A Red Deer woman hoping to land a deal for her eco-friendly feminine hygiene product made a successful pitch on CBC’s Dragon’s Den Thursday night.
"Megapreneur" JB Owen has developed a product called Lotus Liners, described as Canada’s first hypo-allergenic, antibacterial, odour-free, stain-resistant and washable feminine hygiene product alternative.
After travelling to Toronto in May of this year to make her pitch to The Dragons, the November 8 episode showed Owen asking for a $140,000 investment in exchange for 18 per cent ownership of her business.
Five of six Dragons turned her down while Manjit Minhas, Co-founder, Minhas Brewery, Distillery & Winery made a counter-offer of a $150,0000 investment in exchange for 35 per cent ownership of Lotus Liners.
“I know you’re definitely tackling a problem that not only exists for North American women but is an international problem,” said Minhas. “It’s a very big problem on the other side of the world and so I think that you definitely have a bigger market in the international market than the North American market because they understand the re-useable, they re-use everything, even if it’s not re-useable!”
Owen accepted the offer and said, “I’m so excited! Lotus Liners is coming to the world, it’s great, I’m so excited!”
Owen created Lotus Liners four years ago to help the issue of women using disposable products that are filled with chemicals while Health Canada does not regulate feminine products.
“A lot of feminine products contain toxins and chemicals that are being absorbed into the body. So I had a real advocate desire to improve the way women felt about their lives every single month and wanted to create a product that would make a difference. Plus, 1.7 billion pads are going into landfills every year, so I knew this was an ecological issue.”
Owen feels Lotus Liners are a product women all over the world can use.
“I think of it as kind of a three-pronged effect, its benefitting health, it’s really benefitting a huge demographic of people. Every woman everywhere gets their period, so I felt it was a great product for them to see on a global scale,” explains Owen. “Then the environmental impact and just creating something that would be beneficial for Canadians and women in general, saving money.”
She adds Lotus Liners last three to five years and have a lifetime warranty on the snap.
“Once you buy a Lotus Liner, you pretty much don’t have to buy anything else for about three to five years,” states Owen. “So women will save about $12,000 in a lifetime. You can buy a box of three with a bag and it’s $39.99.”
In terms of feedback, Owen says it’s been all over the map so far.
“I get everything from ‘icky’, ‘no thank you’, to ‘I absolutely love this, I’ve been looking for this, this is absolutely fabulous, I wish everybody was using them’, ‘it’s revolutionary’, so I get the whole gamut."
Owen adds however, her experience on the show has further fuelled the fire to keep going with her business aspirations.
“It was very nerve wracking and it’s definitely a grueling process between application, interview and being on the show and everything after the show,” she exclaims. “So I would say to people, love your product, love what you do, be passionate about your idea or invention, don’t let anybody stop you or tell you it’s not possible because it is possible and if you have the passion and the drive behind it, I think the Dragons really recognize that.”
More importantly, Owen says, is once you’re in the Den you really need to know your business.
“Know your numbers, know your business plan, really be accurate about what you’re telling them and what you’re selling,” states Owen. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You kind of show up, they put you at the top of the stairs, they open the door and down you go. There’s no preparation, you don’t meet the Dragons before, you don’t see the set, you really are just pushed into the situation immediately.”
“Even just getting the information out to Canada and people in Canada to know what entrepreneurs are doing these days is absolutely mandatory and beneficial for everyone,” continues Owen. “We’re taking Lotus Liners into Australia and we’ve already moved into Germany and then we’ll obviously be wanting to make sure that everywhere there is disposable feminine products, women can buy washable as an option. I think every woman deserves to have an option, so looking at moving into the bigger chains and pharmacies.”
Owen’s product Lotus Liners are available for purchase at lotusliners.com, on Amazon and at 250 stores across Canada.
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