Elaine Tan Comeau might be one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. But don’t be fooled. Though she is soft-spoken and quick to give a warm embrace to someone she’s just met, she is far from a “shrinking violet”. She is assertive and persistent and is not afraid to pick up the phone to get what she wants.
It’s no surprise then that her product, Easy Daysies, launched a bidding war with all of the dragons on CBC’s Dragons’ Den in 2012, something which has hardly ever happened. It’s also the reason why her Easy Daysies is available in big box retailers Chapters/Indigo, Staples and Barnes & Noble in the U.S. And most recently, it accounts for why she was named the Mompreneur of the Year in March.
Yet despite what seems like a meteoric rise to the top of the business ladder, Elaine is quick to point out she still works from her kitchen table, and bakes cookies for the Fed Ex driver to make up for challenging job of backing his truck up into her driveway in Vancouver, where she lives with her husband, Ronnie, and three children.
It’s a fairly simple concept. Easy Daysies is a magnetic wall calendar designed to help kids stay organized through the day. As a former teacher, she designed it with her students in mind, cuing from the frustrated pleas of their parents. By following the wall charts, kids learn routine, responsibility, independence and sight word recognition. As kids complete different tasks throughout the day they can see what’s coming up. This helps them develop self-discipline, respect, good work habits, as well as confidence.
The starter kit sells for $19.99, but the product line has grown to include teacher kits, chore kits and extra-curricular add-ons. Occupational therapists and child psychologists have recommended Easy Daysies as a way to reduce anxiety during transitions. The light blue background colour has also been specially chosen from research showing it is soothing to kids on the autism spectrum.
Elaine drew the graphics herself and sourced suppliers from China to make the product in large quantities.
Of her experience on Dragon’s Den, Elaine is grateful. She ended up working with Jim Treleven and Kevin O’Leary. “Arlene Dickinson wanted an exclusive arrangement, and I know that what happens on the show has to go through due diligence and it might be possible for someone to back out, so I wanted two dragons just in case.” The function more or less as silent partners, offering support when asked. “When I write those royalty cheques, I think of it as my protection money!” laughs Elaine. When O’Leary recently appeared on CBC to talk about his exit from the show, he mentioned Easy Daysies as one of the most memorable companies he’d seen, out of 1,500 that has been on the show over the years. He also mentioned her in his recent book.
Rather than expect the recognition for her hard work, Elaine remains flattered by all of the attention. Told you she was nice.
For more info or to order products, go to easydaysies.com.