Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald email@example.com
During his mixed martial arts career, Jason Day has seen a few tough opponents in the ring.
The one he faced last week was equally as intimidating.
Granted, this opponent wasn’t trying to punch him, but the Fort Macleod product still had to be in top form.
Day was on The Dragon’s Den last Thursday, making a pitch for his product, The Webby, as the former MMA fighter ventures into the business world.
Like a perfectly-placed punch, Day landed the presentation as Dragon’s Lane Merrifield and Michelle Romanow got on board with The Webby, a circular exercise ladder used for training by fighters, football players and other athletes.
Still, there were pre-bout jitters of sorts.
“It's funny, that was the most nervous I've been in a long time, since my fighting days,” said Day, on the phone Thursday morning from his home in Vancouver. “You don't want to forget anything and you don’t want to have them chew up your numbers. But once I got going and talking to the Dragons — they call it your pitch when you walk it — once I got through that and they started asking their questions, then it’s easy. It’s just like talking to people and when you really believe in your concept it’s not a big issue.”
The Webby is the world’s first-and-only circular agility ladder, said Day.
“It’s a traditional agility ladder. It’s basically a ladder you can throw on the ground and is made out of fabrics, some are made out of plastic. They’re for different speeds for footwork and coordination. They’re a useful tool. There’s nothing on the market that is able to cut a 45-degree angle for just being spry on your feet as opposed to linear patterns of a regular agility ladder. That's where the idea came up.” Day trained with movement coach Tanya Lee from Body Art Motion during his MMA years, giving him the idea of an agility ladder that would help fighters train angles more efficiently.
“She put a hula hoop on the ground to get my hips warmed up,” said Day. “I thought this makes sense, but it would be good to have a visual as far as where to put my feet, kind of like a clock. That’s where the seed got planted and from there it started developing over the years with different concepts and different ways to make it happen. Eventually I came up with my design and I’m pretty happy with it.”
The idea — which came about in 2009 — was briefly put on the backburner after Day’s fighting career ended.
“When I moved back to Vancouver in 2012 I got back into it,” said Day. “I started teaching martial arts again and had a couple of rough prototypes that I’d give the guys to train on.”
Day applied for his patent roughly seven years ago and got it at the end of 2017.
“So from there its been about building the brand,” he said. “I didn’t start selling it until 2019. I tried to source it in North America first, but it’s so expensive. I’d love to have them made here, but manufacturing is so expensive here. So I out-sourced it and got everything done. Now, I’ve been working on the brand and getting awareness brought to it.”
The Dragons have bought into The Webby, but Day said he hasn’t had the chance to sit with them and discuss the future direction.
“I want to build it primarily online,” said Day. “I think E-commerce is the direction everything is going now. I think it just makes sense for me to build my brand online and I have the two Dragons that can help accomplish that for me.
"Lane used to play football, so he said ‘No matter what we do in the Den. I’ll be a customer.’ I got Michelle up and she was using it. So it was good to get her to experience it. She said it was way harder than an agility ladder.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Day couldn’t be in Toronto where The Dragons Den is filmed.
“I could have flown out there, but I would have had to have gone out there four days early and quarantine,” said Day. “I just wanted to get my pitch across. I wish I could have been there to show them more of my drills.”
He was thousands of miles away in Vancouver, but Day was still able to get The Dragon’s Den experience.
“There was a full setup,” he said.“I did the studio with the green screen. It was all pretty legit. I didn’t know what to expect or how to be able to interact with the Dragons. But it all came together in the end and obviously I’m pretty happy with the outcome.”
As The Webby continues to gain traction, Day continues with his day job in Vancouver as an actor and stunt man.
“I love my job, it’s a great job and it’s always changing and exciting,” he said. “I’m continuing doing that and we’ll see what happens with The Webby. If I get momentum I might have to put aside the stunt career for a little bit. But there are so many good people in the industry and I’ve really become to enjoy my job. It’s all still up in the air.
“It’s pretty exciting to have it out there and I’m trying to figure it all out as I go.”
Back home in southern Alberta, Day is enjoying the excitement and support of family and friends.
“My parents invested a little bit of money in it to get me going when I first came up with the idea. They’re excited, they might see a little return on their investment,” he said with a laugh. “But everybody is always supportive. Everybody back home has been reaching out. I lived in Lethbridge for over a decade, so it’s nice to feel that hometown support.
“There have been guys there using it. I hope to keep catching steam and I think anybody who owns an agility ladder should own a Webby.”
Day said the 02 Training Centre in Lethbridge might have The Webby in stock.
For more information on The Webby, visit www.webbyagility.com.
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Dale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald