In honour of our episode of Dragons’ Den airing, we thought we would look back on the journey that got us here. It has been such an entirely incredible experience from start to finish and we count ourselves lucky to be chosen to enter the Dragons’ Den!
Producing a television show from filming to airtime is no small task! We filmed our episode of Dragons’ Den on May 12, 2017, and it didn’t air until almost a year later. We were fortunate enough to be part of the District Venture Accelerator Program run by Arlene Dickenson and that is how we think we got on the radar for Dragons’ Den.
On the evening of Tuesday, May 9th we received a call at our Calgary office from CBC asking if we would like to be on the Dragons’ Den episode being filmed that Thursday in Toronto. Our natural response was “YES!” followed by the sudden realization of “How can we make this happen in 72 hours?”.
First things first, we booked our flights and brainstormed ideas. According to the parameters for the show, we had two minutes to pitch our idea to the Dragons and all we could use was ourselves and the product. We came up with the concept of adding a mixology expert to our team that could craft signature mocktails for the Dragons. We then scrambled to connect with a Bartending school in Toronto, Bartender1, to find a bartender on short notice. Their manager, Markus, thankfully helped us out big time and hooked us up with our fantastic bartenders, Farley and Courtney who added the flair we needed to our pitch.
From that point on we zeroed in on the language. We knew we had to create a fantastic pitch that would convince the Dragons in less than two minutes. We got to writing and we liked the script we had created but we knew it was missing something. That is when one of our close friends stepped up. Not only is he a creative and talented person but he is also a fan of the product and suggested he could add the consumer’s view to the pitch. With his additions to the script, it felt right. He found the perfect words to say everything we wanted to convey. From that point on we practiced tirelessly so that we could walk onto the stage confident and ready.
We then headed to the airport, late and sleep deprived. With us, we had an extra suitcase packed and loaded with PilotsFriend energy tonics exceeding the weight requirements for our travel so with being quick on our feet, we rushed over to the overweight baggage drop-off, got rolling and made it onto the plane, on route to Toronto. Phew!
On arrival in Toronto, we learned that our Dragons’ Den shoot time had been pushed back, which gave us extra preparation time. We were able to meet with our mixology team and create a PilotsFriend mocktail that perfectly showcased our product. After trying many different combinations, we decided on one that we thought the Dragons would love. PilotsFriend is already a unique complex flavour and we decided the best direction to take was to simply enhance its citric aromas.
In addition to this, opportunity connected us with a former Dragons’ Den contestant that helped us refine our purpose behind the pitch. We knew if we wanted to make a good impression, we would have to pull out all the stops and create an entertaining segment.
Locked and loaded, everything was in place and we were ready to enter the Den! Walking onto the stage was a rush of natural nerves and excitement. When we got onto the stage, all eyes were fixated on us. We held fast to the knowledge that we believe in our product and there is no one in the world that knows it better than we do.
By now, we’re sure you have seen the ultimate result! The Dragons loved the concept, design and most of all the taste and colour of our tonic. Those opinions lead us to secure a deal with three of the Dragons! Altogether the experience was a positive one and we learned a lot about ourselves, our brand and our business. We can’t thank everyone that supported us through this process enough. It was truly amazing!
If you haven’t had a chance to catch our Dragons’ Den segment, no worries! All the episodes are available online. Click here to watch!