Dragon’s Den held auditions on Vancouver Island for its twelfth season on March 10 at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour. (Photo courtesy Dragon’s Den)

Dragon’s Den held auditions on Vancouver Island for its twelfth season on March 10 at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour. (Photo courtesy Dragon’s Den)

Victoria’s Jill Van Gyn of FATSO peanut butter to appear on Dragon’s Den

The company will be featured on the Sept. 27 episode of the popular show highlighting Canadian businesses

As Jill Van Gyn walked towards the filming room, where she and her FATSO peanut butter would stand before the Dragon’s Den judges, Van Gyn thought she was going to throw up.

“I’m always over prepared and I’m always terrified before I go in, but the moment I start to do it, it becomes super easy,” Van Gyn said of her Dragon’s Den experience.

The born-and-bred Victorian said she originally decided to audition for the show because she loves a good challenge.

READ MORE: Dragon’s Den looking for fire in Victoria

“I thrive in those environments, the challenge of auditions and being in front of people where the wrong word could have a huge impact. I enjoy that kind of pressure, so when I heard Dragon’s Den was coming to Victoria, I thought it would be something I wanted to do,” Van Gyn said.

After the audition, Van Gyn was then selected to fly to Toronto to film her segment. Then she only had a one-in-three shot of her episode actually being aired, making the price of flights and time away from her business a risk. But it’s paid off: FATSO peanut butter will be featured in the Sept. 27 episode.

Van Gyn began watching Dragon’s Den more after starting her own company. She’d study how other food entrepreneurs pitched their product and how they were evaluated.

“I’ve always been a big fan of Arlene Dickinson,” Van Gyn said. “She’s really been able to be a strong voice in a sea of men in business.”

While she can’t reveal what happened when she met the Dragons — despite many people asking if she got a deal — Van Gyn said she’s most looking forward to seeing FATSO become a recognized brand across Canada.

“It’s scary because there’s no way to quantify what happens after you get on a show like this. Are my sales going to go up? Is this going to sink me? I don’t know,” Van Gyn said. “These are all unknowns.”

RELATED: FATSO pulls product from company accused of ‘fat shaming’

FATSO peanut butter began in Nov. 2016, and in two short years, Van Gyn has brought it from Victoria to Vancouver, and now it’s sold as far away as P.E.I. The CEO credits the local support from her fellow Victorians as helping her achieve her success.

“We have people who have really dedicated their lives to making Victoria an amazing food city, and the fact we have people who are dedicated to buying local has really held up a lot of these companies,” she said. “The support I’ve enjoyed in Victoria has been fundamental in bringing FATSO into a national brand.”

Her appearance on Dragon’s Den will air on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. Van Gyn will be watching herself with friends and family from a private screening (complete with FATSO snacks, of course) at the Victoria Whole Foods store.

READ MORE: Victoria Women’s Expo showcases the latest trends


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

David Wighton is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as the winner of the Coaches Award. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Life-changing lessons shared after 55-year coaching career

David Wighton is the 2021 recipient of the Local Hero Coaches Award

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Island Health has reported possible COVID-19 exposures at Glandford Middle School in Saanich on Feb. 8, 9, 10, 11 and 17. (Google Maps streetview)
Island Health reports COVID-19 exposures at Saanich middle school

Exposures occurred between Feb. 8 and 17 at Glanford Middle School

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after a news conference at the legislature in Victoria on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. reports 559 new cases of COVID-19, one death

4,677 cases of the virus remain active in the province; 238 people are in hospital

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Contributed to Kamloops This Week)
B.C. teen in turtleneck, lace-edged dress sent home from school for ‘inappropriate’ outfit

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson was told the lace on the garment made it look like a slip dress

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

Wade Dyck with Luna, a dog who went missing near the Chasm for 17 days following a rollover on Feb. 5. (Photo submitted).
Dog missing for 17 days through cold snap reunited with owner in northern B.C.

Family ecstatic to have the Pyrenees-Shepherd cross back home.

Quesnel RCMP confirmed they are investigating a residential break-in at a home on the Barkerville Highway. (File image)
Thieves make off with $300K in Cariboo miner’s retirement gold

Tim Klemen is offering a reward for the return of his gold

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Tribes COVID-19 death count hits four

Second doses of Pfizer vaccine expected on March 8 as community count hits 230 since Dec. 31

Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire. Image: The Canadian Press
Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell makes third attempt at bail on sex charges

Maxwell claims she will renounce her U.K. and French citizenships if freed

Most Read