Lovebird Pulls at Heartstrings of Dragons

Birds of all feathers flocked to Hallmark Cards in the Mayfair Shopping Centre last night to toss shredded paper and cheer as the latest CBC’s Dragons’ Den success story made her debut.

Victoria’s own Mary McQueen and her yellow lovebird Luigi won the hearts of the dragons with McQueen’s company Hand and Beak, which makes “free range, interspecies greeting cards,” that were just introduced as a new line of cards available in Hallmark stores.

McQueen and Luigi were on the seventh season of the popular CBC show last night, seeking a $10,000 investment in exchange for 25 per cent of the company. McQueen got her wish, brokering a deal with David Chilton, the newest dragon in the den.

Chilton, a former stockbroker, is the author of the best-selling personal finance book The Wealthy Barber. He said McQueen was “one of my favourite segments of the entire year.”

“Mary’s fantastic,” Chilton said, noting all five dragons liked McQueen, which is significant because Kevin O’Leary “rarely likes anyone.”

In what was literally a show-stopping moment during the taping of Dragon’s Den, Luigi the lovebird fled to the studio rafters and a ladder had to be fetched to capture the shy star.

McQueen said being on the show was the “most fun I ever had in my life,” and that she couldn’t believe she wasn’t nervous. “Six months ago I was sitting in my apartment wondering how to sell more cards.”

McQueen began creating her cards because of her lovebird Luigi. When he was about a year old, he started shredding everything that came through the door, including bills, money, and library books. McQueen fell in love with the whimsical bird-bitten edges of the paper and sought to create something equally whimsical and charming. She formed the paper scraps, using their textured edges, into collages of things that inspired her, like Luigi. Now they are photographed and printed onto cards that are on Hallmark shelves.