VANCOUVER. February 24 2018. Wearing a mermaid tail, Hanna Waite swims in a 40 ft Modpool at the BC Home + Garden show.
The Abbotsford firm, which converts shipping containers into backyard pools, sold its 100th pool this month, a year after launching at the B.C. Home + Garden Show in Vancouver, said Paul Rathnam, who founded the company with his wife, Denise.
“Our viral exposure has turned us into an international company, which has been unexpected,” he said.
While setting up for this year’s show on Saturday, Rathnam said the company has grown to 30 employees from eight and has expanded its business beyond North America, now shipping by barge, ship and truck as far as Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Each Modpool, built in Abbotsford, is a custom order that takes about eight weeks to fill. For the standard size — eight feet wide by 20 feet long, and just over five feet deep — the price in Canada is $37,900, while a pool half that length goes for $18,500.
Rathnam said he’s struggling to make sense of the viral success; a video of the pools on Postmedia’s Facebook pages has had more than 11.5 million views since June, while the video posted to the Facebook page of the website Fatherly has had more than 43.8 million.
But he understands why customers are lining up his products, which come a lot cheaper than traditional pools going for $80,000 and up.
“They check a bunch of boxes, it seems,” Rathnam said. “It seems to be the fact that it’s self contained and it’s plug-and-play, which means that people don’t have to go through the extensive builds pools generally require.”
The pools also have a small footprint, removable divider wall for a hot-tub area and optional windows.
Sales for 2017 hit $4.5 million and Rathnam expects to more than double that this year. Meantime, Disney has been using Modpools to promote its new mermaid-drama series Siren and the company helped Nike launch a new shoe last year.
With files from Kevin Griffin
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