Moxie Trades on the CBC Dragons' Den

  

Testimonials

Anne DayCompany of Women

I have watched with pride as Marissa has worked to make her dream come true.  Right from the start when she received our Company of Women grant I was impressed with her savvy, business acumen and her determination to succeed.

When she was on Dragons’ Den, it was an honour to stand with her as she pitched her business and over the years we have stayed in touch and when I have needed a speaker, she’s there for me.
Marissa is real. She tells it like it is and through her authentic presentations, she inspires other women to think big and go for it, just as she has done.

(There is a chapter about Marissa in Anne’s book Day by Day – Tales of business, life and everything in between which can be ordered through Company of Women.

Anne Day
President
Company of Women 

Wendy Moxie Ambassador

What you have done is nothing short of amazing – you are an inspiration to all women. And to have slayed the dragons in the process.As in the past, women do most of the work, and now, with the right education and equipment, we can do even more and with great confidence and even greater skills. And on farms – women do more than ever. But the problem has always been to get proper footwear – kids boots are too flimsy and mens boots are too heavy and large for those of us who are tiny. And then you appear!!!!

The boots are wonderful and true to size – which means I don’t have to go out and shop somewhere and deal with the human race. Ordering on line was quick and easy and the price was right.

So Marissa I salute you, your gutsiness, bravery and leadership. And I shall follow your continued success with the greatest of interest. And the name MOXIE – is superb – I had a horse with that name – and what a winner!! 

Wendy
WorkBoot Wearer
Moxie Ambassador

W. Brett Wilson

On the show, Marissa rightly turned down the offer that was presented by a couple of the Dragons (including me). As she walked confidently off stage, I asked her to contact me, as I knew that we could find a deal in the real world, away from the constraints imposed by “reality TV”. We met the next day – and a few months later – we closed on a deal for about $600k – that made us partners and gave her access to needed expansion capital. At the time it was the largest deal ever done in Canadian Dragons’ Den history and I was told one of the largest done in the world of Dragons' Den. Marissa is a bright, ambitious and very capable entrepreneur looking to prove herself. My team is working closely with her and her team – as they work through the growing pains of building a fast growing business. I am confident my trust in Marissa is well placed.

W. Brett Wilson
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Dragon
www.wbrettwilson.ca

Part 3: The inner tutu and The boycott!

This blog is part three of my inner tutu wholehearted living story…. In retrospect, the boycott has become an honour. It has sparked a fire in me that has reminded me of who I am and that I will fight for that right to live wholeheartedly for all the things I stand for. More importantly for all the lessons I want to teach my children.

As Robin Sharma has shared in his teachings.. “critics don’t come out to play when you are doing average work, they come out when you are approaching mastery and doing great work”
So I know the older I get, the bolder I get, the louder I get, the more criticism I will face – but then that’s how I’ll know I’m achieving something magnificent.

Recently I watched this Brene Brown video on “Why the critics aren’t the ones who count” – Watch this!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-JXOnFOXQk

The boycott started about questions about photo of women in construction. The conversation very quickly became about pink and some ridiculous woman who wears a tutu in pink work boots. It included women questioning this chick’s skill in the trades. It included women attacking a successful woman – a construction worker from Saskatchewan. Criticism on steroids.

My main concern became, wow with all the good that I aim for the and the intent in my daily actions, isn’t there a better cause to fight? And if you read some of the emails, I’m blessed to receive, you might feel like a putz.

The truth is I wanted work boots that fit and were pink. Plain and simple. I thought that if I looked like myself, we could all get over the fact that I was a woman in the room with hammer, then we could get to work. And yes, I can build shit, did receive a scholarship from my women in skilled trades program but more importantly I built a magical Harry Potter dressing room for my daughter, a train table for my son and a family room in my basement that my best friends and family enjoy till 4:30am on party nights.

