Beyond the Tank episode 202 aired Thursday, January 7, 2016. In the second episode of the “second season” of the hit show, four past Shark Tank companies get an in-depth, 12 minute update segment on what their life is like after Shark Tank and viewers get to see them interacting with their investor/sharks. Beyond the Tank episode 202 features a look at Daymond John and 180 Cup, the disposable cup/shot glass he invested in in season 5. We also get an update on Biaggi, the luggage company Lori invested in during season 6. Also featured is Pet Paint, a business that didn't do a deal in season 5. Simple Sugars, the face scrub business that Mark Cuban invested in during season four, rounds out this episode.
Each Episode of Beyond the Tank has these “back stories.” We'll recap them here.
Beyond the Tank Episode 202 Recap
Lani Lazzari came to the Shark Tank in Season 4. She invented Simple Sugars when she was 11, and entered the Tank when she was 18, looking for not only a capital investment to repay her mother, who had financed the business on her credit cards, but a business mentor.
She walked out of the Tank with a $100,000 deal and Mark Cuban as a business mentor.
Since appearing on Shark Tank, Simple Sugars has grown from $120,000 in sales and 2 employees to a company selling over $4 million and growing, and 22 employees. Simple Sugars has been successful because they’ve managed to keep their overhead very low. With the explosive growth, they’ve had to move into a larger facility. “We now pay more in one month in rent, than we did in an entire year last year," says Lani. She’s concerned about the increase in overhead, but felt the move was necessary to grow the business.
Lani’s next move will be to develop and re-brand her Smooth for Men line. “The men’s natural personal care market right now, is the fastest growing segment of that market, so that’s something that’s really important for us to capitalize on… Right now, the men’s line is making up less than 10% of our online sales. I want to grow that to 25%."
Lani’s mom, Gina, has gone from an early investor to Vice President of the company. She’s been working on rebranding Smooth for Men. Lani and Gina plan to ask Mark’s advice on expanding the Smooth for Men line and growing sales.
“We’re not content being a $3 or $5 million company," says Lani. “We want to be a $30 million company."
Mark isn’t concerned about the increased overhead in the new space.
“Every entrepreneur as you grow, you get worried about spending more money. Especially as you move into a new space, because you move out of your comfort zone. It’s expensive, but it really is a platform for her to grow."
Lani presents Smooth for Men to Mark, explaining that they have a unique niche in the men’s skin care market. Most competitor’s products are multi-step, while Smooth for Men is a one-step product.
Mark wants to know how much Lani’s spending on rebranding and launching the Smooth for Men line. She’s sinking “about $15,000" into marketing.
“The reason I ask," says Mark, “Is, you always want to make sure of the risk/reward. They call that optionality." Mark likes her vision for the line, but he has more to talk about.
“That’s a great starting point on Smooth for Men, but what concerns me is that we’re not growing fast enough, because what you don’t have is somebody that’s smarter than you and Gina."
Mark wants them to hire someone who can fulfill the role of mentor when he’s not there, and lead the company to the sales he feels they’re destined for. “If you’re going to be a $30 million company like you wanted, who’s going to help you grow to be a $30 million company?"
Lani brings up her age, but Mark’s not having it. “Your age is no excuse," he tells her. “You’re at that point now where you can’t be afraid to go for it."
Mark has some immediate advice for growing the company and increasing their online presence. “The best way to reach the most people on Facebook, not only those who follow you but those who don’t, is to create organic videos," he tells her. “The catch is you can’t mention Simple Sugars, because then it becomes a pitch."
With Mark’s advice, Lani starts creating weekly videos for Simple Sugars’ Facebook page, in an effort to reach more viewers and increase their online presence.
“Mark is a role model," says Lani. “It’s great to have him involved, because a lot of the time he makes me think about things that I wouldn’t otherwise think about."
