Entrepreneur makes a Dragon of a deal

Entrepreneur Dan Plante pitches his Chawel to the millionaire investors of CBC’s Dragons’ Den on Wednesday night’s show, with the help of a few models.  - photo courtesy of CBC
Entrepreneur Dan Plante pitches his Chawel to the millionaire investors of CBC’s Dragons’ Den on Wednesday night’s show, with the help of a few models.
— image credit: photo courtesy of CBC

Dan Plante couldn’t have asked for much more from his appearance on Wednesday night’s season premiere of CBC TV’s Dragons’ Den.

The former longtime local and current White Rock resident was offering 35 per cent of his business for $100,000, hoping to mine the connections of the panel of multi-millionaire entrepreneurs and investors, including the founder of Richmond-headquartered restaurant chain Boston Pizza, Jim Treliving.

His product: the Chawel, a towel that’s part change-room, part blanket, part sleeping bag and part neck pillow.

Not only did Plante appear on the premiere, the lifeguard opened the popular show’s sixth season, walking up to the Dragons while sporting swim trunks, and alongside two bikini-clad models he’d hired in Toronto.

“If ever there was an infomercial product that’s come on this show, this is it,” said marketing guru Arlene Dickinson, who said she was impressed by the product and by Plante, who she called “the real deal.”

Observed O’Leary Funds chair Kevin O’Leary: “There was a product called the Snuggie which sold hundreds of millions of dollars, and it was an infomercial product.”

Plante finally shook hands with Dickinson—who gave him precisely what he’d requested—but in the four months since the show was shot, there hasn’t been much progress on the creation of an informercial.

But Plante’s been flooded with orders since Wednesday night’s airing—many from family and friends—which coincided nicely with the launch of his revamped website.

“I was very nervous,” Plante said of his appearance in front of the Dragons on the CBC soundstage in Toronto.

He was surprised that almost before he finished pitching his product, the Dragons began making him offers. Treliving, O’Leary, and Robert Herjavec also made offers.

“I thought my whole show was going to be arguing it was a good product,” he said.

Plante, who is now a proud father of a two-and-half-month-old girl, is heading off to San Francisco where he’ll be pitching his product to dragon boaters and triathletes at a series of events.

And although green may be in his future, Plante knows about the people who’ve supported him to get where he is today.

“I owe my family and other half big time. They’ve been so patient with the amount of work I’m doing.”

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