If you’re an entrepreneur like me, then you probably watch Shark Tank religiously as I do. You can’t wait until Friday night just to hear what Kevin or any other Shark may say to advise the inventor in front of them. You may also sit there and wonder “How can I get on this show” and get their help. This is exactly what I did when the show aired back in August of 2009. My husband Jared and I had just got married when I learned that Jared had invented this amazing product which I needed days before we met. I was a single 29 years old renting an apartment and I was hanging a decorative Ikea shelf and I literally butchered my wall. I put so many halls on the wall that when I moved out they wanted to charge me more than the deposit they already had. I was new to CA and didn’t have anyone to help me to fix that wall so I was upset to lose my deposit.
When Jared and I met and quickly moved in together, I was faced with a new wall and another new shelf needless to say it was another failed attempt and Jared then dusted off his prototype and hung the shelf for me straight the first time. A light bulb went off in my head and I knew I had to get this product into stores. To my surprise, Shark Tank aired the next day and I was glued to the Television set ( you heard me… Television Set, this was when the largest square TV sets were the popular thing to own). I made sure to watch and take notes on every episode.
I remember Kevin O’Leary hating Demo products, he would say “this is never going to sell” I don’t like demo products”. His thought was embedded in my brain. One day he asked an inventor with his loud voice if he had been to a Trade Show. I remember them going back and forth about some Trade Show and I quickly began my research and found the International Housewares Show in Chicago. I convinced Jared that we had to go to get experts and retail buyers opinions of the Hang-O-Matic. Jared had invented in early 2000 and it was now 2014 and we hadn’t done anything with it yet other than manufacturing the final version that was ready for retail. I thought this would be the show to meet people who would give an opinion on what we should do next.
This show changed our lives. This Trade Show has an inventors corner, this corner gets the most traffic and there’s a panel of experts each day. The inventor gets to go up and pitch their product to the expert to receive invaluable feedback. When we pitched to the panel there were two catalog buyers who ended up working with us. We met many retailers that we worked with and work with now such as The Container Store, Ace Hardware, Hobby Lobby, The Grommet, QVC, Groupon, and Walmart, plus HSN and more. This trade show brings in everyone around the world. Licensing companies and licensing experts, As Seen on TV Companies, Manufactures Reps, Sales Reps, Distributors, patent lawyers, Amazon buyers, Catalog Buyers, mom and pop shops and Media, local news, International news and national news and all of the above Internationally, plus packaging companies, engineers and factories. If you don’t know where to start, this is THE best starting place.
If you can’t get on Shark Tank then make sure to notes when you watch the show.