Shade Sails Canada has made shade sails in Revelstoke for several years. Annie Murphy, one of the owners, is a seamster by trade. It was sewing that put her through university. She will travel to Toronto next month to be on Dragons’ Den. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Revelstoke company to be on Dragons’ Den

The company will travel to Toronto in May to share their business idea to potential investors

A Revelstoke business is going to be on reality television.

Shade Sails Canada auditioned to be on Dragons’ Den last month when the show was looking for entrepreneurs in Kelowna. They recently learned they made the cut.

The company, based in Revelstoke, is one of the only ones in Canada that makes shade sails. A shade sail is a device that creates outdoor shade based on the design of a ship’s sail. A plastic woven fabric is tensioned between several anchor points and the structure can be installed permanently in public places such as parks and playgrounds or even in someone’s backyard.

Shade Sails Canada is one of the only companies in Canada that make shade sails. A shade sail is a device that creates outdoor shade based on the design of a ship’s sail (Submitted)

The company has made shade sails for the City of Toronto, Victoria Airport and are working on an order for the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

Shade sails are particularly popular in sunny countries, such as Australia, but not well known in Canada.

“I think we have a product that is largely unscratched in Canada,” said Annie Murphy, one of the owners of Shade Sails Canada.

The company also uses leftover fabric from the sails to make grow bags.

READ MORE: Revelstoke company turns waste into flowerpots

Grow bags are fabric flower pots and because the fabric is breathable, UV protected, and drains properly, it provides the ideal growing conditions said Murphy. Since shade sail fabric is meant to last 25 years in direct sun and wind, the bags are long lasting and some can even be used as shopping bags.

Green bags are fabric flower pots and because the fabric is breathable, UV protected, and drains properly, it provides the ideal growing conditions (Submitted)

The company is trying to be waste-free and become more profitable at the same time.

Murphy has watched Dragons’ Den for a couple years. She said one product that stood out was Endy, a company that sells mattresses that can be rolled up and moved.

While bed mattresses are not new, Endy went about it differently. Murphy thought Shade Sails Canada could do the same and bring an already invented item into the spotlight in a slightly different and more sustainable way.

“We want to become a household name,” Graham Harper, general manager of Shade Sails Canada.

Endy was on Dragons’ Den in 2017. They are now one of Canada’s largest mattress companies and known around the world.

“Deal or no deal, we’ll be happy we went,” Harper said.

Both Harper and Murphy are binge-watching Dragons’ Den to prepare. Harper just watched Season 13, Episode 10.

“I think it’ll help,” Harper said.

On Dragons’ Den, aspiring Canadian entrepreneurs pitch ideas to a panel of potential investors, called Dragons.

On May 16, the company will have 60 seconds to make a pitch in Toronto. If the Dragons are interested, they’ll invest.

“Part of me believes we’re getting on the show because we’re from Revelstoke,” said Murphy with a chuckle.

People find Revelstoke exciting.

Out of thousands that apply, the show takes roughly a hundred. However, people on the show have to pay for their own flights and accommodation to attend.

“It’s on our own dime,” said Harper.

Season 14 will air this fall.


 

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This contraption helps cut the sails to size. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

The company uses left over fabric to make grow bags. They said they are one of the only shade sails company that’s repurposing its waste. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Graham Harper, general manager, shows how the sails work and fasten. He will travel to Toronto next month to be on Dragons’ Den. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

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