March marks the one year anniversary since Abeego appeared on Dragon's Den.
We sat down with our founder and inventor of beeswax wraps, Toni Desrosiers, to see how being on Dragon's Den has helped Abeego grow over the past year.
What has been the biggest change in Abeego over the past year?
People actually know who we are! They know what the heck an Abeego is, and they ask for it by name. I invented it 10 years ago, and while it used to be a struggle to help people understand what it means to Keep Food Alive and why it’s the future of food preservation, now they get it much faster. We’ve had an incredibly loyal following, with a strong word of mouth that allowed us to grow over time but the spot on Dragon’s Den launched us into kitchens worldwide and took our message more mainstream. Now, people talk about Abeego differently, their stories are almost always about how they can’t believe how long their cucumber, avocado, or whatever stays fresh.
What has been your biggest learning curve since appearing on Dragon’s Den?
Learning to delegate. We’re a small team and Dragon’s Den forced everyone to get super clear on what was the best use of their time to move the needle forward, including me. Defining each team members role more clearly, so I’d know exactly who to pass work onto. My team killed it, and as a result, we sailed through a huge growth period.
What was the growth Abeego experienced since Dragon’s Den?
It flew off the shelves. We grew by almost 300%; new retailers joined the Hive in droves, and we suspect many of you got Abeego in your stockings. The growth has been completely sustainable, and we’re hoping to double our sales again in 2018.
How did your growth impact your team? Did you need to make new hires?
Our small team had to be incredibly flexible to stay ahead of demand in 2017. Luckily, we have a strong core team who supported us until we had time to hire more people. In our office, we hired a Social Media Manager, a Customer Experience Lead, and a Head of Operations. We also promoted a long time employee to Wholesale Account Manager. There were some tough weeks but we came through it.
Have you seen an increase in retail requests?
Absolutely. To be honest, the biggest challenge our new and existing retailers faced was keeping Abeego stocked! Many of them sold out as soon as they put them on the shelf.
What’s your biggest goal for this year?
This year we’re focusing on the U.S. In March, we’ll be exhibiting at an American natural products trade show, and we already have a ton of U.S. demand online. So, this will ensure our customers can pick Abeego up locally.
Looking back, what’s one bit of advice you’d give someone if they were going Dragon’s Den?
It’s an incredible opportunity to get in front of investors but don’t forget the people watching. Teach the viewers something. They’ll grow your brand into a household name. Pitch to the Dragons, but speak to the audience.