Grease Monkey Wipes clean up, making $40,000 in the Shark Tank
Decked out in banana yellow bike shirts, close friends Erin Whalen and Tim Stansbury appealed for $40,000 for 40% of their Grease Monkey Wipes. It sounded like a product you thought existed before: a disposable cleaning sheet that can tackle grease and other stains that baby wipes can't handle. During a very effective and simple demonstration, the aroma of the key ingredient, orange citrus oil, filled the Shark Tank, but that couldn't keep the whiff of greed away for long.
Here's our follow-up interview with the branding whizzes, who snagged $40,000 for what was essentially a new kind of Wet-Nap:
How did the deal go down?
Kevin O'Leary through their idea could be easily stolen, since it wasn't patented. That, ultimately, was what took him out of the deal. Daymond John, too, known as a clothing man, said it wasn't "for me."
"It's the best logo I've ever seen," said Robert Herjavec, who knows about good looks. He was taken with how tight Whalen and Stansbury's branding was.
Sales, though, were less blockbuster, with a little over $7,000 sold in $1 wipe packs. Not a bad showing, but not the kind of numbers that usually whip the Sharks into a frenzy.
Watching the presentation (which was so smooth Barbara Corcoran correctly proclaimed it "buttoned-up"), the Sharks instantly pegged Stansbury for an MBA, and he confessed to a background in product development and marketing. "He's the real deal," Herjavec proclaimed said -- twice.
I pegged the product as low-hanging fruit for infomercial king Kevin Harrington. After all, his compatriot Billy Mays built an empire off a similar orange-scented miracle cleaner. Yet after remaining silent for the whole proceedings, he bailed, too, lamely excusing himself by saying it wasn't unique enough. Maybe he was averse to copying Mays.
Indeed, it's hard to convince a Shark, who spends all day writing checks and signing pink slips, that what the world needs is a de-greaser. "I don't think I've ever gotten my hands dirty, and that's in the way of me warming up to this thing," said Corcoran, who went out.
With four Sharks gone, Herjavec was wavering. The idea just wasn't sexy enough for him. "Erin. One sentence: Why should I give you the money?"
Her cheery answer, essentially, was that it was going to be fantastic, and that there she would stop at nothing less than putting a Grease Monkey Wipes sachet in every glove compartment in America. "We will. Not. Let you down," she vowed.
And, my favorite line of the night: "We want to create a global wipe empire!"
Herjavec, swayed by their clear and competent vision, took the bait and agreed, without even insisting on taking control of the company as a requirement. But as he rose to shake his new partners' hands, Corcoran, seduced by Whalen's verve ("I love this girl so much!"), wanted back in.
On the spot, she asked Herjavec to split his investment 50-50 with her, meaning they both give $20,000. He went for it with nearly no hesitation. In the end, both Sharks were true to their particular business angles: it was Stansbury's business wit that scored Herjavec, and Whalen's enthusiasm that won Corcoran.
Hours before this episode aired, Herjavec had a confession to make via Twitter: "I think this is the episode where I make a decision more with my heart than my cold, hard business mind," he wrote. After it finished on the East Coast, he was a bit more complimentary, writing: "great team - not arrogant - but no shrinking wallflowers - they posessed [sic] a rare quality I like to call ' humble arrogance '" Whoa there, Robert! Are you turning into another Barbara, going with your gut rather than with your checkbook?
Find out what else happened on the show by reading the rest of our blunt synopsis of the episode, and catch up with another hot AfterShark update from another would-be tycoon from the show, 19-year-old Nate Berkopec of The Factionist, who bungled his product pitch but still landed a job with Barbara Corocran. You should also watch more follow-ups with the entrepreneurs and Sharks on our exclusive AfterShark video series: You might learn something!