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Turning ideas into products: That’s a capital idea!

Turning ideas into products: That’s a capital idea!

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Author: ATB Business & Agriculture

It likely comes as no surprise that every great business and product originates from an entrepreneur’s great idea. Entrepreneurs are notorious for being innovative and imaginative, which made the theme of turning great ideas into great products at the March Capital Ideas events in Edmonton and Calgary a great success.

Claire Theaker-Brown of Flatter:Me Belts, Shane Pawluk of IZM Design and Alison McMahon of TwoFold shared their inspirations with the Edmonton crowd, while Melanie Love of Front Room, Jim Button of Village Brewery and DJ Sures of EZ-Robot engaged the Calgary audience.

The panellists discussed how they transformed their great ideas into great businesses and shared how their personal journeys to success began with taking that crucial first step.

Shane Pawluk, president and co-founder of the hand-made modern furniture company IZM Design believes that entrepreneurs should ask themselves if their idea is something they really want to do.

“A lot of people want to be in business or they want to have a product out there,” he says. “But it is a lot of effort, commitment and sacrifice.”

Once an idea is pursued, an entrepreneur must identify his or her customers. Claire Theaker-Brown founded Flatter:Me Belts in 2011 with the vision of helping women feel great in their jeans. Theaker-Brown explained the importance of targeting a niche market when finding customers.

“I made sure I had a product that women felt was needed,” she said.

When discussing how to make a product marketable, Alison McMahon believes a trial period is necessary. The co-founder of TwoFold, an HR business that helps redesign HR for small businesses explains, “Build a mock-up or base product and then put it in front of people to see what their reaction is.”

McMahon also believes that entrepreneurs cannot get ahead of themselves in the starting phases of a product.

“Don’t over invest in building the most perfect product before you put it in front of people,” she said.

As the CEO and co-founder of Front Room, Melanie Love explained that entrepreneurs may have to have a few doors slammed in their faces (literally!) before finding success.

“I don’t know how many fine and talented pattern makers told me, ‘this can’t be done,’” she recalls.

After three years of hard work, Love’s clothing company, which aims to provide professional looking, well-fitted and fashionable clothing for the busty female professional, will be launching this month.

Jim Button, co-founder of Calgary’s Village Brewery, emphasized the importance of his product connecting the Calgary community.

“I don’t find our product to be beer, I consider our product to be the act of gathering people,” he explained.

DJ Sures, CEO and co-founder of EZ-Robot, set out to make the craft of robot building accessible to everyone.

“I took everything I learned about the robot world and I shared it and packaged it up like Lego,” he said.

His idea is to find someone with an idea for a robot and answer, “Build it.”

Capital Ideas is a monthly event hosted in Edmonton and Calgary that features an interactive panel discussion with some of Alberta’s most innovative and knowledgeable entrepreneurs. Each month, panels in each city tackle one topic relevant to entrepreneurs and small-businesses. These events are excellent opportunities to network with Alberta entrepreneurs, learn insights, and get business advice for some of your most pressing challenges.

To find out more about Capital Ideas, find an event near you, or contribute to the conversation, visit and

Be sure to register for your next local Capital Ideas event “Show me the money: Financing growth” taking place April 15 in Edmonton and April 30 in Calgary.

Photo Courtesy: Capital Ideas
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