As Victoria entrepreneur Toni Desrosiers recently made her pitch on the popular show Dragons’ Den, she watched the judges eyes light up.
Desrosiers’ company, Abeego Designs Inc., creates reusable beeswax food wrap made from hemp, organic cotton infused with pure beeswax, organic jojoba oil and pine tree resin. It can be used to wrap fresh produce such as fruits, herbs, greens and onions, and is breathable and antibacterial.
Since the company launched in 2008, it has found success across Canada and the U.S., and other entrepreneurs are beginning to take notice, including those that Desrosiers pitched her company to on Dragons’ Den.
“When I started my pitch and I started sharing my mission to save food, I could see their eyes lighting up. Their interests and questions were fueling my confidence to impress them,” Desrosiers said, who described the experience of pitching to the Dragons as powerful and exciting.
Desrosiers’ journey to Dragons’ Den is an uncommon one. Instead of auditioning, Desrosiers was asked specifically to come on the show and make her pitch to the Dragons, which she eagerly accepted.
In the four weeks leading up to her TV debut, she feverishly worked on rebranding her product, meeting with advisors and graphic designers to pull the image together.
The end product: a pitch that focused on the benefits of Abeego to save food and the amount of food that’s wasted based on the care people give it — something she hoped viewers took away from her pitch as well.
“Canadians are throwing away $15 billion of food into the garbage every single year. That’s just from the household level and that’s an immense amount of food waste that costs our economy hugely,” said Desrosiers, adding the company is expected to launch the first of two new products this year.
“If I can create a way to save food, which saves the average Canadian money, I just think that tackling food waste in the kitchen is the one small thing I can do that is a step towards a more sustainable agricultural system.”
Her product piqued the interest of finance phenom Mike Wekerle and Jim Treliving, the original dragon and founder of Boston Pizza, who offered her a $140,000 double deal for 30 per cent of the company.
While Desrosiers accepted the deal during the episode which aired a few weeks ago, she decided she wanted more time to see how the rebranded product would do in the market. But the offer isn’t off the table — Desrosiers is able to renegotiate with the Dragons in the future.
Abeego is available in more than 750 stores across Canada and the U.S., and can be found in various stores in Victoria.