Matt White, founder of Sussex Beard Oil Merchants, a company that designs, markets and sells grooming products for men, sat down with us at his home/manufacturing plant to talk about his experience facing the fire on The Dragons Den and coming out unscathed and with a deal.
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Facing the dragons sounds pretty darn intimidating, especially if those dragons are all highly successful in their fields of business and are in a position to either invest and encourage all your hard work to date or, breathe fire on the whole thing setting your dreams ablaze. Of course it’s all on national television in front of millions of people.
Canadian entrepreneurs have been facing this blood curdling situation for the past ten seasons of the hit CBC show. Some have their businesses jolted into overnight success, others are sent running for the hills.
Initially Matt, who started his company just three years prior, auditioned just to try something different. He had a hard time believing they had actually selected him to be on the show. “I still actually have the call on my phone, when I got the call from CBC that they wanted me to come up and film in Toronto. I thought this is a joke, there’s no way.”
Once the initial shock of making the cut wore off, Matt headed to Toronto on his own dime and stayed in a hotel close to filming so he wouldn’t get lost.
Like any Knight from days of old will tell you, it is never wise to face a dragon alone. Matt teamed up with Jesse Hayman, director of Community Engagement for Movember Canada, a man with a deep appreciation for facial hair.
Matt and Jesse hadn’t met in person before the taping so Jesse applied the beard oil (one of the products offered by Matt’s company) for the first time with the help of one of the dragons, Michele Romanow, on live tv.
After the taping, Matt was worried how the editors might portray him once it was all said and done but the episode actually turned much better than he hoped. Two out of the 5 dragons loved the product and offered to come on board.
Since the airing of the show, things have changed substantially, but what has impacted Matt the most has been the community response. “What was overwhelming for me was the support that I got from people who emailed. The stories I would get from people, how encouraged they were from seeing me on the show.”
Sussex Beard Oil Merchants’ mantra is “Behind every beard there is a chin and behind every chin there is a man with a story.”
To be a part of the beard story, or to order products, go to – SussexBeard.ca