Despite the very few critics, there are way, way, WAY huge amounts of women and men who encourage me. Beyond my wildest dreams, women email me photos of themselves in our footwear, they tell me stories about how I gave them the courage to follow their dreams, whether it’s with a hammer, ipad or blender. This gift is invaluable and I’m full of gratitude that women have taken the time to share their stories with me. I am daily filled with tears of gratitude – quite honestly I wonder if I’ve already achieved the goals that are important and can’t imagine what else there is. (but then I find another dream and another idea)

I have re-mortgaged my home, sacrificed time away from my family, faced the dragons and lost my ego the day I put on that pink dress with pink work boots. Many women have worn their husbands work boots for an entire career. Women have told me what they need, want, love and hate. Isn’t that the wonderful thing about women, they are fearlessly opinionated and their desires are endless.

Thanks to Andrea Gordon from the Toronto Star for “getting it” and sharing it with the thousands of readers who frequent the business section. I’ve never been stronger in my mind, heart and soul since I owned my true wholehearted self. I am a woman, a wife, brilliant, strong and I can build S#!t! And for those that hate pink, I will share, I’m not a big fan of green – it’s really not in my colour wheel, I’m never green with envy and although it’s the colour of money – Canadian money comes in many colours so big freak’n deal – still not a fan of green.

One woman stated that she wears mens’ work boots to blend in. We’ve sold thousands of pink work boots, not one thousand or two thousand – we’re in the tens…. I was disheartened that the very women I’m working to keep safe and happy on the inside were criticizing me for doing so. I would never criticize how anyone earns a living. If “blending” in helps one cope – I support that too. It is tough out there and I don’t take it lightly but I also won’t whisper. I will scream, shout and kick in my pink work boots that I am here until you see me. And that is where the difference is made. Progress is not made with whispers, it is made with roars.

So I am honoured to have been boycotted for the colour pink, dancing in my tutu with my daughter and showing my children how to find their own moxie. Moxie is the ability to face fear with spirit and courage. Women are miraculous, I intend to celebrate it! We can make humans, swing a hammer, lead a team, run a board meeting or bake a cake. If you don’t think that’s something to celebrate, you are not living and you really need to find your own moxie… I dare you!

Part 2 to finding my inner tutu

Now you’ve heard about how the life of me dancing in a tutu and pink work boots came to life… Here’s part two – wearing it in public. As part of my community involvement, I made friends with two lovely ladies who had an idea to run an event for women – inspirational, educational and motivational – that was all I needed to hear – sign me up. On the day of our event, our MC called in sick and I was asked to step up to the challenge – I was as pumped as a kid in Disney. I asked one of my dear friends (I only have dear friends, if they aren’t dear, why have them?) and asked her to break into my house to get “the” dress. I worked the day, dancing, emceeing, talking about business. I felt peace, I felt confident and I felt so happy – yes, pink work boots and a tutu. My outside now matches my inside. I finally found who I am! 37 birth years in (25 heart years) – not bad! That day was the day that I owned my statement, my being and my essence. I am a Woman, I am a Wife, I am Brilliant, I am Strong and I can Build S#!t! (No, t-shirt is not available yet) I am living wholeheartedly and fiercely loyal to my wholehearted self. Women wanted to touch my dress, asked me how it felt wearing my dress and where did I buy it and am I happy? Most of the comments are really positive and I think there are a few more tutus in the closet. I’ve learned that if people’s egos didn’t get the best of them, they too would toss on a tutu. However, the odd critic feels I may not be taken seriously. 

