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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lord Tweedsmuir tops Tamanawis in all-cat fight for Surrey RCMP Classic title

Panthers’ Jaeden Reid was named MVP at all-Surrey boys tournament

Surrey hosts grand-opening ceremony of North Surrey arena complex

‘Accessible’ facility features three sheets of ice

Trade to hometown team a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Surrey Eagles defenceman

Kieran O’Hearn gets to play in front of family, who live just minutes from South Surrey Arena

White Rock solid waste open house scheduled

Event to take place next month

U-Haul truck hits hydro pole, causes power outage in Surrey

Vehicle driving westbound on Fraser Highway

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Vancouver police investigate after man found dead in vehicle

Man has not been identified and no one has been arrested

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Most Read