A Kelowna inventor and entrepreneur is taking his product onto a well known national television show.
Mike McQuaid will be pitching his Umbrella Station to the Dragons’ Den after successfully auditioning for the show. His presentation will be filmed on April 24th, and the decision to audition for the Dragons was an easy one. When he first came up with the idea several years ago, McQuaid noted one of the first things people would say to him was that he should put it before the Dragons. So when the show came to Kelowna several weeks ago for auditions, he didn’t hesitate in signing up.
“I wasn’t really nervous,” McQuaid said of his audition. “I wasn’t really expecting to get invited on, they interview 3,000 people and only take a couple hundred. But I’m such a strong believer in the product and what it can do, and I’m so comfortable showing it I wasn’t nervous, I was proud to show it.”
The audition for the show came at an exciting time for McQuaid, as after a year-long delay in production as he waited for some production pieces to come together, he finally began selling the Umbrella Station several weeks ago. In that time he has already shipped a full container to England, and has had several local businesses approach him about putting their logo on the umbrella and then giving it away as a promotional gift.
While McQuaid doesn’t yet know when the episode he will appear in will be aired, he does know nothing but good will come of his pitch to the Dragons, even if they choose not to invest in it.
“The main thing is exposure,” he said. “There’s no other product like this, I’m not competing for shelf space with other products. When I take it to the park or beach and set it up, people go, ‘Wow, I never knew that existed.’ So I’m confident once people see this and what it does, they’ll want to purchase it. So the Dragons’ Den for me is exposure, and it’s also getting some business guidance. I’ve taken this a long way, and I’m a salesman by trade, but I’ve never taken a product to market before. So I’m really looking forward to seeing the Dragons giving me guidance in which direction we should go with this.”
The Umbrella Station, which is made in Kelowna, will be on display at the B.C. Interior Sportsman Show at the Capital News Centre on April 9th and 10th. For more information on the Umbrella Station, visit www.umbrella-station.com or contact McQuaid by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.