This article appeared in the Coast Reporter on March 25, 2011 by Christine Wood
“Holy crap, they got away.” That’s what the Dragons must be saying this week as Brian and Corin Mullins, makers of Holy Crap cereal, decided not to sign a deal with Dragons’ Den billionaire Jim Treliving, keeping 100 per cent of their company and their ever rising profits.
“The future has changed since last Friday. That’s when we formalized the agreement not to agree with Jim Treliving,” Brian told Coast Reporter this week. “We told the CBC people and they’re going to feature us on another show as ‘the ones that got away.’ “Jim did help us out a lot, we’ve got to say that. We spent days in meetings with his people and hours with Jim advising us on what to do and what not to do. We agreed 110 per cent on what to do, so there was really no conflict. And he understands that he’s helped us by what he did on the show and he couldn’t help us any more than that.”
The Mullins are now local and national celebrities after appearing on the hit CBC show Dragons’ Den where Boston Pizza billionaire Treliving jumped at the chance to get in on their business. The mogul landed a verbal deal on the show, but it didn’t materialize after the cameras stopped rolling. Treliving was unavailable for comment this week, but CBC responded to Coast Reporter inquiries. “As the broadcaster, what we deem to be a deal is a deal done in the Den, one that ends in a Dragons’ Den handshake.
Outside the Den, there is a long due-diligence process, and it is up to the discretion of the entrepreneur and the Dragon,” CBC publicist Jane Collins said in an email to Coast Reporter. The publicity from the show launched the local couple into stardom and gave their cereal the spotlight it needed to gain attention from buyers around the world.
Brian said they now supply their cereal to stores from Newfoundland to Tuktoyaktuk, and currently have distribution inquiries from 11 countries.
They also sell their cereal on-line at www.holycrap.ca and have hired three employees just to keep up with the demand on the Internet. “As fast as we can make it, we sell it,” Brian said.
Currently their business is valued at $10.5 million and with their plans to expand in the future, that number is sure to grow. Recently they moved to a warehouse space in Gibsons that is two-and-a-half times larger than their former space in Wilson Creek.
The couple wanted to stay in Sechelt, but couldn’t find a space suitable to their needs. “What you see here [in Gibsons] is a prototype facility so we can build this in other places across the country,” Brian said. “Then we can be local to really every market. The number of plants is unlimited.”
The plans for expansion and the interest in the Mullins’ cereal seems to be limitless, with a recent one-minute update segment on Dragons’ Den resulting in more than $100,000 in new sales for the Mullins. The Dragons’ Den publicity is almost a licence to print money, and the Mullins hope other Sunshine Coast residents have their chance to cash in on the opportunity.
Last Thursday, Dragons’ Den producers were on the Coast to hear pitches from local entrepreneurs hopeful to get their five minutes of fame on the show. Twenty-two pitches were heard by executive producer Tracie Tighe and producer Molly Duignan at the Seaside Centre on March 17. “Tracie, the executive producer, decides who gets on the show, and she came here,” Brian said. “So it’s not like somebody else makes the decision; they were directly in front of the person who makes the decision of who gets on the show. It couldn’t have been better,” he said, adding he and Corin convinced the producers to make a stop on the Coast in their search for the next big deal.
Brian’s words of wisdom to anyone who may make it to the taping in Toronto is to be confident. “Confidence is the key. Have you ever noticed on the show, if a person hesitates, it’s like getting bit by a shark in the water? It’s awful what happens,” he said.