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

Discovery Island wolf continues to thrive

The wolf, known as ‘Takaya’, has lived on the island for seven years

Early indications say allergy season could be milder this spring

The Aerobiology Lab collects pollen samples from across Canada to help make predictions

EDITORIAL: Housing is one of our basic needs

We all need food, clothing and shelter first

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Victoria HarbourCats give away funeral to lucky fan

Just in case you die of excitment, all the bases are covered

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

Kevin Gourlay’s horse garners attention for being ‘parked’ outside a liquor store

Man charged after knife waved at 7-Eleven store clerk

Port Alberni’s Jared Dallen Stein charged after consecutive robberies

Assault charge against Curtis Sagmoen dropped

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher premiums, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

Trans woman hopes funding cut will send message to B.C. rape crisis group

Rape Relief does not turn transgender women away and often connects them to other services, group says

UPDATED: Missing Victoria man found dead in Port Renfrew

Police continuing investigation, death not considered suspicious

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

Bob Marley said it best: The sun is shining and the weather is sweet

Most Read