Jennifer LeBrun is creator, owner and producer of ULAT Dryer Balls which is now based out of her home in Parksville. LeBrun first created the dryer balls in 2011 as a Christmas gift. — Lauren Collins photo

Dryer balls started as Christmas gifts, now ship worldwide

Parksville-based ULAT Dryer Balls included in Small Business B.C. top 10 list

Six years ago, Jennifer LeBrun first created dryer balls as Christmas gifts for family.

Now LeBrun ships those dryer balls worldwide through her Parksville-based company, ULAT Dryer Balls.

LeBrun said she and her husband Koichi had to cut costs one Christmas.

“We couldn’t afford to give Christmas gifts and I have a background in fibres,” LeBrun said.

“I knew about wool and I had wool remnants. I thought, ‘Well, we have to use what we have at home for our Christmas gifts,’ so I just was playing and putting things together, brainstorming, and thought, ‘Well, a dryer ball, let’s give this a go.”

Dryer balls are meant to be a natural replacement for dryer sheets.

LeBrun said after creating the initial dryer ball, she and her husband put it in the dryer with a load. But the dryer shut off soon after.

“Then we thought, ‘We’ve now got to buy a new dryer. It’s broken,” LeBrun said.

But, they pulled out the clothes and they were all dry.

“This is bizarre, this is great. It’s working,” she said. “I was like, I think we have something here. I’m that kind of person, and my husband was like ‘Here we go.’ That’s OK. I’m an optimist and willing to try things.”

From there, LeBrun said, she called her lawyer to make sure they weren’t impeding on someone else’s invention before finally applying for a patent.

Just this week, LeBrun received the patent for ULAT Dryer Balls.

ULAT Dryer Balls, LeBrun said are made with 100 per cent Canadian wool. She said in the beginning, she used purely merino wool.

“As we were growing, I didn’t think it would be fair to purchase the merino. What’s going to happen to everybody else? That’s not fair. That would be selfish.”

Now the Alberta-based mill ULAT Dryer Balls buys wool from creates a blend of premium Canadian wools that meet LeBrun’s expectations for the product.

LeBrun, who used to live in Vancouver with her family, moved to Parksville in November 2016.

Now, LeBrun said, they run the entire business out of their home. Which hasn’t changed the business too much, but has slowed down the process, she added.

LeBrun said ULAT Dryer Balls hires work-at-home moms to help make the dryer balls, and in Vancouver, they would also hire retirees.

However since moving to the Island, LeBrun said, ULAT Dryer Balls only has about three work-at-home moms to help.

“Our buyers have been really patient, and customers have been really patient too.”

But none of that has stopped ULAT Dryer Balls from being recognized by Small Business BC.

ULAT Dryer Balls has made Small Business BC’s Top 10 list for the People’s Choice award.

But LeBrun will have to wait another two months to find out the results as the awards ceremony isn’t until Feb. 23, 2018.

LeBrun said looking back at when she first created the dryer balls, she didn’t think it would grow to be this big.

“It’s been outstanding, nothing that I thought could be possible,” LeBrun said. “People thought we were crazy, they were like ‘Patent? Whatever.’”

For more info on ULAT Dryer Balls, visit www.ulat.ca.

Just Posted

Goldie goes for gold in roller derby world cup

Duncan roller derby star making impact on world stage

Parksville resident builds bike to glide along railroad

ICF says rail use not permitted on active railroad

Games opening ceremonies promise to be magical

The Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games will kick-off on Thursday, July 19… Continue reading

‘Love Bite’ brings vital message for dog owners

Thetis Island woman recounts life-changing ordeal

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Firefighters put out brush fire in Nanaimo

Fire broke out in the area of a new development under construction in East Wellington

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Motorcyclist dies as fire, crash happen at the same time on Nanaimo Parkway

Young male motorcycle rider collides with one vehicle, then struck by another

Victoria Police issue a public warning after a man was injured by a hidden syringe

Used syringes in discrete locations have caused injuries over the past year in Greater Victoria

Hiker rescued by helicopter after receiving burns in ‘cooking incident’

Campbell River Search and Rescue has been busy of late…

Most Read