Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infection caused by the corkscrew-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. These bacteria are spread by the bite of a tick. Ticks are small, ranging from the size of a poppy seed to a pea. The size of the tick varies depending on its age and whether it has fed recently. The bite is usually painless so you may not know that you have been bitten.


Initial symptoms differ from person to person, which makes Lyme disease very difficult to diagnose. Some people may have no symptoms at all. Others may suffer severe symptoms, but not for weeks after the bite, therefore may not associate the illness with the bite. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can begin your recovery.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include one or a combination of the following with varying degrees of severity:

  • fatigue
  • fever or chills
  • headache
  • spasms or weakness
  • numbness or tingling
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • skin rash

Additional symptoms can include:

  • cognitive dysfunction (brain fog) or dizziness
  • nervous system disorders
  • arthritis/arthritic symptoms (muscle and joint pain)
  • abnormal heartbeat

Untreated, symptoms can last months to years. They can include recurring arthritis (muscle and joint pain), nervous system and/or neurological problems. Symptoms can also include numbness and/or paralysis (unable to move parts of the body). Although not common, fatalities from Lyme disease have been reported.

What is the risk to Canadians?

The risk of getting a tick bite starts when the weather warms up in the spring, through until the fall. Ticks can also be active in the winter, if the winter is mild and there is not much snow. However, the greatest risk occurs during the spring and summer months.

Blacklegged ticks are most often found in forests as well as overgrown areas between woods and open spaces. Because tick populations are spreading, it is possible to be bitten outside of these locations.

Who is most at risk?

If you work outdoors or participate in outdoor activities, you may be at a greater risk for tick bites. When engaging in the following activities, you should take precautions against tick bites:

  • golfing
  • hunting
  • camping
  • fishing
  • hiking

Where in Canada are you at risk?

Blacklegged ticks are most often found in:

  • southern British Columbia
  • southeastern and south-central Manitoba
  • southern, eastern and northwestern Ontario
  • southern Quebec
  • southern New Brunswick and Grand Manan Island
  • parts of Nova Scotia

How can Lyme disease be prevented?

The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Check this detailed map to find out where Lyme-infected ticks are confirmed to be found. Remember, as tick populations grow, Lyme disease can be acquired outside these areas. Here are some ways to protect yourself if you venture into forests or overgrown areas:

  • wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • pull socks over pant legs
  • wear light-coloured clothes to spot ticks easier
  • use insect repellent containing DEET (active ingredient to keep bugs away) or Icaridin (always follow directions)
  • shower or bathe within 2 hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks
  • do a daily "full-body" check for ticks on yourself, children and pets
  • Wear your Shaidee Sun Cover with the Shaidee Bug to prevent ticks getting to your baby

Ticks can be infected with more than one type of bacteria that can cause human illness. Guarding against tick bites will protect you from more than just Lyme disease.

How can you reduce tick habitats near your home?

Keep your lawn and yard well maintained to prevent ticks from living near your home:

  • keep the grass mowed
  • remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around stonewalls and woodpiles
  • discourage rodent activity by cleaning up and sealing stonewalls and small openings around the home
  • move firewood piles and bird feeders away from the house
  • keep your pets, particularly dogs, out of the woods and talk to your vet about tick repellents for your pets
  • move children's swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodland's edge and place them on a woodchip or mulch foundation
  • adopt hard landscape practices, use hard materials like stone and metals instead of soft materials like soil for planting

What should I do if I have been bitten by a blacklegged tick?

Ticks attach themselves to the skin. Removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours usually prevents infection. Using clean tweezers, grasp the head as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull straight out. Afterwards, wash the site of the bite with soap and water or disinfect with alcohol or hand sanitizer. If mouthparts break off and remain in the skin, remove them with tweezers. If you are unable to remove them easily, leave them alone and let the skin heal.

