For months Kim Williams has had to stay silent when friends and family asked about one of the biggest events of her professional career.
But the cat, and a few other items essential to her business, will be out of the bag tonight when her appearance on CBC’s Dragon’s Den airs to a national audience.
“I went last April and I’ve had to keep this secret since then,” said the owner of two Central Okanagan stores that deal in all things “sensual.”
“Now I’m in the commercial (for Wednesday’s show) everybody is asking me ‘what happened’ when I’m in the mall or just getting groceries.”
As owner of two Wild Kingdom stores, Williams has spent 13 years cornering the local market on selling tools needed for enhancing sexuality, first with her Lawrence Avenue shop and in recent years the Westbank counterpart.
In that time she and her staff became “experts” on the matter due to their ability to address a raft of customer challenges in an open and frank matter, not to mention with professionalism.
And that’s where she saw space for expansion.
Early last year those led her to the 2010 Kelowna leg of auditions for the TV show that puts entrepreneurs’ ideas under scrutiny.
She made an impact during that round, so she was then directed to Toronto where she was filmed going face to face with the Dragons in search of $100,000 in exchange for 40 per cent of the business.
And it’s what came from that meeting that people are intensely curious about.
“It was a unique experience and I was pleased with myself,” she said, still refusing to divulge the results.
“I arrived at a 6:30 a.m. in my business suit, with my products in tow, and the producer helped me with everything, and they treated me really great.”
There was a lot of “back and forth” between Williams and the judges, as they tried to suss out what made Wild Kingdom any more franchise-worthy than other stores, and she says she held her ground.
“You really have to go there and know what you’re talking about…I studied for months and I know everything about every Dragon and I went in there with the numbers,” she said, referring to how she made her business case. “But what really makes me different is the concept. You’re coming into an environment that is tasteful, classy and calming. In the past, stores like this have been seedy and run by people who don’t know what they’re buying.”
In Williams’ estimates, Wild Kingdom is a store that invites customers to step out of the shadows, and that’s the investment-worthy concept.
“We don’t block out the windows in our shop, there’s no need to hide it — it’s time to embrace our sexuality,” she said.
“I told them, ‘An orgasm a day keeps the stress away,’ and they raised their eyebrows, but I had a good time and they liked the idea.”
Whether or not it enticed them to part with their cash is a fact Williams will save until tonight, when her friends and family gather at Kelly O’Bryans to watch the show.
“All I can say is I was happy with how it turned out for me,” she said.
“I got what I needed to get out of it.”
Dragons’ Den airs on CBC at 8 p.m.