When Brett and Blake Smith-Daniels, Trevor Kidd and Michael Tessier of the Victoria rock band Endurance travelled to Toronto to appear on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, they were working on the philosophy to set their goals high, and live up to their own expectations.
It’s a philosophy that has guided the boys, aged 12 to 17, throughout their musical career.
It seems to be working, according to Tammy Smith-Daniels, Brett and Blake’s mother.
“Anyone who watched the Oct. 31 Dragon’s Den episode saw a very abbreviated version of what actually happened on the sound stage of the program,” she said. “The Dragons were sincerely interested in what the boys were doing and especially about the social enterprise aspect of the proposed record label.”
“They listened to several of the band’s original songs and later halted production for a while to bring in the parents for a conversation about the business idea,” said Smith-Daniels. “The producers were getting a little upset after a while saying, ‘we have to move on and keep to our schedule.’ But the Dragons wanted to hear the boys’ music and hear what they had to say.”
In the end, Endurance got the stamp of approval from all five of the Dragons, something Smith-Daniels said is a rare occurrence and a tremendous statement about how impressed the Dragons were with the boys’ pitch. They offered the band a commitment of $100,000 in exchange for a 50 per cent share of the record label when it’s established. The boys made it clear to the Dragons, however, that some of the funds from the 50 per cent that Endurance will retain will still be going to causes like Free the Children and other charitable pursuits.
“That was always part of the reason we started all this,” said Blake who, at age 12, is the youngest member of the group. “We want to make money but don’t need to be rich. We want to help others.”
Now Endurance and the Dragons are in the part of the process that is never featured on TV. “We’re in the due diligence and contract development stage of the process, but I can say that the Dragons have been amazingly supportive,” said Smith-Daniels. “They’ve been working very hard behind the scenes and have made contacts for the boys with industry professionals. We’re very confident that things will work out.”
She is only one of the group of parental business advisors helping the boys in their quest to establish their own label. “Between us we have a fair amount of expertise in business, so it’s only natural that we’d help out,” she said.
Regardless of the final result of negotiations the boys have already achieved a lot of what they wanted to accomplish with their foray into the Dragon’s Den.
“They wanted to get some exposure for the band, to raise awareness for their charities and to inspire other young people and show them that anything is possible. They’ve done all of that,” said Smith-Daniels. “All of the parents are incredibly proud of these remarkable young men.”