Alicia Woods' appearance on the Season 9 premiere of Dragon's Den on Oct. 15 exceeded her wildest expectations.
Woods, the founder of Covergalls, a Sudbury-based company that produces coveralls tailored specifically for women, made a deal with dragons Arlene Dickinson and Michael Wekerle for $75,000 in return for 30 per cent of her company.
Woods first thought about making coveralls for women about 15 years ago when she started going underground as part of her job with a mining supply company.
“When I had to go underground, I had to get clothes and, of course, there was nothing for women at that time,” she said. “I bought the smallest of everything.”
While the coveralls were not ideal, the idea to make a better version stayed in the back of her mind.
Wearing coveralls designed for men was especially troubling when using an underground port-a-potty.
To ensure other women wouldn't have to go through the same experience in the future, Woods finally put her idea for a female friendly coverall to the test in 2013.
The female-fitted coveralls include special “trap doors” for using the washroom.
“You don't have to take the coverall off if you need to use the washroom,” Woods said.
For Woods, Covergalls is one way to encourage women to enter non-traditional roles, such as the trades, or industries like mining and forestry.
“There are a lot of opportunities and I think sometimes females overlook those non-traditional roles,” she said.
The day her Dragon's Den episode aired, Woods established a scholarship fund for female high school students who plan to study a non-traditional occupation in college or university.