Greener Living Products Ltd

Greener Living Products Ltd

February 01, 2011 08:03 ET

Greener Living Products Ltd.: Eco-Friendly Canadian Business Gets Fresh Capital From Dragon W. Brett Wilson

- Company Taps Growing Interest in Green Cleaning Products -

MELFORT, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Feb. 1, 2011) - As North Americans look for green alternatives to toxic cleaners, Greener Living Products Ltd., a small Melfort-based business, is growing along with the $100 million+ market. To take advantage of this opportunity, the company has now attracted an investment from one of Canada's most respected entrepreneurs – W. Brett Wilson – a panelist on the CBC television show Dragons' Den, where the company recently made a successful pitch.

Natural cleaners make up just one percent of the total household cleaners market, but demand has been growing by 18-25 percent each year for the last five years, representing an enormous opportunity for the small Saskatchewan startup.

Matt and Erin Johnson have been in business since 2007 when Erin went looking for a green laundry detergent that would keep her new baby's cloth diapers clean without harming the environment. She discovered a product called Soap Nuts – a berry that grows on trees in India and Nepal – which acts as a safe, gentle, fragrance-free detergent. The couple began selling Soap Nuts in farmers' markets and built an online sales following at buysoapnuts.com. Not only did the product clean their clothes, it also eliminated Matt's problem with eczema, which had been caused by harsh detergents.

"We're really excited to work with Brett, who is our favourite Dragon," said owner Matt Johnson. "We like that Brett's about the people rather than the money – but we'll be relying on his wealth of knowledge as we continue to grow."

Another bonus from their appearance on Dragons' Den: Arlene Dickinson gave the couple her frequent flyer miles so they could go to Nepal and see the process of harvesting and packaging Soap Nuts to better understand the product they sell. The couple is planning the trip for January 2012.

Wilson's investment will be used to provide for bilingual packaging of Soap Nuts – a necessary step for getting into Canadian retail chain stores. They'll also be building a larger inventory of their products, and focusing on offline marketing strategies to grow the business. Prior to their appearance on Dragons' Den, eighty per cent of their business came from the US. With over 200 orders in the last two days, they expect the balance to tip toward Canada.

"I like what Matt and Erin are doing," said Wilson. "It's just a matter of taking it to the next level."

Background

Soap Nuts grow in the jungles of countries like India and Nepal. Many people think soap nuts are nuts, but in fact they are not nuts at all, but a fruit. The name most likely came from its pit, which resembles a nut. Soapy substances called saponins are found in the outer shells of soap nuts. These saponins have the effect of detergents when mixed with water. They are used frequently, both medicinally and as detergents.

Greener Living Products Ltd. was founded in 2007 by Matt and Erin Johnson. They have operated from their home in Melfort, Saskatchewan and online at buysoapnuts.com. The company's current products include soap nuts natural laundry detergent, coconut coir fibre scrub pads, tea tree oil, a stain remover stick, and soap nuts bath bars.

W. Brett Wilson is Chairman of Canoe Financial, a privately owned investment management firm with over $1.5 billion in assets focused on providing investors with unique opportunities to profit from Canada's increasing prominence on the global stage. He is also Chairman of Prairie Merchant Corporation; a private merchant bank focused on business opportunities in the energy, agriculture, real estate, sports, and entertainment industries. In 1993, he co-founded FirstEnergy Capital Corp., a Canadian brokerage firm that provides investment-banking services to Canada's oil and natural gas sector. FirstEnergy is an industry leader, having participated in thousands of financing and M&A projects worth over $250 billion.

To view episode of Dragons' Den Featuring Greener Living Products Ltd. Go to cbc.ca/dragonsden and select episode 13.

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