Charlie Rose is a graduate of BCIT’s apprenticeship program in Carpentry, but you might know him for his one-of-a-kind Boingy Boingy drums, which you’ve either seen on Facebook, on campus, or on display on CBC’s Dragon’s Den back in Season 6. Despite not securing an investment, since his episode Charlie he has continued his path as a self-proclaimed “ecopreneur,” and now enjoys solace on BC’s Sunshine Coast with his family where he’s busy dreaming up his next big idea. LINK writer Alice Han reached Charlie recently by phone to talk more about his unique experience on the Den and what’s next for him.
What were the Dragon’s Den judges’ responses to your invention?
The judges were eager, and happy to see the invention. Surprised and dumbfounded as well. O’ Leary had never been so chuffed. When I gave Jim Treliving a pair of thong panties that said “Boingy Boingy” on them, he told me that he can only wear them for an hour, then his butt crack eats through the string. I found that comment unreasonable and disgusting. They wanted numbers/profits, and I wasn’t there yet. If I was there, I wouldn’t be talking to them for money.
So what was it like being on reality TV? Were there protocols on the show that you seriously didn’t like?
The amount of makeup that the senior men wear on that show irks me. They cake it on to look younger and more beautiful, because they are quite ugly and aged.The show is good for exposure, that’s it. It is not at all an answer to your business problems. The more you need them, the more they destroy you.
I flicked thong underwear at Arlene and said: “Hey Arrrrrrrrrrrrrlene, here’s an eyepatch for you!” Well that set a good tone for me because they knew I wasn’t afraid of their giant bank accounts, and the stigma that comes with it. I wasn’t wearing makeup, and that set me apart. A budding entrepreneur needs to know how that show works, or they’ll look like a big baby.
What is the inspiration behind your unique drum set?
The idea came to me 11 years ago. After four years of thinking and failing prototypes, the Boingy Boingy came to life. Thanks to a ring of custom motorcycle builders, the drum kit was successfully welded in Medicine Hat. It was patented in Edmonton in 2004. It is designed for me to dance while I drum, with the movement coming from the core of my body. It is an aggressive aerobic workout. Giving a road musician an outlet for exercise while on a busy touring schedule is one of the great benefits of the drum kit. I use Camaro springs in the front, and Oldsmobile springs in the back.
So why have you chosen the rustic lifestyle? How has it contributed to the creation of your drums?
Living out back gives my mind the space needed to create. I was living in Medicine Hat when the Boingy was built 10 years ago. I needed to get back to the public to make a go of the drums. I have been focusing on my kids now for five years.
How did you feel about the Carpentry program?
I found it to be a great learning experience, with a strong and caring staff.
Any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
When you have an idea, and we all do, stick to it; blunder through all the obstacles until it comes to fruition. It may change form, so welcome that. It is the process of creation that is what engages my mind, not so much the outcome. In the case of the Boingy Boingy, it’s still going strong; it’s Youtube viral in Mexico right now.