Shark Tank Ends Season 8 By Saying 'Yes' To The Dress
Another season of Shark Tank concludes as so many episodes before it -- with a product that makes it easier for you to go potty.
Well, we've had some highs and lows in Season 8 of Shark Tank, haven't we, gang? Chris Sacca kept showing up. Only now, he's not going to any more. Kevin O'Leary was angling to be Canada's next prime minister, but now that's not happening either. Oh, and some folks with some products got some money from some Sharks to make their business dreams come true. Or so I've heard. I don't watch that closely.
And just to close the loop on a loose end from this season of Shark Tank: the other day, I found myself at Carl's Jr., where I sampled the burger that is now adorned with the boneless pork produced by Bubba's Boneless Ribs, which we learned about just a few episodes ago. The verdict? This is not a very good showcase for Bubba's Boneless Ribs or food or mankind's ingenuity. It is a dry, sloppy, taste-free burger that made me -- a confirmed carnivore -- wonder if maybe tofu hadn't gotten a bad rap all these years. I just hope Daymond John and Al "Bubba" Baker got their money upfront.
I did enjoy the pickle, for what it's worth.
But what about the here and now, the products appearing on tonight's final episode of Season 8? Which ones scaled the highest heights of this season, and which ones plumbed the Sacca-ish depths of the year that was? Let's count them down from the pitches that wasted everybody's time to the ones that actually sounded like the most sensible investments.
4. Laid Brands
Adam Rauch and Derek Shaw have figured out a way to get pheromones into hair care products, which is...good for them, I guess. I mean, we all need hobbies, and this one sounds more rewarding than, say, golf.
But before you can say, "So, it's Axe Body Spray, but for your hair," would it blow your mind if I told you that Laid Brands is actually for women? Now, who's been making dumb assumptions? Not me, the guy who compared it to Axe Body Spray, I can assure you.
Robert Herjavec wants to know if Adam and Derek see any potential problems with the product's name, what on account of it suggesting that maybe the people who use it might not necessarily be discriminating when it comes to romantic assignations. Adam and Derek do not see this as a problem at all, talking quite enthusiastically about Laid Brand girls. This is, perhaps, your first indicator that they are not going to get their hands on that $30,000 they're asking for.
The other problem with the pitch, which the Sharks are all too happy to outline, is that there's nothing particularly proprietary about dousing your product with pheromones and calling it a day. Also, the hair care business happens to be an extremely competitive one, notes Kevin O'Leary -- perhaps ironically, given the dormant state of his coiffure -- but that doesn't make him any less right. "I feel like I'm a walking sex goddess," Barbara Corcoran says, as she begins to tell the boys that she's not interested in investing in them, and yeah, that's enough for this segment, thanks.
Joe LeMay and Jake Epstein are a couple of future-men who've traveled back in time to show us what a high-tech notebook looks like. Behold, the RocketBook, which is an ordinary notebook in which you scribble down your deep thoughts or doodles or enemies list. Then you mark one of the boxes on the bottom of the page, and your notes are spirited off to a cloud service like Google Docs or email or what have you. You do have to scan the notebook page using your smartphone, though, which seems to take some of the "Gee Whiz" factor out of things.
Oh, did someone demand a Gee Whiz component? Well, what if I told you, you could re-use the RocketBook? And all you'd have to do is stick the notebook into a microwave oven, put a mug of water on top of it, and then zap the notebook until your precious notes were vaporized. What would you say then?
"That sounds a little bit too involved" is what you would say if you were a Shark. And you would be right.
All of the Sharks start dropping out, with Kevin particularly offended that Joe and Jake are selling a $27 notebook that makes buying a replacement notebook a moot point. Not even Mark Cuban can keep a straight face during the Q-and-A session, and Joe and Jake depart without a deal.
2. Wine & Design
If you've ever thought that the only thing standing between you and creating Guernica was a couple of belts of tempranillo, then you will surely embrace Wine & Design, which bills itself as an art class with a liberal attitude toward beverage service. The idea is that you and your friends show up for an evening of learning to paint and enjoying a few glases of wine. The reality probably involves more wine than watercolors.
To illustrate how the Wine & Design experience is particularly well-suited for bachelorette parties, owners Harriet and Patrick Mills bring in a male model who removes his robe and, save for a strategically placed pineapple, poses in the altogether. It is safe to say that Lori Greiner and Barbara are quite enjoying this demonstration; it is equally safe to say that, based on his body language, Mark Cuban would rather be anywhere else on earth. The Sharks are commanded to paint what they see, and Kevin manages to sketch a very compelling portrait of an angry Pac-Man, for what it's worth.
We can scoff at the Sharks' visible discomfort with male nudity, but one thing we cannot laugh at are the revenues that Wine & Design take in. The store that the Mills operate brought in $250,000 in sales in the first nine months, before they started adding franchises at a $25,000-per-franchise clip. There are now 74 Wine & Design locations in 14 states, and the Mills are pocketing a 6% royalty off gross revenue. That's good, though it's not $500,000-for-10%-of-the-business good.
The problem with that valuation, Kevin notes, is that it would take nearly seventeen years for an investor to make back his money. The valuation and growth challenges are enough to chase Barbara, Lori, and Mark out of the bidding, though visible penises might have made Mark head toward the exit as well. Kevin wants in, though, offering $150,000 for 10% equity, and loaning the remaining $350,000 the Mills want at 12% interest. Robert, meanwhile, just wants the equity -- specifically 33% of it in exchange for his $500,000.
And so it's a question of how much equity Harriet and Patrick want to give up. The answer, as it turns out, is not as much as Robert is demanding. They take Kevin's deal, though really, I think we all agree that his Portrait of an Angry Pac-Man was probably the closer.
1. Bridal Buddy
It has been a good long while since we had a product on this show that involved helping you pee better, so here's Heather Stenlake to break that streak. Heather's product is actually quite ingenious: it's a sheer lightweight slip that you wear underneath a wedding gown so that a bride can bag up her dress when she needs to sit on a toilet without a gaggle of bridesmaids having to attend to her like a NASCAR pit crew.
Heather's even managed to rack up some relatively impressive sales over the past year and change -- $195,000, which may not sound like much until you consider that the slips cost $29.95. The big challenge for Heather is landing her slip in a big bridal chain, though they've all been unwilling to give her garment much play since no one, outside of fetishists and certain heads of state (ALLEGEDLY!) like to think about brides peeing.
After Mark and Robert drop out -- Mark because he has no interest in the bridal market, Robert because of the aforementioned issus with getting a retail association -- Marissa, the saleslady who demoed the slip, gives the remaining Sharks a stern talking-to about how they'd better back Heather. That gives Lori and Kevin an idea: they'll put up the $75,000 that Heather's asking for, with the two of them splitting half the business. They also want Marissa to get 25% equity, too -- a deal that makes everyone uncomfortable, since it essentially slices Heather's stake in her own business down to 25 percent. Also, did anyone ask Marissa how she felt about this before Lori and Kevin dragged her into it?
After Barbara comes up with a $75,000 for 33% offer, Lori realizes she made a terrible mistake listening to that boob Kevin. Instead, they'll rearrange the deal so that they each get 20%, leaving Heather with 60% of the business to do with as she pleases. Heather wonders if they might drop that total percentage down to 30%, and while Barbara pipes up that she's willing to take that offer, Kevin and Lori jump at it. After a pregnant pause long enough for a whole slew of brides to make it to the bathroom and back, Heather chooses Kevin and Lori. And they lived happily ever after, as Shark Tank goes on an extended bathroom break until next fall.