How a local business concept made it big on TV

Avoiding the landfill captured Dragon’s Den attention

Customers ordering a bed-in-a-box can usually return it for a full refund, but they may hesitate if they knew what happened to a lot of those unwanted mattresses.

“Our industry has set a precedence that it was really just easier to dispose of beds into landfills,” founder and CEO of Haven Sleep Co., Scott Amis told Kelowna10.

He explained, oftentimes executives at those companies are so focused on profit, they didn’t even know the extent of the issue.

“I give the analogy that it’s like being on a boat,” Amis said. “The executives are just trying to get the bow out, the sails up, and they’re not always looking back at the wake they’re leaving behind.”

With help from fourth year UBCO business students tasked with a capstone project, they found a solution – Second Slumber.

It acts as a marketplace and mediator, marketing and connecting someone returning their bed to a customer who gets to buy it at a heavily discounted rate.

Second Slumber steps in for the mattress company, prepares the product for sale with large shipping bags and disinfecting products, and prevents a perfectly good mattress from being wasted.

This also helps the retailers who don’t have the resources to handle returns like this save face with consumers who may not be impressed with wasteful business practices.

This model worked well enough to land the Second Slumber team on CBC’s Dragon’s Den and deliver a successful pitch.

Getting on the show is a feat itself. Amis tried three previous times, each with a different company. Every year about 1,400 businesses apply and just 70 make it through to film in Toronto. Then only about 50 make it to air.

Once Second Slumber got past the initial application, an assigned producer worked with them on their pitch. Companies are considered not just for the business’s feasibility, but entertainment factor as well.

Amis and his team, along with every guest, were instructed to have absolutely no contact with the dragons.

“What was fascinating to me, the whole process is secretive,” Amis said. “The producers actually want the dragons to be completely cold to you.”

The filming took place in May. For six months they couldn’t reveal what happened on the show, until their viewing party recently at Okanagan College.

Second Slumber has already been in talks with the dragon who invested in them and since the airing, several valuable connections have been made including major mattress brands.

One of the biggest problems for a new business is obscurity and appearing on national television helps solve that.

“It was great, I loved the episode,” Amis said. “It was a real celebration of the company and obviously, a high point in my career.”

Published 2022-11-23 by David Hanson

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