If possible, save the tick in a zip-lock bag and record the date of the bite. If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease in the weeks after being bitten, contact your health care provider right away. Bring the tick with you to your medical appointment, as it may help the doctor assess your illness.

Thanks Health Canada: for all the information!

Sun Protection to Prevent Melanoma

I met with Danielle Paterson, Executive Director of the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund the other week and we had a conversation that is propelling me to write this blog. Danielle told me the history of the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund and how David Cornfield was a partner at Deloitte (the firm I used to work at).  David was 32 when he died and left behind a loving wife and a one-year old baby.  David was diagnosed with melanoma when he was 29 years old and immediately underwent a year of treatment.  David went into remission, but in the end, Melanoma came back and got him.  David has a story that will touch you and you can read about it here: written by his wife.

The more I read about this ugly, deadly and fast-moving disease, the more afraid I am of the sun and all of the damage that I have currently done to my skin and more importantly to the skin of the people I love. After speaking with Danielle, she sent me pamphlets that I now display proudly at all trade shows and events I attend – anywhere people will hear this extremely important message and anywhere I can help to educate people on the disease and its very deadly effects.  Let's all get smarter and protect ourselves and our loved ones.  Here is some melanoma info you might be quite interested in: 



  • MOST DEADLY form of skin cancer
  • 2ND most common cancer in YOUNG people
  • INCIDENCES of melanoma are increasing
  • IF DETECTED early, survival rates are 99%
  • HIGHLY PREVENTABLE and detectible



  • 1 BAD SUNBURN before the AGE OF 18 doubles your chances of getting melanoma
  • SNOW reflects up to 80% of the UVB rays and high altitudes increase the UV index
  • WEAR A HIGH SPF sunscreen with extra on the nose, under the eyes, and the tops of the ears
  • LIMIT direct sun exposure (especially in peak times)
  • PROTECT INFANTS from sun exposure to their skin and eyes until they are older than six months



  • KNOW YOUR SKIN and check it thoroughly and often
  • DETERMINE if you have a family history of melanoma as this greatly increases your risk
  • TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR about any new or changing moles, freckles, birthmarks, or pigmented areas – these can be signs of melanoma


These are all very important facts, but they are really just the tip of the iceberg.  We all need to do our part to educate people on the dangers of melanoma and the dangers of the sun. When we see people out in public without any shade or we notice them burning, we need to speak up and tell them to get out of the sun or put sunscreen on.  Just this weekend when I was in Los Angeles, I saw parents and babies alike out in the sun and totally burned.  In today’s day and age, I can’t believe that anyone would let themselves get burned – it is just so dangerous.

Some alternatives for sun protection are sunscreen, long clothing, hats and of course, just being in the shade!  Remember, Shaidee Sun Cover is natural sun protection for both babies and adults.  On the weekend, I discovered a new way to wear a Shaidee Sun Cover – as an adult hat – see the pix below!

For more information on the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, you can visit and check out and on twitter at #newfamilyrule

Here are two videos that I especially love: 

1.   #NewFamilyRule

 2. Dear 16-Year-Old Me

Check yourself, check your friends and check your family.  Life is good.  Let's put a stop to that old saying "Life is Short" because it is and we don't want it to be any shorter! 

What kind of sunscreen is best for children?

I recommend choosing a "physical" or "chemical-free" sunscreen made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. (I also suggest keeping a baby younger than 6 months out of the sun altogether whenever possible. When that's not feasible, be sure to protect your young baby with sunscreen.) (We recommend this too and use your Shaidee Sun Cover.)

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sit on top of the skin, forming a barrier against the sun's rays. Sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide start protecting as soon as you put them on.

Chemical products, on the other hand, need to be slathered on 15 to 30 minutes in advance to give the skin time to absorb them. They may cause irritation or allergic reactions because the skin absorbs the active ingredients.

There's no evidence that chemical sunscreens are dangerous or toxic, but we just don't know enough yet about how young children react to the ingredients.

