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

Off the grid in Sooke

Sooke resident, Hum, lives life of fulfillment without modern amenities

Victoria-area orthotist giving dogs a new leash on life

Since he started 10 months ago, Tim Witoski has supplied orthotics for some 25 dogs

Comox opts for ‘blank sheet’ pot sale prohibition bylaw

Comox council calls unanimously approved bylaw a starting point, not a ban

Man struck and killed on the Pat Bay Highway

Pedestrian struck while crossing near Mount Newton X Rd in Central Saanich

UPDATE: Greater Victoria’s living wage would afford you one latte per year

Victoria among the highest living wages in BC, number also climbing in Comox Valley

Canadian musician duets with ancestral Indigenous voices on debut album

Toronto’s Jeremy Dutcher has mixed his operatic tenor with his Wolastoq First Nation roots

COLUMN: Stanley Cup playoff second-round predictions

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins continue their quest for their third straight Stanley Cup

B.C. seeks court ruling on new pipeline regulations

Province wants to require permits for any new bitumen transport

Former child watchdog to head UBC centre on residential schools

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to lead university’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

Toronto sports fans come together in wake of van attack

Police probe Toronto van attack as details emerge

Prince William to be Harry’s best man

Prince William will be Prince Harry’s best man at May wedding

Humboldt arena memorial ring to be removed

Arena ring of tribute to Saskatchewan hockey team to be removed as summer nears

Our Island: Helliwell Park

VI Free Daily photographer John McKinley captured this image of the sun… Continue reading

Most Read