Dragon slayers: local gay entrepreneurs visit the den

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There are few places that would scare any entrepreneur more than CBC’s Dragons’ Den, but that is exactly where Patrick Levesque and Jamie Beuthin of Yaletown’s Masc found themselves earlier this year.

Dragon's DenWith their pitch set to appear on the Dragons’ Den website on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, Levesque and Beuthin are contractually tight-lipped about the outcome, but they both admitted it was an experience that they would be willing to try again.

“It was a great experience,” said Levesque.  “The most stressful part was actually the prep for the show.  We prepared in front of a fake set of Dragons who grilled us as if we were really on the show.”

“We went in very prepared and felt confident going in,” continued Beuthin.

Masc has been at its Yaletown location since 2007 as Levesque and Beuthin’s response to a need they saw in the marketplace for dedicated men’s skincare and grooming store.

“So much of what is out there for men’s skincare is an afterthought with a few small shelves in existing stores,” said Beuthin.  “We saw the need for both the men’s skincare brands and a standalone store that catered to men’s specific needs.”

Levesque and Beuthin’s journey to the den, looking for cash to grow their business, began with a 2010 nomination as best company from Small Business BC.

“There was a seminar we attended as a result of the nomination where Jim Trevling from Dragon’s Den presented.  We met with one of the producers of Dragons’ Den after his presentation and they thought we might be a good fit.  We auditioned at the beginning of 2011 and were chosen to go for a taping in Toronto earlier this year,” explained Levesque.

The taping in Toronto was a whirlwind affair, with the pair flying in the night before their taping was scheduled and up at the crack of dawn.

“We arrived at the studio at about 6:15am and with the time change it felt a lot earlier,” said Beuthin.  “We got a tour of the studio, had our props set-up, make-up done and waited. Lots and lots of waiting”.

Once the duo stepped onto the set it all became very real as they met the Dragons for the first time.  Not even willing to give a hint as to Kevin O’Leary’s reaction to their pitch for fear of giving something away they shouldn’t, the pair said the entire process, over in about thirty minutes, was a good one.

And while Levesque and Beuthin obviously know the outcome they say they’ll see the segment for the first time with the rest of us, when we’ll all find out if they managed to slay a dragon or two.

CBC Dragon’s Den

Visit http:www.cbc.ca/dragonsden for more information.  The Masc segment is scheduled to appear online on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

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