If you do use a chemical-based sunscreen, do a patch test first to make sure your child won't have a reaction to it. Apply a small amount to the inside of the upper arm. If your child develops a rash or redness at the site by the next day, choose another formula instead.

You may have heard you should look for a "broad-spectrum" product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Any sunscreen that contains the physical blocker zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will do this.

The sun protection factor (SPF) should be at least 15, but you generally don't need to go higher than 30: Over than that and you're getting smaller and smaller amounts of added protection – which, in a chemical sunscreen, means a higher dose of unwanted chemicals.

It's fine to use a "children's" sunscreen, but don't go out of your way to buy one of these. They're usually not different from the adult versions.

Lay the sunscreen on thickly, making sure every part of your child's body gets a good coating. Pay special attention to burn-prone areas like the ears, nose, back of the neck, and shoulders. Some sunscreens have a bright tint when you apply them and then fade to clear in a few minutes, making it easier to tell if you're covering every inch of your child's vulnerable skin.

Reapply sunscreen often. Waterproof sunscreens may be slightly hardier than other products, but don't trust a label that promises to protect for eight hours. That's only accurate if your child stays perfectly still for the whole day! In the real world he'll need more sunscreen every two hours or every time he gets wet or is dried off with a towel.

Note that while zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are typically known as "sunblocks," other sunscreens (whether based on chemicals or on ingredients that physically block the sun) may also have the word "sunblock" on the label. The best way to know what you're getting is to check the label for ingredients.

Natural Sun Protection

I subscribe to which stands for Help a Reporter Out. Reporters are always looking for content and I do my best to "help them out"!  Here is one of the pieces I submitted.

Caring for your skin (especially from the sun) is super important at any age, but really important for infants under 6 months of age (my doctor actually says under 12 months of age). The melanin in a baby’s skin does not develop until a baby is between 6-12 months of age.  Therefore the baby’s skin is ultra-sensitive and absorbent.  This is why it is not recommended to put sun screen on a baby under 6 months old because it will go directly into their bloodstream.  There have been many studies done that say babies (and young children) that are sunburned early in life are twice as likely to develop melanoma later in life.  Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and some say one of the only forms of cancer that can be prevented.

So, what are the options?  Blankets (too hot and not breathable); hats (don’t stay on and don’t protect neck and shoulder often); stay inside (sad).  My company has designed two new products that "NATURALLY" protect babies from the sun as well as insects.  Shaidee Sun Cover and Shaidee Bug.  Both products work with front carriers, slings, car seats and strollers and will work with you and your baby as your child grows.

These are great options for protecting babies from the sun and insects!

Spring is Finally Here!

It’s Easter, which to me is the big signal that spring is finally here! Easter always reminds me of freshness and newness.  It’s a time of year when everything is being reborn.  It is also a time of year when there are a ton of babies being brought into the world.

We did The Baby Show in Toronto last weekend (March 28/29) and were pleasantly surprised to see all the expectant moms and dads out at the show.  They shocked us because so many had a full understanding of the need to protect their future offspring from the sun and insects. 

At Shaidee, we have spent a lot of time trying to educate people about the harm the sun’s rays can do to skin – especially baby’s skin.  The skin of a baby is far more delicate than an adult’s skin.  In fact, the melanin in a baby’s skin is not fully developed and because of this doctors don’t recommend sun screen for any baby under 6 months old (my doc says 12 months).  Doctors do recommend keeping your baby in the shade.

So, what do you do?  It’s spring time, you’ve just had a baby, the weather is nice and you want to get out and walk.  We recommend Shaidee Sun Gear – natural sun and natural insect protection for your baby that works with car seats, strollers, carriers and slings. With spring also comes the rain and Shaidee Sun Cover protects from the rain as well!  At The Baby Show in Toronto, we talked with so many parents that understood the need for natural shade.  We also spoke with health experts and are continuing to meet with them to see how we can continue to educate the population.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the sun and what it does to a baby’s skin, we would be happy to answer what we can or refer you to an expert in this area.  Feel free to email me at: or call me at 519-503-1086.

