Shark Tank Update - 2 Years Later

Shark Tank Update - 2 Years Later

Wow! It has been 2 years since Shark Tank Season 11 Episode 1114 aired on ABC in May 2020 (... yes, one good thing that happened that year!) It many ways it feels like yesterday, but it also feels like another lifetime. We filmed in Los Angeles in 2019, before any of us knew what Covid was (remember that?) My daughter had not yet turned 4, and now she's a 6 yr old Kindergartener who blushes coyly when her mom's or grandma's friends mention her appearance on Shark Tank. She knows now what she did not know two years ago when she sweetly shouted "Hi Sharks!". That is: being on Shark Tank is a really. big. deal.

It also feels like yesterday because we are STILL feeling the impact of Shark Tank on our business. We reached millions of people that night with our problem-solving invention, and thousands who we are now proud to call our customers. Our episode has re-aired nearly a dozen times on ABC and CNBC, and with each re-airing, we reach thousands more people who need UnbuckleMe, and tell us how much better things are now that they use our product! We are endlessly grateful for our customers, especially because we know they are out there in their neighborhoods and schools telling their friends and family about UnbuckleMe, and we honestly believe that's how we keep growing.

We thought it would be fun to give an update on where we are as a business today, and what the show has meant to us. I was also nudged by Kurt Elster on our recent podcast to share a Shark Tank update on our blog, so here we go.

Some of you may know that we did not end up closing our on-air deal with Mark & Lori. We discussed a lot of topics during due diligence about business strategy, QVC, licensing, patent enforcement, product line expansion, etc. and ultimately, it was decided that an equity partnership was not in everyone's best interest. It was a very stressful time for my mom and me, as we were really committed to closing that deal. But the hindsight of two years time has showed us that things really do happen for a reason. We are better off today continuing to own 100% of our business, and getting to make all the decisions without any outside input. Lori and Mark and their teams were hugely supportive of our business, and we are grateful to know them and stay in touch.

As Kevin O'Leary might say, let's get to the numbers. When we recorded our episode in Q3 of 2019, our lifetime sales were about $400K. Today, two years later, our lifetime sales have surpassed $3M. We are so proud and grateful for our success, recognizing that entrepreneurship is a blender of skill, hard work and luck, and we are no exception. We share these numbers to inspire others, especially those with small ideas. It's crazy how big the world is, and how many new customers you can find every single day.

With a $15 product, volume is key. We were told this from the beginning, and we're living proof that it's true. It took us a few years to explore where we could achieve scale. Today, we do most of our sales through Amazon. It's not always an easy working relationship, but Amazon has an incredibly solid customer base who are keyword searching for new things to buy. Customers can bundle shipping to make it more economical than paying to ship our 4 oz item by itself, so we've leaned into the competitive advantages that Amazon offers to small businesses like us. We have an amazing account manager who advocates for us, we have patent enforcement mechanisms and advertising strategies. I tell all new product based businesses today, especially low price-point products, don't underestimate Amazon. We are in the process of expanding globally with Amazon.

Last year we sold more than 35,000 units to Walmart for stores across the US, and that relationship materialized after Shark Tank aired. We sell to Target, buybuyBABY and Bed Bath & Beyond, and we love these partnerships. We also work with smaller retailers across the US, including gift shops, car seat safety programs, etc. 

So what's next? Well, we are working on a new product. We can't share details yet, but we are hoping to launch by Q3 2022. It's related to cars, family and kids, but a very different type of product from UnbuckleMe. We've been working really hard and we think you'll love it. We added many other products to our website last year made by our fellow entrepreneurs and friends we've met along this journey, and our customers have loved seeing some new solutions to make life easier in the car with kids. 

We are contacted weekly by opportunistic investors looking to buy our company, but we aren't ready to sell our business yet. We're still growing week to week, month to month, so we've decided to keep running this race a while longer. BuzzFeed is still adding us to their lists, and TikToks are still generating 8M+ views, and most importantly, we're still learning new things and having fun.

Thank you for following us, and if you have your own idea for a new product or business, we are always happy to connect and hear what you're up to, and how we can help. 

Stay safe, and thank you again!

Becca & Barb

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