Today on AfterShark: Leslie Haywood, the lovely Grill Charmer
For our popular AfterShark series, we chat with breast cancer survivor Haywood on how she got her product to the Shark Tank and what was going through her mind during her bidding war.
We also caught up with Sawyer Sparks, a 22-year-old senior at Purdue University who came away with $300,000 for his unlikely crafts product. Click here for our Skype interview with Sparks.
So what did you miss on the show last night? Here's our take, after the jump.
The first person we met on the show was "Southern housewife" Leslie Haywood, who brought the suburbs into the Tank with her idea for the perfect grilling gadget. Cute as a button in her ladybug-dotted sundress, Haywood wanted $50,000 for 25% of Grill Charms, little tags that mark barbecue items so you don't lose track of different orders on the grill. "She could sell anything," marveled Barbara Corcoran, as Haywood revealed she has sold $60,000 worth in the past year and a half. She would have sold more, she said, "but I had a little run-in with breast cancer at the age of 34, and that slowed me up just a little bit."
Infomercial king Kevin Harrington reminded everyone that George Foreman has sold 100 million grills, leading Haywood to giggle and say, "I've got my eye on you." O'Leary tried getting away with 50% of her company and a 7% royalty, but Harrington, the object of her desire, said he'd give her money in exchange for his TV marketing expertise. After that, the other Sharks tried piling onto the deal like pigs on a charcoal fire, and began undercutting each others' expertise.
"You have four grown men romancing you, half because your product is great and half because you're so damn pretty," said Corcoran, who knows a thing or two about turning sexual patronization on its head. Nevertheless, she bowed out and let the boys fight. Robert Herjavec knocked a blow, too, telling Haywood he'd give her exactly what she wanted, allowing her to keep 75% of her company, if she went with him. Haywood called a halt to the bickering and took a moment to call her husband in the corridor.
In the end, she was a perfect Southern woman. She seduced them with vivacious charm, but never lost control of her wits. With a bright smile, she rebuffed Kevin O'Leary's offer ("I do like you, but I don't know if I can work with you," she beamed, Southern-style, rendering him momentarily speechless) and asked Harrington (now in the deal with Daymond John) to bring their percentage down. He wouldn't budge. Big mistake. "Harrington is going to dump you like a cold potato if the product doesn't sell," Herjavec warned her. She turned her back on her target, Harrington, and went with Herjavec. "I connected with him," she confessed after she had left. Meanwhile, Herjavec gloated.
* We caught up with fancy foods maker Susan Knapp, whose sales of A Perfect Pear products have skyrocketed since being on the show (and since appearing on AfterShark -- see our video interview with her here). She sold 1,600 units in one day on Home Shopping Network, and said her sales went from $8,000 to $80,000 a month because of the show thanks to Kevin Harrington's investment (and TV savvy).
* Besuited and serious-looking, Todd Robbins and David Adamovich pitched The Fun House, and they wanted $300,000 for a 20% stake. With numbers like that, their idea had better be magical. In fact, it was. They wanted to build a 25,000 square foot amusement center in Times Square based on magic, carnivals, and vaudeville. Robbins is a side show performer, and Adamovich revealed he's "Throwdini," the world's fastest and most accurate knife thrower. After he demonstrated on Robbins, Daymond John wanted a go, and even though he jokingly cried for his mommy while the blades landed around his body, he proved to the other Sharks just who had guts. That was the high point. Robbins prefaced his business plan answers with "It's very simple..." when, in fact, it was anything but. The pair's fantasy theme park would cost $1.5 million to build and $7.4 million a year to run. And do you remember the part about it being based on vaudeville? Vaudeville's dead -- and so was their concept. John had a burlesque-style punchline: "There's an old saying: The higher a monkey climbs a tree, the more you see his ass. I'm out."