Travelling With Your Baby

  1. Bring drinks and snacks:  If you are travelling with an infant younger than two years of age (0-24 months), you can bring baby food, milk, formula, water, juice and other baby items in your carry-on baggage for your plane ride.  Bring what your baby likes to eat – a lot of times – like you and me, they won’t like airplane food!
  2. Pack a tidbit bag:  A good way to keep kids content on a trip is to take along a bag filled with more toys than you think you'll need. You never know what mood your baby will be in so bring dolls, puppets, bright paper, crayons, cool books, stuffed animals and whatever the fave toy of the day is!  An iPad with lots of fun games, TV Shows, Educational programs and movies works wonders too.  You can pack toys in your child’s carry-on baggage, but leave toys that look like weapons (e.g. water guns, toy grenades, etc.) at home.
  3. Be Flexible:  Traveling with babies can be a wonderful experience – if you go with the flow. Your baby might be cranky, sleepy, hungry or just plain be out of sorts because they are out of their environment and out of their routine.  Keep your itinerary simple. Limit it to one activity a day and you'll find it much easier to make last-minute adjustments.
  4. Plan frequent rest stops:  If you’re driving and your baby is sleeping – keep driving!  If your baby wakes up and is happy – keep driving!  If your baby wakes up and is unhappy or smelly – stop the car, get out and do a little walk around.  This will give you an opportunity to stretch your legs as well as get a quick breath of fresh air.  Pick out parks and picnic areas on your route by using an online mapping service.  End your driving day early so all of you have time to unwind after a long day on the road and you have the opportunity to establish some sort of routine near the end of the day – this will help with better sleeping.
  5. Travel gear:  This doesn’t have to be an out-of-control exercise – choose a few pieces of travel gear – not your entire collection!  For young babies, a lightweight stroller you can stash in your car trunk or a plane's overhead lockers makes sense for babies who can sit up (you can also drop off your stroller at the plane's entrance and have it waiting for you on arrival). For smaller babies a baby carrier or sling may be useful. If you're traveling somewhere hot, a Shaidee Sun Cover is a lightweight piece of gear that is another great investment - the perfect way to keep your baby shielded from the sun's harmful rays.

 Baby Packing Checklist

  •  Diapers – one for each hour you’ll be in transit + 2 extra (just in case)
  • Baby Blankets – these are good for both you and baby. You can also use a scarf – I like a very soft cashmere scarf
  • Resealable plastic bags – these are good for all travelers
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Baby wipes – these are good for all travelers
  • Baby wash and lotion
  • Tissues
  • Extra soothers
  • Clothes – take an extra outfit with you
  • Washable bibs
  • Bottles or sippy cups
  • Shaidee Sun Cover, hat or sun screen (if your baby is over 6 months old)
  • Food, water, juice
  • Breast pump
  • Baby sling or carrier
  • Baby car seat
  • Umbrella-type stroller

9 Entrepreneurs Share How they Came up With Their Business Name

5) A Long Road

We started the business two years ago with three partners. The names began with J, N and K. We couldn’t come up with anything creative and needed to incorporate so we called the company JNK Solutions Inc. About two months into the company, one of the partners left (the K) and we felt we should change what the letters stood for so we decided instead of our names the company was now JNK Solutions Inc., but stood for Jane and Nicole’s Kickass Solutions. We then had to name the first product. As a prototype it had been called the Layna Visor because Layna was the first baby it was used with. It was a cute name, but it was almost too cutesy so we started thinking and I came up with the idea of Shaidee. It was spelled differently which would make it noticeable and it actually represented what our product would do – shade babies. We all agreed. Then we developed the second product and we were going to call it the Nettee – get it, Shaidee and Nettee and we were going to start calling ourselves Janee and Nicolee. We decided we weren’t building our brand so we changed the Nettee name (after printing labels for it) to the Shaidee Bug – because what this product does is shade from the sun and protect from insects. We started to think that our corporate name JNK Solutions Inc. was taking away from our brand as well – my husband kept saying it looks like JUNK Solutions – so now I only use our corporate name for legal documents and with everything else we refer to the company as Shaidee Sun Gear. I must admit, there was some wine involved with the naming of both the business and the products.

