A16 Tri-City News Friday, November 5, 2010
Flames and fame for locals Entrepreneurs win one, lose one in the Den By Sarah Payne THE TRI-CITY NEWS
T wo T r i - C i t y e n trepreneurs went up against the vicious creatures in CBC’s Dragons’ Den, hoping for a hit of cash and business expertise from the five potential investors, but only one made the cut. Wendy Armbruster Bell of Snugabell, who developed the PumpEase hands-free breast pump system shortly after she had her first daughter in 2004, auditioned in Vancouver in March for the popular TV program and was flown to Toronto in May to tape an episode. She knew the national TV exposure would be invaluable but she was also aiming to drum up $50,000 to help her company grow. “The company grew so quickly we were cashstarved,” Armbruster Bell said, adding the Dragons’ knowledge and connections would have also provided a huge boost. And while the Dragons clearly enjoyed her model’s demonstration of the product — a snug-fitting bandeau that holds two breast pumps in place so a new mom’s hands can be free to fold laundry, answer emails or change a diaper — they declined to offer any dough (you can view the clip at www.pumpease.com). “It was an awesome experience and I got some great feedback,” she said. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” She has since secured funding through another investor and plans to diversify her products with the aim of landing Snugabell’s pretty and handy breastfeeding tools in medium- to large-scale retail chains. Another Tri-City entrepreneur, Lisa Malcic of Beba Bean, whose episode aired on CBC Wednesday evening, made a successful pitch and is now going through the due diligence process with two of the Dragons. Arlene Dickinson and Robert Herjavec agreed to put up the $315,000 Malcic and her husband, Beba Bean co-owner Peter Malcic, had requested in exchange for 40% of the company. “It was the right time in our company to look for investors,” Malcic said. When their business advisor suggested in the spring they audition for Dragons’ Den, they brought samples of their famous Pee-pee Teepee as well as their line of clean-lined bam-
Lisa and Peter Malcic of Beba Bean, a Port Coquitlam company, on the set of ‘Dragons’ Den.’ boo and knitwear, to go up against 200 other hopefuls. The producers loved the company and its products, and told the Malcics they would be going to Toronto, which they did less than two months later. The Malcics arrived
on the Dragons’ Den set at 6 a.m. with a pair of adorable twins modelling their clothing and Pee-pee Teepees customized with pictures of each Dragon on them. “You only see 10 minutes of it on TV but we were negotiating for 45 minutes,” Malcic re-
called. “After the first two minutes, you forget the cameras are on and you’re just in a business negotiation with potential investors.” Kevin O’Leary, known as one of the more biting Dragons, took a shine to the Pee-pee Teepee — a flannel cone to keep baby boys from peeing on their parents during diaper changes — but made no effort to hide his disdain for apparel companies, calling the Beba Bean line “crap.” Malcic brushed off the criticism, however, confident in the popularity of Beba Bean’s clothes, which are available in more than 2,500 retail stores around the world. The Malcics focused in on Dickinson and Herjavec, knowing they had the marketing and online expertise their
company needs. “We’ve been in business for seven years and it’s time to get that boost to take us to the next level,” Malcic said of the Port Coquitlambased Beba Bean. “We really wanted those two, we wanted Robert and Arlene, and we knew we wouldn’t go more than 40%.” They started the paperwork process in earnest in September and Malcic expects it to be another few months before everyone signs on the dotted line. Malcic plans to use the funding to expand Beba Bean’s online presence (www.bebabean. com), break into more European markets and expand their product line to include items such as bath products and sterling silver baby gifts. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Agenda Highlights Monday, November 8, 2010 7:00 pm – COUNCIL CHAMBERS 2580 Shaughnessy Street, Port Coquitlam PROCLAMATION • International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3rd, 2010
READING • Municipal Ticketing Information Amendment Bylaw No. 3696 First Three See Also: Report from Corporate OfÀcer Final • Business Improvement Association Bylaw No. 3736 See Also: Report from Corporate OfÀcer • OfÀcial Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 3739 for Final 2517-37 Wilson Final • Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3741 for 2517-37 Wilson Avenue • OfÀcial Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 3744 Final • Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3745 Final
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Community Safety Committee • Support for Participation in the “Shakeout BC” Earthquake Drill Smart Growth Committee • North-East Dominion Triangle Area - OCP Amendment Application Social Inclusion Committee • Proposed Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing Facility at 3030 Gordon Avenue in the City of Coquitlam Standing Committee Verbal Updates • Finance and Intergovernmental Committee • Smart Growth Committee • Environmental Enhancement Committee • Community Safety Committee
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Complete November 5, 2010 issue of The Tri-City News as it appeared in print