Mark believes in Lani’s plan to take the company to new heights. “I didn’t invest in this company for it to be $5 million in sales. Her goal is not $10, not $20, but at least $30 million in sales, and probably higher now. She can get there. It won’t be easy, but she’s got what it takes."
Abe Geary came to Shark Tank in Season 5. Like Lani of Simple Sugars, he was looking for more than just money.
“When I came into the Shark Tank, I wanted to get a powerhouse partner on board. The guidance of a Shark would allow me to grow exponentially."
The Sharks, however, didn’t see Abe’s vision. With only $70,000 in sales, the Sharks dismissed Pet Paint as a niche product, a flash in the pan that is a novelty sold only for parties and Halloween.
Barbara Corcoran is the only Shark who believes the product could be a winner. She makes him an offer, but she wants 60% of the equity, telling Abe he’d have to “move out of the way" and let her sell the product. He turned down the deal, deciding he’d rather strike out on his own than sell his business.
Leaving the tank, Abe was uncertain of the consequences of his decision. “The advice, the guidance, and the capital that would’ve come from a Shark, I now had to find on my own."
Abe regrets not having accepted a Shark deal, but he was determined not to waste what he’d learned.
“I tried to take the advice of all the Sharks and apply it to our day-to-day business. I needed to lower my price point, build our online presence, and make people realize this wasn’t just something for Halloween."
He created a hashtag PetPaint in their social media and began growing his brand online. In the two years since appearing on Shark Tank, sales have grown to $2 million. He’s negotiating with large name groomers and retailers, and orders are beginning to come in. Now Abe faces the same struggle many entrepreneurs run into: He needs capital to grow his company.
Abe has found some success with big-name pet stores. “We had our 50 store test with Pet Smart, and it went extremely well. They want us to fulfill orders for 14,000 stores."
The appearance of Pet Paint in PetSmart’s grooming salons has helped increase its credibility and brand recognition in the market, but PetSmart didn’t feel the retail market was strong enough. Abe still has work to do, to get Pet Paint to the level he’s aiming for.
“Our next step is to crack the retail game," says Abe. “We wouldn’t be where we are now, had it not been for the advice of the five Sharks. They taught me a lot about my business, and how to grow it, and some good decisions to make. I can’t wait to see Pet Paint on the shelves in retail stores all across America."
Stephen Hersh came to Shark Tank in Season 6 to pitch Biaggi Luggage; high-end luggage that folds flat for easy storage.
He comes to the Sharks in desperation, having over-ordered product. Stephen’s business was in danger. “When I came on Shark Tank, we were in trouble, of our own doing. We were on the verge of collapse."
Stephen has two lines, the Zip Sack, and the Contempo line. He loves the Contempo line, but it’s the Zip Sack that catches Lori Greiner’s eye.
Stephen has his eye on a bigger prize, however.
“Even though we’re in a really good place right now, I’m looking to build something a lot bigger. I want to build a luggage empire."
The Contempo bags have only been available online. In spite of Lori’s disinterest in the Contempo line, Stephen has gone ahead and ordered 11,000 units, spending almost $500,000.
“I don’t want us to be a one trick pony," he declares, “So I want to re-launch the Contempo bags."
He’s counting on a positive response from Lori, in hopes of gaining her support in launching the line as a new branch of Biaggi bags.
Lori is unenthusiastic about the move, but she’s willing to take a look at the Contempo and reconsider her stance. “You know I never felt like Contempo was going to be big money. But let me see it. It’s been a year since I’ve looked at it."
She still doesn’t like the Contempo bags’ chances in the market. “It’s heavy, it’s expensive, and it’s really hard to compete with big name brands that already have a huge market share."
Lori is afraid that too much time and money invested in Contempo could kill ZipSac. She’s disappointed in Stephen’s decision. “I wish Stephen had focused on the Zip Sac line. Our time, energy, and devotion should be there. I don’t want us to go backward. We just got profitable."
Stephen wants Lori to take Contempo to QVC. She remains unconvinced. “Sometimes entrepreneurs try to hold on to their babies, the one thing they’re passionate about, and they can’t see the forest for the trees."
