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Washago woman couldn't strike a deal on Dragons' Den, but did gain exposure she sought

By Gisele Winton Sarvis, Special to Postmedia Network

Sue Kenney, founder and owner of Barebottoms shoes, was featured on an episdoe of Dragons’ Den on CBC, which aired Wednesday and airs again Sunday at 9 p.m.
SUBMITTED PHOTO

Sue Kenney, founder and owner of Barebottoms shoes, was featured on an episdoe of Dragons’ Den on CBC, which aired Wednesday and airs again Sunday at 9 p.m. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Washago’s Sue Kenney couldn’t strike a deal with a dragon, but the airing of her pitch on Dragons’ Den is breathing fire into her business.

“The goal for me was to be on national TV and get the word out about my Barebottom shoes,” she posted on Facebook after the show’s airing.

Kenney could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Kenney, who knew the outcome of the deal since April, couldn’t divulge the details until the episode aired Wednesday on CBC.

Kenney watched the show at an airing party with about 100 friends at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. The episode will re-air Sunday at 9 p.m. and there will be another party at Brewery Bay Food Co. Sunday night in Orillia.

“I am proud to stand on my own two feet,” Kenney posted.

Kenney pitched her soleless shoes to the dragons looking for $80,000 for 20% of the company.

“I pitched my idea not as a working business, but as a concept idea,” she wrote.

While none of the dragons took a bite of the business, Kenney returned to Toronto on Thursday to speak to other investors at the CBC studios.

“It’s not all about the dragons; it’s about being a successful entrepreneur and making a shift in the consciousness of the world,” she posted.

Kenney auditioned for the show in February when her handmade shoes were in the concept stage. Out of thousands of people auditioning, she was among the 200 chosen to pitch to the dragons, then one of about 60 to have their pitches aired on TV.

Barebottoms shoes are handmade and give the appearance of a shoe on the top, while being predominately bare on the bottom. Kenney developed the shoe because she couldn’t find anything that gave the appearance of wearing a shoe in an urban environment that was open on the bottom.

The shoes can be used year-round. They can be used in fitness classes such as yoga, as they provide grip under the foot.

Kenney is a barefoot advocate. She walks and runs barefoot and promotes being barefoot as a way to ground oneself.

Kenney posted she wants to “encourage people to start going barefoot indoors and then go outside to connect with the great Mother Earth.”

In December, Kenney said she had completed the design of the packaging for the shoes, with a bright orange box, and her next step was to find Canadian and U.S. distributors.

She is also expanding her product line to include a vegan option to the original suede fabric.

She sells the shoes for $48 through her website, suekenney.ca. They are also available in Orillia at Kind Living and in Barrie at Ann Green Yoga.

gisele.wintonsarvis@sunmedia.ca


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