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beware of dragons

A colleague, Amy N* sent me an offline message on March 18th afternoon telling me that Dragons’ Den would be holding auditions at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University for Hamilton-based entrepreneurs on April 1st, 2010 in preparation for the new season in September.

She thought it would be a good idea for me to give it a shot. I was actually touched she thought of me. I guess it goes to show that one never knows all those who’ve got one’s back and always rooting for you. Well, at first, I was skeptical for a few reasons.

The first reason was the date of the audition. It was April 1st, which is we all know is April Fool’s Day and I wondered if it could be a practical joke. I went to their site to confirm if auditions were actually going to be held; and wouldn’t you believe it, it was legitimate lol.

The second thing being the fact that even though I’ve only watched about 3 episodes of Dragons’ Den, I followed the entire first season of the American version- the Shark Tank, so I have a very good idea of what goes down. Even though they offer Entrepreneurs the amount of money banks presently wouldn’t, they usually seek a high stake in your company. I’m talking 50% and higher! Even though I agree that there’s a possibility that I might actually need some financial backing, experienced partnership and their powerful branding, I don’t want to just basically sign over my company to someone just because I could use his/her help. In a certain way, I feel like I’ll be selling my soul lol.

Anyway, within the week that followed, I talked to Amy N* and a couple of other people about my second fear, and the general consensus was, despite the fact of getting a percentage of the company, they feel what I stand to gain in return surpasses any percentage they could request. I get financial backing; their partnership, publicity and support. After much deliberation, I decided not to.

But then, unbelievably, something changed at the 59th second! lol.

So April 1st came and I was at home, bored out of my mind. I decided, oh whatever! I’ll just give it a shot! I rather know than wonder what if. And if I do get on the show, I don’t have to take any of their offers (if they make any), but the nationwide publicity I’d get, priceless! So I headed to school and made a 3-page description of the Pearl Kreations and why it is a viable business. It took me about 2 hours to compile. Once I was satisfied, I went to make 5 copies. I assumed there would be 5 producers at most.

I made my way to the auditions whilst reciting my pitch in my head. So I got there and there were 3 producers plus 3 students (whom I assumed volunteered to help out and make sure everything went well). For some reason, the presence of the students and not the producers made me nervous lol. I walked in with about 20 minutes left on the clock before the auditions were to end. So as soon as I came in, one of the students served me with a bunch of papers I had to fill and sign. Since I‘ve watched the show, I knew what information was relevant and advantageous; hence, I didn’t need to write about my business and its services in the information form because I had all the info they needed in the write-up. I just signed all the legal documents and got up for my presentation. There was even a document for green products and services that would help the environment. Obviously, mine isn’t green so I didn’t have to sign that.

Anyway, I got in front of them, and the lead lady was like, “whenever you’re ready!” I had this puzzled look for a split second ‘cuz I was expecting it to be a “questions & answers” session for some reason. It was when I started talking I realised how unbelievably nervous I was lol. I broke into a sweat, stuttered a little, but I got my message across: “Pearl Kreations is more about the applications of than the product itself. Button-badges aren’t something new, but how Pearl Kreations is different is in our approach, enthusiasm and the diverse, innovative applications we use these simple products for.

Below is one of the pages from my write-up on the various applications Pearl Kreations’ buttons:

I read it later and I discovered I made a couple of grammatical errors (not spellings though) and repetitions lol. I hope it wouldn’t cost me my chance! 😦

Anyway, I could tell they were impressed by electronic and mass media coverage I have gotten over the short duration of running the business, the numerous contractual applications I have come up with for Companies like Warner Bros, Fox Entertainment and Marvel for partnership opportunities. And my boldness to actually write and approach them in the first place; especially since I’m an international student from Nigeria!

I think I got them most interested when I disclosed our Olympic and Winter Olympics contracts as well as Pearl Kreations’ 2008 revenue (I won’t share it figure here, but it was a 5-digit figure well over $30,000CAD). I think I finally eased up when I saw their reaction lol. 2009’s revenue wasn’t as much, as most of the revenue was in Nigerian Naira (a couple hundred thousands) because I spent the better part of that year in Nigeria. Well, 2010 presently has a potential revenue of over $50,000 CAD because of the Winter Olympics sales and potential Canada Day Sales. They were astounded as how we could get so much from $2.00CAD and $2.50CAD products! Well, I have only God to thank! They made a few inquires, and I think I answered satisfactorily. One of which was if I have patents on the names- “All-Me Buttons “and “National Buttons”; and the applications like the “blends”, “frames” and “movie madness”. And yes I do…well it is being finalized. Good thing I thought to do so even though it cost some money. Now, if there’s ever an imitation of the names and/or concepts without my consent and royalty, I’ll be suing the smart ass lol.

When I was done, they told me I would get a call from them in a couple of weeks to let me know if I’ll be invited onto the show! As I packed up to leave, I looked at the students and they gave me a nod of approval. I could almost see the awe on their faces…as if to say: we’re proud of you. You’ve done McMaster proud lol.

As I left, I felt so happy I did it. Even if I don’t get on the show, they’ve heard about me- the famous Mr. Buttons lol. Even though they will hear tons of other ideas from all over Canada, no one will have buttons, and even if they do, none with Pearl Kreations’ style and innovation :-).

Wish me luck!

  1. neefemi
    February 24, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Good Luck and dare I say congrats in advance.

  2. Moyo
    February 24, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I actually thought it’ll end up being a prank (still might) lol!
    Nice one.
    All the best!

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