Humber grad’s idea gets Dragon’s Den deal

by | Sep 20, 2012 | Biz/Tech, News

Lee and Sean Renshaw began their pitch to the Dragon’s in their underwear. COURTESY LEE RENSHAW

By Jessy Bains

A Humber graduate was able to slay the dragons on the season premier of CBC’s hit show, Dragon’s Den on Wednesday night with his innovative duffel bag design.

Lee Renshaw, a graduate of Humber’s industrial design program, along with his brother and partner Sean Renshaw, appeared on the show to pitch their product called Rise & Hang.

Renshaw told Humber News he got the idea for the bag while studying at Humber. The bag comes with shelves and can be hung up in any closet to keep clothes from wrinkling and smelling bad.

LISTEN: Exclusive Interview with Dragon’s Den contestant Lee Renshaw

WATCH: Humber grads on the Dragon’s Den

Renshaw said he auditioned for the show with the hopes of finding partners to help them by providing contacts and giving advice and marketing their product as well as funding from the dragons, including stars David Chilton, Kevin O’Leary and Arlene Dickinson.

“It was also very important to build the buzz on our brand and our product is so demonstrable, it really needs that to educate the public in terms of what we’re all about,” said Renshaw. “It was really the whole package that we were going for.”

The brothers started the pitch in their underwear; Renshaw said the idea came from the show’s producer.

Combines interesting characters, products

The entertainment value contestants bring to Dragon’s Den is an important part of the show, and interesting products combined with interesting characters are the main criteria for being selected.

“It’s like American idol, they show people that absolutely suck at singing. But there is an entertainment value; if every pitch went smoothly on the Den it would be boring for viewers. “

Renshaw said one of the Dragon’s, O’Leary, is a key component of the show’s success.

“We owe probably a lot to him, because he makes it interesting. While he may not be the nicest person, he definitely is exciting to watch and exciting to see how he reacts, just like how Simon Cowell is,” said Renshaw.

Sean Renshaw said he liked his brother’s idea so he became an investor and took on marketing and operational duties and was pleased to enter into a partnership with Dickinson and Chilton.

“We decided we really wanted to work with Arlene to help us get the idea spread,” he said.

“And, getting David Chilton as well was really the cherry on top,” said Renshaw.