Barebottom Shoes™ Sole-less Pitch Dragon’s Den story in Peterborough Examiner

Posted February 23, 2013 | by Sue Kenney | in Barefoot | no responses

They may not have a sole, but they are a shoe with soul.

The barefoot movement is growing because it is the next logical step for a holistic approach to life.  The Nike's of the world know what we've always known, natural is always better. Many of the injuries we sustain can be linked back to the shoes we've been wearing from over-padded and supported track shoes to pointed high heels. In his book Born to Run, Christ Christopher McDougall talks about a tribe in Mexico known as the Tarahumara Indians who can run hundreds of miles, and they do much of it barefoot. Many times I've been asked to leave places, like the Ontario Art Gallery, grocery stores, LCBO, restaurants and more because people are afraid of a law suit. I decided to put together a wish list of what I wanted in a shoe that would appear to conform, when in fact I was bare soled.  I invented Barebottom Shoes ™ as a solution. I pitched the idea to the Dragon's Den TV show and got a pretty good response. If it's any indication what the press thought about the story, I just might have a good chance!

News Local

From bare feet to retro burgers, these entrepreneurs have ideas for Dragons' Den 11

By Galen Eagle, Peterborough Examiner
Bob Walling, the 51-year-old owner of the Red and White Diner in Bridgenorth, awaits his opportunity to impress the producers of CBC’s Dragons’ Den during auditions at Trent University Thursday afternoon. GALEN EAGLE/PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER/QMI AGENCY
Bob Walling, the 51-year-old owner of the Red and White Diner in Bridgenorth, awaits his opportunity to impress the producers of CBC’s Dragons’ Den during auditions at Trent University Thursday afternoon. GALEN EAGLE/PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER/QMI AGENCT  
Embracing a barefoot life isn’t easy. Sue Kenney, 56, believes in the benefits of forgoing shoes. She says it connects her to the ground, strengthens her feet and gives her better balance. But not everybody is enamoured with her lifestyle choice. “I was going barefoot a lot, but I would go into restaurants and stores and people would ask me to leave if I didn’t put my shoes on,” she said. So Kenney began experimenting and designed a sole-less shoe that gives her all the benefits of bare feet with the appearance of stylish footwear. “I thought if I could design a shoe it would be something that looks good, something stylish, something that has no sole,” she said. “But you can’t tell it has no sole.” Kenney, a Washago, Ont. resident and national best-selling author of My Camino, inspired by her travels along the Camino Trail in Spain, was one of the entrepreneurs at Trent University Thursday auditioning for CBC’s Dragons’ Den. “I’m completely simplistic in my life to the point that I don’t want soles on my feet,” she told show producers Matt Faulknor and Jane Chupick on stage at Wenjack Theatre. By noon about 25 hopefuls were awaiting their opportunity to woo the producers and punch their ticket onto the widely popular television show. Apsley resident Gillian James, 55, and her 17-year-old son Sam came armed with cookies and appealed to the producers’ stomachs. Gillian, a local chef, began experimenting with nut-free desserts 15 years ago when Sam suffered a serious allergic reaction to peanuts. “The nut-free market was so bare bones. I didn’t want to just cook something, I wanted to create something that everybody would be thrilled to eat,” Gillian said. Her company, Nut Free Gourmet, sells products in high-end grocery stores in Toronto and her cookies are used for school fundraising. She’s looking for the dragons’ help to reach bigger markets. “Sales have stalled at a certain level. I’m in some really great stores but I want to get in slightly larger chains, so I need a salesperson that’s an expert at selling to chains,” she said. Bob Walling, 51, also wants to take his business to a new level. The owner of Red and White Diner in Bridgenorth believes he’s sitting on the next big Canadian franchise. He’s hoping to impress Dragons’ Den judge Jim Treliving, co-owner of the Boston Pizza restaurant chain. “I’m pitching to move my business to the next level, to build a second location and brand the name Red and White Diner all across Canada,” he said, sitting beside an Elvis Presley bust amongst other items from his diner. “I’m trying to impress on them that this could be the next franchise, totally Canadian born.” Faulknor and Chupick will tour the country, auditioning thousands of hopefuls coast-to-coast before selecting a handful to appear before the judges, a group of Canadian business leaders with money to invest, on national television. “We’re looking for pretty much anything because any idea no matter how big or small can tell us a story or teach us a lesson,” Faulknor said. “This is my favourite part of the job, getting out and meeting these people. I’m blown away. I don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body and I truly admire and am impressed with these people who have thrown their time, their money and their passion into these ideas.” NOTE: Whether any of Thursday's applicants wind up on next season's Dragons' Den won't be known for a while, and whether they're successful is kept a secret until the shows air. galen.eagle@sunmedia.ca

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