Do you ever come out of the shower hoping to find a clear reflection of yourself only to find a foggy ghost?
Merritt entrepreneur Harvey Keys hopes his latest invention, the Defogging Vanity Mirror, will put an end to those dull days in the bathroom post-shower and is looking for a little help from the Dragons, a group of business people running the hit reality CBC television series The Dragons' Den, which held auditions in Kamloops last week.
"I was off a movie (shoot), and I had some time off and I thought, you know what, I'm tired of wiping my mirror off," says Keys of how he came up with the idea for his vanity mirror, which is available in three designs: oak, walnut, and shabby chic at a cost of $300. The invention is pending patent.
"I've made some, sold some, and given some away."
Keys felt so confident in his invention that he took it to the producers of Dragons' Den, who held an audition at Thompson Rivers University last Thursday.
In total, 40 inventors made their pitches either in person or from online. Entrepreneurs who make it past the audition stage will get a chance to make their pitch on the Dragons' Den show, which airs at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, where they will get the yay or nay to receive startup funding of $100,000.
"I'm going for $100,000," says Keys. But he admits that it's unlikely he will get a shot at television debut. "It's a long shot, because there are 50 people in town they go to."
Keys and the 39 other entrepreneurs are gunning for a taping, to air in June.
"I'll know in two or three weeks if I make it to the next step…but if they don't, it's [video presentation] going on YouTube—looking for investors."
Keys also pitched a set of wooden jewelry displays to the producers, one of whom, he says, bought a piece of jewelry. His displays are available for sale on EBay. Keys says the main features of his wooden displays over they typical cardboard display is that they last considerably longer and are easier to dust.
"If people come by, they can get a demonstration," Keys says of both the jewelry displays and the Defogging Vanity Mirror. The inventions are currently on display at Vision Quest Optical and Gifts, which Keys runs with partner Jeanine Gustafson.
TRU School of Business professor Bernie Warren volunteered some of his students to help out during the Dragons audition. And he heard pitches for some interesting products.
One of his favourites was a hot dog cart that was converted into a full kitchen. The cart even has ambient heating so the chef can cook outside in the coldest of temperatures.
"They can do full gourmet cooking with it," he said. "We say there's not enough innovation in the world, but I saw a whole room full of it here."
Files from Jason Hewlett, Kamloops Daily News