Thanks to Jane W. (Jantzi) Klugman, Shaidee Sun Gear!


Check out all the rest at:  Hear From Entrepreneurs

Written by Jane Klugman — November 07, 2014

LeMastering Motherhood Blog Report

Shaidee and Shaidee Bug for Babywearing!!
I'm sure you've all seen my baby wearing posts and know I love our carriers. I have soft structured carriers (SSC's) like the Boba, Ergo, Kinderpack, and Tula along with wraps and slings. We try to only use carriers that promote an ergonomic position (M shaped baby legs and no dangling).

When I saw the Shaidee accessories for carriers I jumped at the chance to try them out. They offer a shade piece which is perfect for here in FL and also a bug cover. Since we have more than our share of mosquitos here in FL, this is a huge plus too! My kids tend to react crazily to bug biters just like their dad so prevention is key. Little ones can't use bug spray or sunscreen for quite some time so having an alternative is important. The Shaidee product's main use is for kiddos from birth to 1yr old but as a baby wearing mom who wears her toddlers and beyond they can be used much longer.

The Shaidee is very lightweight and is a visor device that straps around the person wearing their baby in any front carrier. It can also be clipped onto a stroller to give a few more inches of shade to existing canopies! It's portable and rolls nicely into a carry bag so you can always have it with you! Their newest addition the Shaidee bug is made of UPF fabric for sun and bug protection. It can also be placed around a stroller or baby seat in addition to it's main use, baby carriers!

Overall both items worked for us but would be even more optimal for those using a forward facing front carrier (Born or even better the Lillebaby). I do love back carries once my kiddos get over a year old and the original Shaidee is not meant for back carries but the Shaidee bug was definitely useable for both.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
Written by:  Miranda Black LeMaster on October 20th, 2014

Still Dragon ON! The Behind the Scenes Story (Part 2)

I promised to fill you in on the entire story, so here is where we left off:

We started sort of packing up and I was already thinking about going to Boston Pizza to grab something to eat while we waited for the traffic to die down a little. 

As we packed up, Nicole and I were chatting with each other and with some of the other people around us.  Our friends from Waterloo were going to be the last pitch of the day and they were standing at the stage entrance waiting to go in.  We were very excited for them, but I was really disappointed for us because we now had to drive back into Toronto, one more time, and wait around all day.  We had left our house at 9:30am that morning and it was now almost 6:00pm and we knew we would not be home until after 9:30pm.  That is a long day of waiting around - it's not like we were even being productive and making phone calls and there was no wifi so we couldn't really work!  Anyhow, we were resigned to the fact that we were coming back on Friday and hopefully we would be able to do our pitch in the morning so we could get in and get out quickly.

All of a sudden there was a flurry of activity and our producer was running over to us saying they just got word, they want us in the Den as the last pitch of the day so stop packing up and get your stuff together.  Get over and get your microphones on and get your hair and make-up touched up!  Off you go, quickly because the crew goes into overtime at 6pm and we want to get this done.

So, off we went and they moved our props to where they needed to be.  Out of hair and make-up we came and entered the back stage area.  We climbed the stairs to do the walk across the platform where the windows are, before descending into the Dragons' Den.  At this point, the only thing I was really nervous about was making it down the stairs and not tripping over myself (which I have been known to do). 

