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

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

You can make a difference in a child’s life

A dozen Mission boys and girls are on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley waitlist

Hatzic man charged with assaulting Chilliwack RCMP officers

Jason Roberto Vatcher was out on bail facing firearms charges

Abbotsford pedestrian/cycling bridge to open next week

Free hot dogs promised for grand opening on Jan. 23

BREAKING: Accused Abbotsford school killer now fit for trial, defence lawyer says

Medication has quieted voices, Gabriel Klein told BC Review Board this morning

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Dog shot in foot with BB gun during cellphone sale at SkyTrain station

William Ayers, 28, is facing a number of charges after incident in Burnaby

Man, two children sent to hospital after Vancouver carbon monoxide leak

Nine people were evacuated from the home in south Vancouver

Most Read