Fredericton’s Jeff Alpaugh Makes a Deal on Dragon’s Den

Emilee Boychuk and Jeff Alpaugh on the Dragon's Den. (Image: submitted)

TORONTO – Two Dragon’s Den judges agreed to buy a 30 percent equity stake in Fredericton-based Jeff Alpaugh Custom after a lively few minutes of on-air and off-air negotiations on the show that aired Thursday night on CBC Television.

Jeff Alpaugh and his partner Emilee Boychuk started by making their pitch on Dragon’s Den for the world’s most dangerous dress shirts. They asked for a $100,000 investment for a 10 percent equity stake in the business, which sells custom-designed shirts online and at a retail location in downtown Fredericton.

“I bet, actually I know that every single person in this room would love it if everytime they walked out of their house they were walking under a waterfall of compliments,” Alpaugh said as a parade of men walked into the den wearing Jeff Alpaugh Custom shirts.

Image: submitted

Michele Romanow, the co-founder of, one of Canada’s top daily deal sites, made her decision to invest based on her favourable impression of Alpaugh.

“I think that businesses are 99 percent founder and one percent, investor. I can see you have driven all of this…” said Romanov, acknowledging Boychuk’s role as well.

“I think I know the online space really well. And I’ve actually started a business with my significant other, so I know exactly what that is like and how much work that is. I want to bet on you guys as a team.

“That being said, there is a lot of work for me to do to help you here. So I would need a pretty significant equity chunk to do that. I would need 40 percent.”

At this point, Michael Wekerle said he wanted in on the deal too. Wekerle is a commercial real estate developer and owner of the El Mocambo, an iconic live music venue in downtown Toronto that he is transforming it into a state-of-the-art entertainment, recording and production studio.

He wanted a 15 percent royalty on all purchases and $100,000 worth of shirts he seemed to want as merchandise for the El Macombo.

Alpaugh then said he’d like both to join them in the business.

“I’m just hoping there’s a way you can collaborate because I will say I do think we need massive help with the online,” said Alpaugh.

Romanov turned to Wekerle and said, “Let’s figure it out,” and the pair disappeared offstage.

They huddled in a backroom for a minute and then came back. “We have built a custom-deal for you,” she said.

“We would need a 30 percent equity stake, and we would take a 10 percent royalty on the shirts. It would also come with a $50,000 order for the shirts for the El Macombo right away.”

Alpaugh accepted their offer without hesitation.

“We are confident enough to know that we are going to build this thing so it’s going to be great,” he said. “And we are going to catch that wave, and the wave is now. We are humble enough to know that your guys’ guidance and mentorship is going to bring us there. So thank you guys so much, let’s do this.”

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