ASIDE:  When the producers toured us through the Den earlier in the afternoon, the only question I asked was if the stairs were full stairs or if they were steel grid stairs where my heels could get stuck in them.  I was informed they were full stairs and my heels would not get stuck and I would not (or at least I would have less chance) of falling.

So Nicole and I are waiting at the top of the stairs and we are both kind of nervous.  I had mentioned to her that in order not to be nervous I had learned this breathing technique once while doing Yoga.  It goes like this - if you inhale deeply and then let out a big, and very loud, sigh that is an AHHHHHHHHH it will release all of your tension.  Of course, we had to do this, but it was just too funny so we started giggling and the producers were staring at us like we had two heads.  We did the breathing exercise one more time and laughed hard again and the producers at this point were thinking "why did we bring these two nuts to go last?".  It didn't matter - we had released our tension and were feeling pretty darn good!  Then, the producers gave the word and we were "off" to the Den.

We descend (with no falling), place our gear onto the table that was there for us and look at all the Dragons. The Den is actually a pretty big area and we are fairly far away from the Dragons when we pitched.  We hardly got our pitch started when the Dragons started asking questions and one of the Dragons wanted to wear the carrier with a fake baby and a Shaidee.  We suited Michael Wekerle up in the baby gear and placed the Shaidee around him - this was all cut from the final filming, but it was all good fun. We then answered a ton of questions - far more than what was shown on the TV clip and we were offered the deal by Michael.  We didn't just say yes right away, we actually went into the back room - I believe they call it the "Rat Pit" and we phoned my husband, Iain Klugman. We knew we were going to take the deal, but we were having so much fun, we just wanted the moment to last a little longer.  Iain gave us some good advice and we went back out into the Den and told Michael we would accept his offer.

Then we went up to the stage and we shook all of their hands and chatted with all of the Dragons before walking out the stage door.  This was a "no-no" - the producers had expressly told us when it was done we were to leave immediately so chit-chatting was not acceptable - and it was past 6:00pm. It was so much fun and when we were outside the door, we looked at each other and said wow, I want to come back and do that again - what a great experience!

Then Michael's people met us and gave us the package we needed to complete for the first round of due diligence.  We had 14 days to do this and if we passed this round, there would be a second more detailed round of due diligence that we would have to complete.  At this point it is close to 6:30 and the crew has disappeared, the producers have disappeared and all of the other pitchers have disappeared - it is just Nicole and me and all our stuff.  But, we had been invited to a KPMG party that was happening in the waiting room where we had been all day.  I knew the people who were organizing it and they had invited us to join the party of CEOs that were guests of KPMG.  They had been given a tour of the set and got to watch our pitch in the Green Room and then they were able to have a Q&A with the Dragons.  We found someone and asked to be taken to the party and the person looked at us and said "no", pitchers don't get to go to this party, this is for invited guests only - we explained and they finally took us over to the room, but wouldn't let us go inside.  As we briefly waited outside, one of the organizers saw me and dragged us inside.  We had a glass of wine and then the Dragons saw us - in particular - Michael Wekerle saw us and he came over and had his picture taken with us!  He said he was going to tweet the picture and we were so worried, because if anyone figured out that we did a deal with him prior to our episode airing, it could jeopardize our episode ever going to TV!  There was no need to worry, he did not post it, but I have attached it here for you to look at. 

We didn't stay at the party very long because they were starting the Q&A piece and we really wanted to get home - or get to Boston Pizza (thank you Jim Treliving for the gift certificate) and get something to eat.  We wound our way back through the hallway maze to where our stuff was on a big trolley.  We rolled the trolley over to the big elevator, found our way downstairs and I went to get the car.  We loaded the car, then I went and re-parked the car and we went to Boston Pizza.  At this point, we didn't know what had happened to our other pitching friends from Waterloo, but when we got to Boston Pizza, there they were sitting and eating and drinking. Now remember, the last time we saw them, they were standing at the stage entrance ready to go in.  They said they were bumped and they have to come back another day.  They were bumped for us!

