Parker: Out of doors way of life firm Kailani driving wave of success

When he was one of many folks laid off from the oil and gasoline firm in 2020, Sean Alexander determined to go all in along with his firm

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Shedding a job could be tremendous aggravating for some, however Sean Alexander took it as a transparent alternative to do what he actually needed to do — arrange his personal outside way of life firm.

He says rising up in a number of cities throughout Western Canada meant altering colleges usually, which he believes made him resilient. In 2000, he made Calgary his house and started promoting promoting for shopper advertising magazines. In 2005, he switched to promoting oil and gasoline gear, and did properly.

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Alexander and his household bought one of many first houses within the lake neighborhood of Concord, west of the town, and life was good.

In his spare time, he started importing standup paddleboards (SUPs) in 2019 to promote to his neighbours, branding them Kailani — a Hawaiian phrase which means sea and sky.

He quickly expanded his product vary by manufacturing and importing brightly colored coolers, making a a lot larger market — everyone wants a cooler.

When he was one of many folks laid off from the oil and gasoline firm in 2020, he determined to go all in along with his firm.

Working from house had its drawbacks, together with having to ask his spouse to maintain her automotive on the highway as, when stock arrived, he wanted all of his storage house.

Alexander knew the best way to import and ordered 80 coolers in quite a lot of colors. Hustling onerous, he had all of them bought inside a month. He then confidently booked a cargo of 300 in three sizes and 5 colors — all stamped along with his Kailani model brand.

His attention-grabbing story tells of utilizing a web site, a listing, social media after which buying a trailer to hold samples on the highway. After an 8 a.m. espresso, he would load up and hit the highway, providing free supply that saved him busy till previous 9 within the night — and he was quickly bought out once more.

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Feeling it was time for a break, he and his spouse took a small vacation the place he wrote his first marketing strategy during which he believed he might promote to retailers and nonetheless make an excellent return.

His first journey was to Fernie, B.C. — his first goal, the Canadian Tire retailer. Alexander tells of arriving late at night time. After an excellent sleep in his automotive within the parking zone, he was within the retailer and speaking to proprietor Angus McDonald at opening time.

McDonald beloved the product in addition to the worth he might promote them at, in contrast with a nationwide model of the identical high quality. Not solely did he order Kailani coolers however McDonald supplied to alert his counterparts at different B.C. shops in Cranbrook, Penticton and Kelowna.

After solely seven days on the highway, Alexander had orders for $130,000 value of coolers.

Enterprise grew so shortly he realized he couldn’t preserve ordering on bank cards — he wanted an investor. By way of a pal, he was launched to a retired businessman who put $1 million into the corporate.

That meant he was capable of rent employees and lease three warehouses.

By the top of 2021 the corporate had bought $2.1 million of product. Now in 200 retailers throughout Canada, final month Alexander appeared on Dragons’ Den and secured a $1-million cope with Wes Corridor.

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Kailani’s product line, designed in-house and patent manufactured with a registered trademark, at the moment consists of the favored coolers, inflexible and inflatable paddleboards and insulated drinkwear.

Kailani is an official companion with PGA Alberta and final month entered a multi-year nationwide partnership because the official cooler and drinkwear provider to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Affiliation.

And it will get higher — patent is pending is on a collapsible canine kennel. He has the good thing about being registered to promote by Amazon Canada Storefront, the highest e-commerce platform on the planet that Alexander says is supportive of small and medium-sized companies with back-end help. And his spouse’s automotive is again within the storage.

David Parker seems usually within the Herald. Learn his columns on-line at He could be reached at 403-830-4622 or by e mail at [email protected]

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