* Two California hot moms, Dede Barbanti-Parri and Kathy Lamm, arrived to explain how they manage to look so supple and cougarish. They, and three friends, took to the oriental rug to demonstrate Boogie Box Fitness, a fitness hybrid of floor exercises and hip-hop dancing. For the second time in the night, the male Sharks sat erect for pretty ladies, but the sizzle began to fizzle when they said they wanted $750,000 -- and only for the DVD portion of their business. Tivo watchers could replay the sight of Kevin O'Leary glancing incredulously over at Kevin Harrington when they said that. Still, he got up on the rug with the women ("You are really built," he exclaimed when he touched them. "Whoa!") to test out their exercise method and do a few arm pumps with them. For a delightful moment, Mr. Wonderful looked a little like a bald Donkey Kong. Daymond John may be flubbing his deals lately, but he's in rare form with the zingers: When O'Leary joked that exercise like this made his figure like Adonis', John quipped, "You are definitely built like a god. Buddha, to be exact." (Hey, when did Shark Tank hire Bruce Vilanch to punch up the one-liners?) But with only $15,000 in sales, the women had a lot to prove. When they told the Sharks that one of their back-up Boogie Boxers had lost 100 pounds on the system, everyone was impressed. Still John, who has friends in the music industry who spend their lives trying to sell discs, didn't see the sales potential the ladies were claiming. He bailed. So did Herjavec. O'Leary, bless him, must have been worn out from all the exercise, because he offered a queer explanation for excusing himself: "I believe there's a crime called 'murdering money.' And if I gave you $700,000 and you killed it, then I would go into Money Hell." Harrington, too, said there wasn't enough of a brand to make the risk worth it. Ultimately, as with KALYX Technologies a few weeks ago, the passion of the businesswomen wasn't enough to overcome the anonymity of their product in the marketplace. "You asked for too much money," Corcoran said, but they didn't take her message of modest beginnings to heart, because the last we saw of the Boogie Box women, they were promising "world domination."
* Finally, we met Sawyer Sparks from Indiana, who attends Purdue University. He introduced his patented Soy-Yer Dough, a soy-based modeling clay for kids with celiac disease who can't play with traditional Play-Doh, which contains gluten. That seems like a minor little niche, right? Well, as it turns out, one in eight kids has an aversion to wheat and wheat products. Here was a guy who desperately needs the Sharks. He cooks the stuff in his kitchen with his mom and his girlfriend, 12 cans at a time, and the cash would set him on the road to proper manufacture. Sparks' ultimate goal, he told us in his intro, was to open a factory in his hometown of Bloomfield and create jobs. With such a model motive, how could he fail? Well, by asking for $125,000 for just 25% of the company, that's how. Numbers like that are often too rich for the Sharks' blood, but they were still sniffing around for his. Sparks baited them. Play-Doh, he said, sells 96 million cans of their stuff a year, and in just a few months, he had sold or taken orders for 19,000 with nearly no marketing. Play-Doh, it turned out, has tried to get his patent for $500,000, Sparks said, but he wants to build that factory for his neighbors, and if he could sell his rightful one-eighth of the market, or 12 million containers a year, that price would be peanuts.
"Thank goodness we've met," said O'Leary, a self-proclaimed master of licensing deals, and then he set in. He offered all the money Sparks wanted, but he wanted 51% "to take you out of the equation" -- and he wanted to sell the product to Play-Doh. Astonishingly, three Sharks (Corcoran, John, and Harrington) all agreed that O'Leary was the man for the job, and they took themselves out of the running. O'Leary continued to wave metaphoric dollars beneath Sparks' nose. "You'll find many ways to create jobs when you've got the capital to build businesses," he said. "This is in my blood, what you're doing here. There's no person better on earth to be in your shoes than me. Believe me. We need to be partners on this." Sparks tried to bring O'Leary down to 40%, but the Shark, fixated on keeping 51% for himself to maintain his negotiating power with a licensee, was consumed in a rare moment of intense earnestness. No Gordon Gecko "greed is good" aphorisms came out of his mouth. Only steadfast promises. He wanted this deal so badly, we could taste it: "If you tell me that one of the attributes is you have to create jobs, I'll get that for you." Herjavec, as he so often does, sucked O'Leary's hot air out of the room and offered exactly what Sparks wanted: $125,000 for 40%.
Then Sparks, all of 22, turned it around to make the Sharks defend themselves. "With your offer," he asked Herjavec, "what's your plan with this business? Then, to O'Leary: "If the 51% with you can't change, then give me a better money offer." Yes, this was a guy who had suffered for months making dough in his mother's kitchen and wasn't going to give up this dream that easily. Then something unusual happened: John came back in. He said he'd kick in money if Sparks agreed to let O'Leary negotiate with Play-Doh and keep 51%. Herjevec co-signed that and joined in. The threesome joined forces to offer $300,000, or $175,000 more than he'd asked for, as long as O'Leary could be in control of the company and the licensing negotiations. There was a pause, and Sparks almost seemed like he didn't register the enormity of what was on the table. Then, he cracked a grin: "We're going to make a lot of dough with this dough. Congratulations, guys."
For more video interviews, including with all the Sharks and many of the most memorable entrepreneurs -- both winners and losers -- head over to our AfterShark page at www.dailyfinance.com/after-shark-tank. And bookmark it, because whenever there's a new business owner from Shark Tank whom you're talking about at the water cooler, chances are they'll appear on WalletPop. And you can watch full episodes of Shark Tankat ABC, here.