Who is running this float show anyway? Did you know that Float-Eh is run by just two people? Hi, we are Daniel and Kate Spray and we are the owners and operators of Float-Eh.
We haven’t had the chance to introduce ourselves formally to many of you. The last couple of years have been very busy for us navigating a pandemic, working from home with our kids kicking around, having our third child, relocating our business and family to a new part of Ontario, expanding our product line... Getting our blog up and running has been on the to-do list and we are super excited that we are finally able to pull the trigger on this. We are not trained bloggers, so bare with us, but we do hope to deliver some information about our brand, products, investigate topics that would interest our audience as well as give you a little window into the family behind Float-Eh. We thought a good place to start would be a formal introduction of who we are and how Float-Eh came to be. Although we have met and chatted with some of our subscribers at various events and tradeshows, we have a number of followers that do not know us or our story. So here we are, a married couple that met in Toronto, then left the city to head to Oakville after having our first child (which is also where we started Float-Eh) and then moved again up to Barrie, where we purchased our first home in Midhurst, Ontario and also relocated our business.
That picture above is Daniel and I working at our first trade show back in 2018 in Mississauga, Ontario.
The idea of Float-Eh started back in 2017. A group of us were sitting around Daniel’s parents cottage lakefront, in Parry Sound, Ontario. We were discussing how much Daniel’s father (Steve) hated the giant white inflatable swan that had recently been purchased from a local store. To him it was an eyesore that was now floating amidst its serene surroundings. We jokingly started discussing that someone needs to be making floats that “fit in” up North. The popular floaties to choose from at that time consisted of unicorns, flamingos and lamas. All which are very fun and cute, but they do not really fit in with the Northern vibes of Canada and the Upper United States.
Daniel left that weekend with floats on his mind and he couldn’t shake the feeling that this idea was something worth investigating. And, that is just what he did. Daniel sought out to find manufacturers and started gathering information, pricing and samples. As the idea started to evolve, we discussed the fact that we do not want to be just another inflatable company. We wanted to be a company that stood for what our brand represented, the North, strong, beautiful and trustworthy. We didn’t want to be a “good for one float” type of company. We want our products to be made to last and we also want our products to be accessible across Canada. So we increased the thickness of our floats by 30-40% from typical floaties on the market. This of course was going to cost more, but we felt it was important to deliver a high quality product. We also wanted to make sure that we could offer free shipping nationwide. Not only for our inflatables, but for our water mats as well. Transporting these water mats from a store to your home isn’t always realistic for people and we agreed that nothing was worse when shopping online than being dinged with big shipping fees at checkout. As avid online shoppers, we felt shipping fees were often an excuse to abandon a cart and we didn’t want to give people that out.
Once we had gathered info and solidified a manufacturer we started working on the designs. We knew right away that we needed a loon, a beaver and a maple leaf in addition to selling water mats. The beaver and the maple leaf were pretty straightforward and we were happy with the designs pretty quickly. But, the loon was more difficult. It was important that our float designs be accurate or be a cute spin on an iconic animal/symbol. We were having trouble getting the loon to where we needed it to be. Check out one of the original loon sample we had made. It resembled one of those pecking bird toys.
Needless to say we went back to the drawing board and revised our bird. After a lot of back and forth, we finally had our loon design and we are quite happy with the final result (picture below). The picture below is our now eldest son when he was around 18 months old visiting us at our first tradeshow.
We take a lot of time and put a lot of pride into our designs and we have continued to do so over the years with each and every inflatable we have added to our lineup. So here we are still hustling, learning, adapting and exhausting ourselves with an idea that was born in the North and turned into a brand made for the North.