Yes, That Was The Bear & The Rat On ABC’s Shark Tank
One of the things that my husband Matt & I get asked about most is our experience pitching our company, The Bear & The Rat on ABC’s hit series, Shark Tank. This is the first post I’m going to write about that experience! If you don’t want to miss a post on the series, make sure to follow our company page on LinkedIn.
Here’s our behind-the-scenes peek at what the experience was really like!
We were encouraged to apply to the show when a casting producer stumbled upon our product online. He knew that we’d make good TV. I mean, we produce ice cream for dogs. How could we not make good TV?!
BBut we talked to several people and did a lot of thinking on it. My dad said, “It’s like you’ve been handed a golden ticket and you’re just throwing it away.” And that’s what convinced us to go for it.
So we filled out the very long application, did an audition tape and were approved to come out to Los Angeles. In two weeks. Wait, what?! Two weeks! I was 3 months pregnant and we were both working full-time jobs, so there was a lot to juggle in order to get out there. Not to mention figuring out how we were going to get our Lhasa Apso (The Bear) and Rat Terrier (The Rat) to California. We didn’t want to fly them because it’s not good for older dogs, so on top of everything else, we decided to road-trip it!
Matt & I talked to some advisors about our valuation and presentation. We practiced our pitch. It was all very intimidating and consumed our lives for those two weeks. But we felt like going on the show would be an amazing opportunity that could change our lives, so we kept on keeping on.
It was a stressful car ride. We stopped in Las Vegas with The Bear & The Rat, which was kind of fun. We ordered room service for them. Roasted chicken. The Bear went nuts. And walked them through the casino proudly. But we were still practicing our pitch and thinking about what would happen.
When we got to Los Angeles, there were a bunch of companies there. We all were to produce a roomful of producers who had the shark’s taped onto their chairs in an effort to make it seem like we were pitching the real people. There was a big speech about how even though you were there to pitch, you may not get the opportunity because there were more people there than there was time to present. No pressure or anything.
We got sent to a dressing room that was marked, “The Bear” and waited for them to come and get us. Note: everything was super secretive. Company names weren’t written in full in case the sharks walked by. The producers didn’t want them to know the companies that were presenting beforehand.
When we pitched the pretend-Sharks, our dogs went nuts. They were running around, wreaking chaos on the place, which of course the pretend-Sharks loved. I think that that was the thing that got us on the show: our bear and our rat, because by their very nature, they were unpredictable and that could mean great, entertaining television. Who doesn’t love a dog running around on TV, being cute?
We didn’t know that we were selected to present to the sharks until well after dinner that night. I think we got a call around 9p or so. We were told to be camera ready (in hair and makeup) by 730a.
The next morning, we were camera ready at 730a. There was even someone assigned to do our hair and makeup in their own trailer. Very movie studio-like. We were on the lot of Sony Pictures, after all. And we were sent back to our dressing room to wait.
We were nervous. We paced a lot. And practiced. And I made sure that lipstick wasn’t on my teeth and tried not to sweat. Matt walked the dogs a lot although he couldn’t go without a production assistant. We had a PA who was to go with us wherever we went. Noon came and went. Around 1p, they came and told us we were going to go on after lunch. We ate chicken and salmon and little blue gummy sharks and then went backstage to wait some more.
And then we went on. It was a crazy half hour or so that we presented. There was a lot of interest in our product after they realized that we didn’t invent the category. That Purina’s Frosty Paws makes a conventional product that’s been doing $20 million+ annually for over 20 years. But they didn’t show that. They showed Robert stalking our dog and ultimately dropping him and a bunch of cute shenanigans, which was fine.
After we presented, we were shuttled to a new hotel (new people pitching the sharks were not to fraternize with people who had actually pitched the sharks). We were absolutely wiped out and had mixed feelings about the whole thing. The next morning, we packed up our car and went back to Denver, driving through gorgeous Utah on the way home.
SO WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE SHOW? DID YOU WIN?
First of all, we are still in business. So yes! We won. We brought on an amazing partner. We had $30k in sales when we were on the show. We’re projected to hit $1 million in 2016 and we are sold nationally to independent dog retailers. That’s quite an achievement for a company who has JUST STARTED to get online with our product. We don’t sell our frozen yogurt online because it’s extremely expensive to ship. But we have just launched a freeze-dried yogurt for dogs. It’s shelf stable so it can ship and it’s got millions of live & active probiotic cultures, so that’s really exciting. You can purchase it on Amazon or Wag.com! If you purchase it, you have to promise to give us a review. We’re so new that we have very few reviews!
We are loving every minutes of this wild ride. CNBC airs Shark Tank episodes on Tuesday nights via their Shark Tank Tuesdays lineup, so our episode still gets a lot of national exposure, which drives our retail & online sales so that’s very exciting. And since we were on Shark Tank, we’ve welcomed two human boys to our family, so life does not slow down for us. But we kind of like it like that. Keep in touch on our Facebook or Instagram pages!