Rubbing a furry, pink menstrual pad up against a multimillionaire’s cheek isn’t something most people would be comfortable with — never mind doing it on national television.
But husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Crystal and Scott Burton, who run a business selling reusable cloth menstrual pads from their Charleswood home, are beyond excited about being able to do so.
On March 24, the Burtons will make a pitch on the hit CBC show Dragons’ Den to try and convince the Dragons to invest in their company, Tree Hugger Cloth Pads.
"It’s nerve-wracking but I’m excited," says Crystal. "People have been telling us for years we should go on Dragons’ Den — this year I got brave enough."
Crystal began the business in 2009 while working as a stay-at-home mom to the couple’s two children, now in grades four and six at Beaverlodge Elementary School.
"I was cloth diapering my kids, and looking for ways to save money. Cloth menstrual pads for my own use were the natural next step."
By 2012, through word-of-mouth and some Internet promotion, the business was earning enough money for Scott to quit his job and begin working full-time on Tree Hugger.
And it’s become surprisingly lucrative. The average North American woman throws out anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 pads over the space of a lifetime, so reusable pads that can be washed up to 200 times help save money — and space in the landfill.
The Burtons aren’t guaranteed their segment will make it to air after being filmed, but they feel confident
"We want to give them a good show," Crystal says. "We want to see the Dragons get a bit uncomfortable — we want to see them rubbing and cuddling the pads, and really feeling how soft and cozy they are."
For the Burtons and many of their customers, reusing pads isn’t a big deal.
"My son puked the bed last week," Scott says. "I didn’t throw out the sheets — I washed them.
"When you think about it, compared to other bodily functions, it’s all about what you’re used to. Most people just put the pads in the wash with their towels."
But both Burtons readily admit they’ll never convince everyone their pads aren’t gross — and they’re OK with that.
"Bad publicity was great," Crystal says. "For every group of people who are saying how disgusting our pads are, there’s always one person going ‘Hey, that’s interesting.’"
Even if they don’t get a deal, the Burtons are hoping the publicity of a Dragons’ Den appearance will translate to an influx of orders.
The Burtons will be given two weeks notice before their segment will air on CBC, meaning they’re busy increasing pad production right now.
"Even if there’s an element of being made fun of, if the concept is out there, we’re confident we’ll get orders."