Ask many entrepreneurs how their appearances on ABC’s Shark Tank went and, unless they got a deal, you’ll hear the same story: “Sales were okay, but man, the buzz!”
Such was the case for Denver, Colo.-based The Bear & The Rat: Cool Treats for Dogs. Owners Meg and Matt Meyer appeared on the show in October 2012, pitching their frozen yogurt found in Colorado Whole Foods Markets and dog boutiques.
The couple was approached by producers who convinced them to apply. While the duo didn’t land a deal or many immediate sales after the episode aired, the publicity propelled them into 100 King Soopers grocery stores.
Or take Eco Nuts, founded by Mona Weiss and Scott Shields, who won a 2012 NEXTY (awarded by New Hope Natural Media) for their eco-friendly soap nuts laundry product. The duo applied for each season of the show before getting the call.
After their show aired in October 2012, Eco Nuts, which also didn’t get a deal, climbed to #3 most sold for household products on Amazon.com through their resellers. The show has also opened doors for large sites such as Soap.com and Vine.com, said Weiss. Read Weiss’ full take on the antics of Eco Nuts’ episode.
On the show, investors Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful), Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec and Daymond John field pitches and cast their offers to budding entrepreneurs. But because the show isn’t focused on one industry, and because the investors all have a variety of backgrounds and expertise, a deal doesn’t always get done.
Now that the dust has settled on their Shark Tank appearances, Eco Nuts and The Bear & The Rat are speaking out about their TV appearances with advice for other natural companies eyeing the show.
Is the show advantageous for natural companies?
For EcoNuts and The Bear & The Rat, consumer education is key. For that, Shark Tank has done wonders. “The big challenge we have with Eco Nuts is to educate people on a simple product. It’s a simple idea that needs a lot of explanation,” said Weiss. Whether we did or didn’t get a deal, “we knew this was going to be a win-win for us because it meant we could get the word out there about our product.”
“For the natural industry, for any industry for that matter, it’s good exposure,” said Matt of The Bear & The Rat, adding that although they didn’t get a deal, “the sharks reiterated the fact that what we are doing is right and that we should believe in our company.”
Being on the show gives the Meyers credibility with retailers that may otherwise have been skeptical of their pet product. “It’s always going to be a door opener for retailers,” said Meg.