Someone recommended that I should do a photo like Arlene Dickinson – horrifying. I will not deny myself the simpleness of a happy dress and a good pair of work boots and a happy spirit – truly comfortable in my own skin. Will I be taken seriously? I sure hope not! That’s not an ingredient that God made me with – that and patience are not in my recipe. Those are not my gifts. Me, my tutu, my pink work boots, a business plan most days and a hammer on others – that’s my gig, my true essence and totally worth fighting for. And if anyone questions if I’m capable – knock yourself out! Want to know how to build a brand – ask! Want to know how to sell to the biggest or best retailers in North America – ask! Want to know how to sign one of the largest deals ever done worldwide on Dragons’ Den and ink a deal with a billionaire – ask! And that’s just the small stuff. My kids and husband – they’re half the reason I aim so high and jump so deep, I am the other reason. It is a journey that I own, every single little bit of it and it’s a blast. Business is tough, it requires a ridiculous amount of energy, focus, determination, smarts and pixie dust. If you’re looking for a polished suit with words of wisdom – I am not your girl. Cause I will tell you, all those business skills and smarts help but they are not the magic. When your heart is beating so fast and hard that you think people can see it jumping out of your throat – that’s the magic – that’s when you know you’re alive. When the naysayers pick on you, that’s when you find your best. When you are challenged, that’s when you rise above. When you are doubted, that’s when you conquer. When you fail is how you learn how real success feels. So that’s the story of me and my tutu and I’ll wear it whenever the occasion calls or not calls. But just so you know, if you see me wearing it or not wearing it, that’s how my heart feels inside.

Title: The Tutu – Part 1

Finding my inner tutu:
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a shift. Deep thought and comments on the colour pink, whether or not I should wear a pink tutu on my profile page and even a pink work boot boycott.
The boycott has been lifted but I sure wish it wasn’t – I have a load of anti-boycott advertising ideas. I did defend myself obsessively.
I must admit; this is what I signed up for. I used to be scared. After my stint on Dragons’ Den (largest deal closed ever worldwide at the time) I used to run into my house, head down.
I wasn’t prepared for the comments, good or bad, I didn’t know how to respond or react.  
I felt judged. I was judged.
That was pre-tutu.
After my Charlie dog died, I was inspired by an idea of me wearing a Betsey Johnson dress (our iconic boot’s namesake) and my pink work boots. No one in their right mind would have questioned my decision to buy a dress to drown my sorrows. The truth is, that dress cost more than my wedding dress. (I did get married on a beach but still…)
My husband took photos of me on top of the 407 extension near where I live (for those outside of my little Canadian town, this is a mega site.) I used the photo on my website with the words “I am a Mom, I am a Wife, I am Brilliant, I am Strong and I can Build S#!t! This photo and statement made the front pages of the Toronto Star and an outpouring of comments, emails and phone calls came into my office. If I didn’t make a t-shirt with that slogan on it, other women would!
So my Charlie gave me inspiration and I must admit, I was never been sadder in my life. I’ve never lost anyone close to me and although a kid from divorced parents, my life has been pretty awesome. Charlie’s death also became my truth – raw truth was discovered.
That became the beginning of my wholehearted self – a heart broken business woman with a tutu and work boots and my personal slogan was uncovered “I am a Mom, I am a Wife, I am Brilliant, I am Strong and I can Build S#!t!”

“More on finding my inner tutu – coming next week!”

What’s with the pink? Breaking down stereotypes in a pink collar ghetto!

