My Dragons Den Audition - Is Helping Older Dogs Enough for TV? by Ann-Marie Fleming

18 February, 2012


Yesterday I auditioned for Dragons' Den and I'm still riding the high. I have been wanting to be on Dragons' Den for some time but never had the nerve to actually go and audition. In part because we were still a young company and in part due to the fear of the unknown, but this year I went for it. It was not nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be...I knew once I started talking about my business I'd be fine because I love talking about what we do and where we are going, but I wasn't sure how the day would unfold and that made me nervous. 

The auditions were to run from 11pm-6pm and to avoid the line my sister and I (and Ozzy) arrived a couple hours ahead of the start time to secure a spot in line thinking there would be hundreds...we got to the location which was in Surrey, at SFU and thought we were in the wrong place because we only saw 3 people...turns out the auditions were not really publicized, much to our joy, and simply put, not that many people showed up. By the time the auditions actually began the room had maybe 20 people in it, a far cry from the hundreds I had anticipated. 

The good news was that by being there so early we had the opportunity to be interviewed by Business in Vancouver who were covering the event with a spotlight on Surrey business, so we fit the bill nicely...more to tell about this in a bit. At about 10:30am they wrote our names down in the order we had arrived and we were moved into a room to wait for the auditions to start.

The producers were late so there was a bit of a delay in kicking things off but we were 4th in line so I expected to be out fairly soon. We had the Dogger dog stroller and our Washable Wonders dog diapers, wraps and pads to show as part of my pitch. Having my sister there was great. She helped settle my nerves and we had Ozzy in the stroller so his cuteness was very calming...also the interview with BIV was like a practice run, so I was feeling very confident.

At about 11:20 the first person was called in to make their pitch so we were finally getting things moving. Ozzy was panting by now and I was getting fidgety. The next thing we knew was one of the organizers came in and asked for Ann-Marie. I raised my hand and she said that there is a reporter asking for me to go next so he can get some shots of me pitching before he leaves - YES! I went from 4th in line to 2nd and was suddenly up next! I felt like a VIP  - what a great boost of confidence to go in with. Our name was called and we made our way up to the theatre where the auditions were taking place. Having the stroller made it interesting since the presentation area in the theatre was at the bottom of a long set of stairs so my sister and I carried it down with Ozzy enjoying the ride.

Then it began...I  introduced myself, my sister Jennifer and Ozzy and explained that we were all about improving the quality of life for older dogs. I explained what we did in the context of the human world, where a huge market has been formed to provide assistance to the aging population of people and that the same thing was happening in the dog world. As people continue to embrace dogs as part of their families, they invest more into their care and dogs are now living longer. This in turn means that a growing number of dogs are filling the senior category and this is driving the need for assistance products which is where Dog Quality comes in.

I also explained how Dog Quality began which was from my own experiences with my senior dogs who were facing issues around mobility and incontinence and how heartbreaking it is to see your dogs struggle, and how powerless you feel when you can't help them. I then began to explain how and why we introduced our own product lines and why they are important for making life easier for dogs and family alike. The producers were very nice, made me feel comfortable.

They seemed very receptive and thought we had a unique business - they even said to make it interesting for TV we'd need to get a bunch of old dogs to be on stage with me and a producer could help with this, which I took as a positive sign. We were also able to get some footage of our day (see below), even of the audition itself which they said was ok for us to do. My sister had the difficult job of trying to grab some footage and at the same time help keep Ozzy happy, who by now was starting to whine. So with one hand on Ozzy and one hand on the camera she was able to capture quite a bit of the audition itself which I wanted to share with all of you.

As you know I love sharing my journey as I grow Dog Quality, so hopefully seeing some behind the scenes footage will be as fun for you as it was for me.

Will we be on Dragons' Den? Well that's yet to be determined - they said if they want me on the show they'd call within 2-3 weeks and if it is a no there will be no call... so I wait. The one thing I do know is it felt great to really go for it and no matter what happens I have grown from the experience and I have no regrets - I said everything I wanted to say with all my heart and now it is in the hands of the producers. But if you ask me - I think helping older dogs would be fantastic for TV! :)

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