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Local business makes TV debut on Dragon’s Den

This Sunday, Canadians will be tuning into CBC’s hit show Dragon’s Den, and this week’s show will have a Saanich Peninsula twist to it.

Adam Olsen, along with sister Joni and mother Sylvia decided in the spring of 2012 to pitch their business, Salish Fusion Knitwear, to Dragons Den during a casting show held in March.

“We ultimately decided to do it because we felt we had a very exciting, and at the time, brand new business,” explained Adam. “I went down to the casting there with half a mind that they would say thanks but no thanks, but in March we got a call to go to Toronto in April to present our pitch directly to the Dragons.”

Olsen said preparing the pitch and prepping themselves to present it to the Dragons — a group of wealthy investors — helped the trio focus in on how they wanted to operate and grow their business.

“It really turned out to be a huge building block for the company,” explained Adam. “It was an extremely important business decision as it turned out because it really made us look at who we are, what we do, where we want to go, etcetera. We had to analyze all the questions the Dragons were going to ask us so we were ready for our pitch which led us to really focusing our business and our notion of what we wanted to get out of it.”

The Olsens started Salish Fusion Knitwear in September 2011 but had been knitting goods under the name of Mt. Newton Indian Sweaters for many years. The wool they use is sourced from the Island and all the goods they create, from bags to blankets to boots, are sewn by local knitters.

“A lot of small businesses pick one major role and go with it but we do everything ourselves,” explained Adam of the company. “We are the product designers, the producers and the distributors.”

Now the local business is set to take on a more national angle.

“The show is an opportunity to show the whole country what our product is. Being a part of the show has really opened a lot of doors for us and it hasn’t even gone to air yet, so it’s been an amazing experience,” said Olsen.

The show airs this Sunday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. on CBC.


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