Jeans store owner wows Dragons, but no deal to be had — yet

She may not have struck a deal, but Nora Furber still walked out of the Dragons’ Den feeling like a winner.

Furber is the owner of Monjeloco Jeans on Perron Street in St. Albert, and she was featured on the season premiere of the CBC show Dragons’ Den on Wednesday, Oct. 2, looking to entice five venture capitalists into investing in her business.

St. Albert

Monjeloco Jeans owner Nora Furber may not have struck a deal, but she walked out of the Dragons’ Den feeling like a winner. (Leader file photo)

After much deliberation, the Dragons couldn’t make a deal at the valuation she had come up with — Furber had asked for $300,000 for 40 per cent of her company, representing a total valuation of $750,000 — but they encouraged her to keep plugging away.

“I believe the Dragons want me to get that little more experience, see what I can do with it, and then come back,” she said. “They gave me that push, that help, so I’m going to take it 100 per cent.”

In fact, Furber added, off camera, they encouraged her come back next year once she had a solid year of sales under her belt.

“They said, ‘When you have a year in business, when your sales are bigger … when you have that, come back. We’d love to see you again,’” she said, noting that she had only been in business about eight months when she made her pitch.

The Dragons include:

• Jim Treliving, chairman of Boston Pizza and Mr. Lube;

• David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber;

• Arlene Dickinson, CEO of Venture Communications;

• Kevin O’Leary, chairman of O’Leary Funds; and

• Bruce Croxon, co-founder of dating website Lavalife.

Although Furber originally hails from Colombia, Monjeloco Jeans are inspired by the beaches of Brazil, with a cut and construction that can tuck in and lift the buttocks, making them look perfectly round.

Her TV pitch included a demonstration, with two models showing the difference the jeans can make. Croxon and O’Leary, though, got a little more hands-on with the demo, though, getting a good feel of the models’ backsides.

“The reason they touched the girls’ bums was because they said, ‘No way, you put something in there,’” Furber said. “And I said, ‘No, I didn’t.’ But they said, ‘We have to touch. You put something in it.’”

During the pitch, the Dragons sent Furber off to a private side room while all five of them tried to figure out how to make a deal work.

“I was doing my happy dance; I was going, ‘Oh yeah! This is good. We got it,’” she said. “They only had good things to say: beautiful, nice, what a difference.”

When she came out to find there was no deal to be had, though, Furber was very surprised.

“I really thought we had a deal,” she said.

Some of the Dragons suggested that Furber sell her jeans in bigger department stores rather than her small specialty retail shop in downtown St. Albert, but she doesn’t want to lose the personal touch.

“It’s one-on-one with the customer; we give the best customer service,” Furber said. “I want to make sure they get the perfect jeans.”

While there was no deal, the exposure from the show is already paying dividends. There were several customers lined up outside the store before it opened Friday morning, most of whom had seen the Dragons’ Den episode.

“That’s the only reason I’m here,” said one of those customers, Olivia Kenny, who travelled from Fort McMurray to get her hands on Monjeloco Jeans. “… They’re perfect. I got three pairs.”

Meanwhile, by Friday, Furber had received hundreds of emails, and sales on her newly revamped website were through the roof.

“I wanted some exposure. I wanted people to know I had this product, that they don’t have to go around with a flat bum anymore,” she said. “We had 480 emails in a day, and our sales online are sky-high. And we have people [coming in] from Edmonton who didn’t know the store was here. I went there to get exposure, and I got it.”

And she plans to take that momentum right back into the Dragons’ Den next year.

“If I can wow the Dragons — and you could see, when you looked at their faces, that I totally wowed the Dragons with my jeans — I expect all of them to be investing with me,” Furber said.

Monjeloco Jeans is located at #103, 20 Perron St. Check out their website at www.monjelocojeans.com.

— GLENN COOK, St. Albert Leader