Local woman makes cut for Dragons' Den with jewelry
The three R’s – reuse, reduce and recycle – weigh heavily into Airdrie resident Janie Fontaine’s business model.
Fontaine’s environmentally friendly line of jewelry, Janie Jewels, which was incorporated and licensed in January, could be featured on an upcoming edition of CBC’s Dragons’ Den.
A friend of Fontaine pointed her towards the show’s Calgary auditions, telling her to give her business a chance. Lo and behold, the producers loved it and she’s flying into the den in Toronto at the end of April, where she will attempt to wow the dragons and potentially have her business featured on national television.
The jewels are made from recycled materials, including bread clips, buttons, can tabs, coffee lids, wine corks, foil tart pans, food cans, hair clips, juice lids, laces, straws, Styrofoam, twigs and yogurt containers, among other things.
Fontaine said she came up with the idea when she quit her career a few years ago to spend more time with her children.
“So I started doing a lot of crafts with the kids,” said Fontaine. “We didn’t have lots of money so you start having to be creative and one thing led to the other.”
Fontaine moved to Alberta from Quebec City, seven years ago and has spent the last two years living in Airdrie. Having previously worked in the film industry, the former actress hopes her experience in that line of work will give her a leg up on the competition in the den.
“My friend who is coming with me who was modelling my jewels, she is also an actress, that’s how we met,” said Fontaine. “So we’re both pretty confident in front of a camera. Hopefully it’s going to help.”
In order to prepare for the show, she and her friend, Dianne Freeman, are watching as many episodes of the show as they can, saying “it’s the best practice,” and they’re trying to make their numbers as accurate as possible.
“I’m doing a business plan, a budget, we’re trying to meet with more stores to have more stock in more stores. We also do birthday parties and events, so I’m trying to get as much activity going (as possible),” said Fontaine.
Fontaine’s line of jewelry is available at Creative Ways in Airdrie and on her website at janiejewelscanada.com.
Dragons’ Den first debuted on CBC in 2006. The show has since become one of the network’s mainstays as it allows Canadians to present promising business models to a panel of venture capitalists, referred to as dragons. Fontaine and her competition will present their business models in the hopes of securing financing for their businesses.