Though just seven years old, Jade Bohn hoped to impress producers from CBC’s Dragons’ Den TV show Saturday morning with her idea to collect and sell Gordon’s Beach sea stones to spa clients.
“She would see me watching the show all the time,” said Jade’s mother, Michelle Bohn, owner of Le Sooke Spa. Jade then asked her mother if she could go on the popular TV show.
“I said, ‘Sure, why not?’” Bohn said. The mother-daughter team from Sooke was among dozens of entrepreneurs, inventors and artists who excitedly waited for their turn to audition at the Inn at Laurel Point in Victoria.
They will learn within the next week and a half whether they’ll be invited to pitch their ideas to the dragons in front of the cameras in Toronto, beginning April 12.
The competition is fierce.
Between 3,500 and 4,500 people audition for the show every year. Of those, 250 are invited for filming, though only half will appear on the show.
A small number of presenters will come away with a deal with one or more of the wealthy investors, who include Kevin O’Leary, Jim Treliving, Arlene Dickinson, Robert Herjavec and Bruce Croxon.
Jade came up with the idea to collect and sell beach stones about a year ago. She and her mom collect enough stones during each trip to the beach to make up 50 bags.
The stones, which can be warmed and used for pedicures, facials and massage treatments, are washed and oiled. Each bag of 12 stones sells in Michelle’s spa for $9.95.
“But if we sell to spas and salons, we’ll have a wholesale price,” said Michelle, who hadn’t yet decided how much money to ask the dragons for.
Her daughter, who dreams of becoming a singer rather than an entrepreneur, wasn’t fazed by the thought of one day facing the investors.
“They’re kind to the kids,” Jade said. “Sometimes they agree with the kids and the adults.”
Just when producers think they’ve seen every type of pitch imaginable, still more creative ideas come through their door.
Season six contestants, who are now appearing on the show on Wednesdays nights, stepped up their game.
“There’s every kind of spectacle,” executive producer Tracie Tigh said, from an opera singer to fire eaters to medieval jousting. “Canada is rife with entrepreneurial talent.”
This audition tour is also turning up some incredible talent, said associate producer Amy Bourne.
The producers’ stop in Victoria proved no different. There were painters, musicians and inventors of several unique products, including a supply bag designed with pizza delivery people in mind.
“I think going into season seven people sort of know what to expect a little bit more,” Bourne said. “So you see the pitchers come in with really high-calibre pitches.”