Dex catches Dragon's eye

A Kamloops man is about to get the help of "Dragons' Den" star Michele Romanow in launching a six-month campaign to take a dog food brand to the next level.

Blair Harper owns half of the dog food and supplement company Dex Knows Best.

"It's an exciting time for us and I think Kamloops as well," says Harper. "We're pretty proud of our accomplishments so far."

Though Harper and professional skier Rory Bushfield just launched their company last November, the idea started long before that.

Bushfield was married to fellow professional skier Sarah Burke back in 2010. Once, while up in the Mount Currie area, Burke found an abandoned puppy under a car. She brought him home and that's how Dex became a part of Bushfield's family.

Burke died in 2012 after a training run accident in Utah, and Harper saw how impactful having a dog was during Bushfield's grieving period.

"I just saw how much Dex really helped him through that loss," says Harper. 

Harper and Bushfield came up with the idea for a subscription-based dog food delivery company, with Dex becoming the face of the operation. Proceeds from every sale would go toward the Sarah Burke Foundation, which awards scholarships to amateur athletes.

"Being dog lovers, obviously, our intention as a dog food company, our number one focus is for the dog's health and benefit," says Harper. "Secondly, would be raising money for the foundation. So we feel there's really no brand like us because of our authenticity."

After getting a manufacturer in Abbotsford and distribution facilities in Vancouver and Toronto, they launched in November and caught the eye of a former dragon. 

Bruce Croxon's endorsement ended up being huge for their company because Dex Knows Best was about to audition to get on "Dragons' Den" that spring.

Harper and Bushfield went to Kelowna on March 14 to see if they could get on the Canadian reality TV show, but were passed over by the show's producers.

But, through Croxon's post, they were connected with Romanow and will begin a national advertising campaign in September.

"If we can hit our targets, then the Dex Knows Best brand will continue to grow," says Harper.

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