditioning, Poulton learned he was selected to go in front of the Dragons themselves. “Not everyone ends up on TV,” said Poulton. “You need to be good for TV to end up on TV,” he continued, explaining how less than a quarter of in-person pitches actually end up airing.

After receiving his invitation into the Den, Poulton booked a flight to Toronto where the show is located. Filmed in April, Poulton didn’t learn until mid-November that his pitch would be aired in Thursday night’s holiday-themed episode.

Of the six Dragons—Arlene Dickinson, Joe Mimran, Manjit Minhas, Michele Romanow, Jim Treliving, and Michael Wekerle—it was Dickinson who showed immediate interest in Poulton’s Funky Tails sweaters, offering him the $15,000 he was asking for within minutes.

“I have never done a dog investment. This one I’m going to do! I’m going to give you exactly what you asked for,” exclaimed Dickinson, recalling a previous ugly Christmas sweater idea that netted co-Dragon Treliving a 3200% return on his initial investment.

“I love it, I don’t need to talk about it,” Dickenson added. “Nothing says love for your pet like dressing like your pet.”

Overall, the experience was a good one for Poulton. “I think it was worth it. I would’ve been just as satisfied even if I didn’t end up on TV.

“Not everyone gets to do something like this,” he said. “Even just the feedback I got from these highly successful (entrepreneurs) made the experience totally worthwhile.”

And although Poulton’s original pitch was for ugly Christmas sweaters, Funky Tails is diversifying its pet-wear, carrying sweaters for every season. Visit www.funkytails.com to check them out.

READ MORE: Brent Poulton and his Pug, Jenny


@SarahGawdin
sarah.gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vancouver concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

High calibre athletes enjoyed Hope Curling Club

Injured Canuck Bo Horvat on hand to watch girlfriend win at curling playdowns

A trip for red wine led to new store in Hope

Couple leaves ice roads for life in retail

Hope Hospice tree brings Christmas cheer

Passers-by can use the provided tags to write the name of friends, family or even pets that have passed

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Most Read