What’s with the pink? I was recently featured in the Toronto Star in an article beautifully written by Andrea Gordon. I say beautifully because this writer “got it” and “got it” quickly. As the two of us scrambled deadlines in our own jobs, we connected for a brief but intense interview. The article was titled: Mompreneurs: Powerful business network or pink-collar ghetto? The article was inspired by a tweet from a Jolie O’Dell; a young woman who is a great writer, a techie and definitely NOT a mother. Jolie’s tweet; “Women: stop making startups about fashion, shopping, & babies. At least for the next few years. You’re embarrassing me.” Please let’s all take her comment and disregard it whole-heartedly. She lists looking for sushi deals as part of her interests. Enough said, but do read the article of the amazing women who have started their businesses. We have ideas, visions, dreams; we employ people; we build stuff; we buy stuff; we sell stuff. That’s a simple plan this economy needs to embrace and let’s all bless ourselves lucky to live in Canada or the USA; where this is truly possible. In fact, women are God-like. We make humans and run companies, we have heart and soul, we have brains and we have muscles. There’s nothing missing from our list of ingredients. The article has great timing with the promise I made previously about What’s with the pink? It’s been a while since I told my story of starting Moxie Trades. I wanted to be a tradeswoman and I wanted to wear pink work boots. I like pink. I also wanted any comments from my co-workers to get out of the way so that we could get to work. Before I took my course for Women in Skilled Trades, I ran a flyer that advertised “Interior House Paining.” Truth be told, I want to paint like Debbie Travis, she is my hero! When I went to the homes in my area to provide quotes I was asked “Where’s your Dad?” and “Who’s going to paint?” and “How are you going to climb the ladder?” I wasn’t equipped for such stupid and ignorant questions and I was asked them by women. So, I decided to name my company Moxie Trades. Moxie is the ability to face fear with spirit and courage so that word was a no-brainer and Trades because that’s what we were going to do. I also wanted a logo that was PINK and I wanted sexy girls holding tools as my logo. I didn’t want any surprises when I showed up to your door with my boobs on. (that’s not a typo) Our pink work boot is named Betsy (another story for another day) and she is our icon. The women in my program ALL bought men’s work boots. That’s shameful isn’t it? I would never have got an appointment with a retailer if I had a black or brown boot. In this life, you can’t whisper to make a statement, you need to scream. I have been asked if our pink work boot is CSA or ASTM approved. This is when I have to remind everyone it’s only a colour. What is with the pink? Historically, before the 1940′s it was suitable for boys to wear pink as it was a “decided” and strong colour. Blue was appropriate for women as it was daintier and more feminin like the Virgin Mary. Feminists have now reclaimed the colour (per wikipedia) and the Breast Cancer Society has also branded with pink. So what’s with it? Today, I think it’s the girliest colour anyone can think of. How fun is it to take male-dominated items and colour them pink. It’s a 180 degree statement. AND, I have been able to advocate for women in the trades because of my pink work boot. I have been able to have discussions about equality in the workforce because of my pink work boot. I have been able to do amazing things, travelled the world, danced in my pink work boots, and inspired women to find their moxie, in work boots or not. What a great time to do the thing you were meant to do. Find your moxie ladies…in pink, black or blue, I Dare YOU!

McTasney found her moxie

Thanks for checking out the Marissa McTasney webpage and blog. I decided to put this site together because I have received many calls over the last five years from people; men and women who have an idea, a dream or a vision. I have been invited to speak at seminars, conferences, girl’s day outs, lunch ‘n learns and schools. When I first started my business it was Tomboy Trades, why it’s not called that today is another story (one that’s in the “experience” bucket. ) I have re-mortgaged my house a few times for the love of Moxie. I got a loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada when I received my first purchase order from Home Depot. I have sold purchase orders in order to pay for manufacturing my goods; this is called “purchase order financing.” I have also “factored,” we’ll keep that lesson for another day. I have partnered with “finance guys” who understood money and business but not the heart and soul of a dreamer. I have been blessed by the Canadian media who have heard my “David and Goliath” story and have shared it with their readers. Thankfully, the CBC in Canada asked me to help audition the millionaires auditioning to the be the newest “dragon” on Dragons’ Den. That experience, lived on a whim and in the “why not” bucket, landed the biggest deal ever done to date on Dragon’s Den history – worldwide, thank-you very much. I am now partners with W.Brett Wilson, Canada’s investor with a heart. Imagine being partners with a philanthropist.

In the meantime, I am raising two brilliant kids, they are perfect, they are well mannered, they are funny, they are smart and I love them to death. Carter is eight and Frankie is six. Now, we get to jump in the ocean and swim with stingrays and sharks, and we get to ski down the Rocky Mountains. They are the reason I dream big, think the impossible, love passionately and give generously.

If it weren’t for my husband who continues to stand in my shadow as my good looking arm candy, I don’t know how it would be possible. If it weren’t for my mother who has jumped at every beck and call of urgency for the love of Moxie, her daughter and her grandchildren, this would most certainly not be possible.

I am a lucky girl but as Einstein said “luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”

For every idea, dream and vision needs believers. Big Believers, the kind that won’t let you fall.

So, I hope that I can share my experiences with you so that we can all dream big, think the impossible, love passionately and give generously.

Be bold and find your moxie, I dare you.