We didn't stay very long and were on the road by 8:30pm - the traffic was good and we were home by 9:30pm with lots of stories that we couldn't tell.  The producers didn't give us a date for when our episode would air, they just told us they would be in touch two weeks before it did air and that it could be any time between October and April.  Can you imagine waiting a whole year - thankfully we only had to wait until October!


Written by Jane Klugman — October 26, 2014

Stop Dragon My Heart Around

The Record Article by Jeff Hicks! October 18, 2014

Kitchener partners enter the Dragons’ Den, emerge victorious

Waterloo Region Record
PitchNicole Barrett, left, and Jane Klugman of Kitchener pitch their protective sun cover for infants on the Toronto set of CBC's Dragons' Den last spring.

KITCHENER — You show up early to face the "Dragons' Den" of fire-breathing business moguls.

Can't be late to pitch your product to six million viewers on national television, right?

So what do you do when the gatekeeper at the CBC palace in Toronto tells you to go away and come back a few hours later? What do you do with that bundle stacked in your back seat — lightweight visor screens designed to protect babies from the sun as they are carried in a sling or front pouch by an adult?

How do you kill a few anxiety-riddled hours on a sparkling spring day?

Well, you find a parking lot outside a discount grocery store. You watch out for the lot attendant so you don't have to pay to park.

Then, you practise your presentation to an imaginary panel of Canadian gazillionaires while passersby stare in disbelief at your odd-couple act for an invisible audience.

"Tons of looks," said Kitchener's Jane Klugman, recalling that April 9 afternoon spent rehearsing a "Dragons' Den" routine with her Shaidee business partner Nicole Barrett.

"You know what? I've done more things with this business that have given me stranger looks. We have stood outside the subway station with fake babies and Shaidees on, handing out flyers. Things you never, ever would have done in your corporate life, you do as an entrepreneur. You just have to do them."

You can't be shy or self-conscious when you've got a baby product to launch into the financial stratosphere. If you are hesitant, the project will likely crash and burp.

Klugman can't act with the decorum of the director of business development for City of Kitchener any longer. Nor can she claim immunity from shameless acts of promotion as vice-president of Communitech. There can be no shame when it comes to pushing Shaidees into the world of diaper-movers, rattle-shakers and baby-makers.

That's why Klugman and Barrett hustled to a local "Dragons' Den" audition in February.

All the stops must be pulled to be a success. Then, they must be pulled harder.

So this week, they became the first pitch featured on the official website of "Dragon's Den," even before the pitch is seen on TV. It's out there at just like it was way out there when the two Shaidee ladies practised it in a parking lot.

The extra practice in the no-frill alley didn't allay their worries.

Suppose the television dragons, after listening to their end-of-day tap-dance, spew disdain and spit up ridicule at the Kitchener women and the infantile product they poured years of their lives into formulating?

"That was my biggest fear," Klugman said. "I know we've got this great product. But you never know what they're going to do."

But finance phenom Michael Wekerle bought in. They sought $100,000 for 20 per cent of the company, which has locally made Shaidees in 60 stores through Canada and the U.S.

Wekerle countered with $100,000 for 40 per cent interest. They left with that offer.

But the deals done on "Dragons' Den" are not instantly binding, Klugman said. They are subject to rounds of due diligence and often fizzle. Klugman said they are still working with Wekerle to make it happen.

"He's very easy to work with," Klugman said. "He's absolutely business brilliant."

But deal or no deal, the Shaidee work continues.

They just appeared at a huge juvenile products show in Las Vegas. They're also working on distribution deals in Australia, Japan and South Korea.

"We get those and we've got a real business," she said.

And maybe one day, if the Shaidee baby market booms, they'll be waiting inside an intimidating studio while nervous entrepreneurs practise their pitches in a parking lot.


Written by Jane Klugman — October 18, 2014


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