Stephen brings out the Fashion Tote from the Contempo line. Lori likes it and wants to move it into the Zip Sack line. She’s enthusiastic about the Tote. She wants to expand the Zip Sack line. “That’s how you expand your line. You focus on the product that’s making you 90% of your money."
Stephen’s left with the Contempo product he ordered, and he’ll need to sell off the units. Lori’s not worried. “We will double or triple our sales in the next six months."
Stephen appreciates Lori’s point of view, even if he’s disappointed in her response to the Contempo line.
“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, is that you shouldn’t get too emotionally attached to a product. I want to make the decisions that are right for the future of Biaggi. I’m not going to stop until I turn Biagi into a luggage empire. I’m the King of Luggage. Crown me."
Solomon brought his 180Cup to the Shark Tank in Season 5. Daymond John loved the product, and offered Solomon a deal, but the relationship was rocky right from the beginning.
“Daymond made me an offer instantly, and gave me exactly what I was asking for but it was so quick into my pitch, I didn’t even get a chance to feel the other Sharks out."
He didn’t accept the first offer, and the other Sharks weren’t interested. Solomon was afraid he’d blown his chance entirely, but Daymond allowed him to counter. He had to give up more equity, but he made a deal with Daymond John.
Solomon wasn’t the only one with doubts about the deal. Daymond remembers; “I made Solomon an offer in the Tank right away because I saw huge potential in the product, but that little speed bump made me think that maybe this is not the right partner. It was a telltale of what was to come."
In six months before Shark Tank, 180Cup did $385,000 in sales in 570 stores. Since Shark Tank, the company has grown to $4.9 million in sales, in 15,000 retail outlets, in 5 countries.
Solomon’s wife is pregnant, and the baby is due soon. Solomon is feeling the pressure. “My life is taking a 180, so the company needs to kick a** in order for everything to work out."
Daymond has brought out a licensing deal to create a dishwasher safe reusable version of the 180Cup, but the licensing company went bankrupt, and the products are in a contract, so Solomon is unable to move forward with manufacturing.
Daymond is frustrated. “This has happened several times, where I brought something to the table that he didn’t like, or I brought something to the table he didn’t like, and it’s a tough situation."
Solomon wanted to manufacture the cups himself, but Daymond convinced him to license the product out instead. Solomon recognizes that Daymond was right in that instance, but their butting heads has caused some trouble. “We just clashed. It’s really slowed down our potential and our progress."
Daymond agrees. “I think it’s time for Solomon I to have a real man to man sit down, and talk about, what do we need to do to make this relationship work."
The pair discuss the current state of 180Cup. Solomon has expanded the line into disposable flasks and shot glasses. He’s still working to get back the rights to license the dishwasher safe reusable versions of his original 180Cup. Daymond promises help with that process.
Daymond had introduced Solomon to Little Jon, an entertainer, in hopes of gaining exposure by having him as a brand ambassador. Solomon didn’t like the deal, and ended up turning it down.
“I was crushed, and I realized at that point, we don’t see eye to eye," says Daymond of the deal. “We could’ve gone to $15, $20 million with that deal, overnight."
Solomon didn’t see the value. “I was essentially going to give him a percentage of total sales, and to give that up when we were such a new, baby company, didn’t make sense financially."
Daymond doesn’t see the partnership working out in the long-term. “I like you personally, and I think you like me personally, and liking somebody doesn’t necessarily mean we agree in business. There are a million different ways to operate the business. I operate it one way, Solomon runs it another, and we don’t see face to face on any of those things. I want to know how to move forward or even if we’re going to move forward."
He thinks it’s time the pair part ways. “I think I lost passion for this business, because you and I don’t see eye to eye, and I need to be excited for the business, and I know you have to be excited." Daymond guarantees he’ll get the licensing contract back. Solomon will give back the portion of the investment he’s received so far, and the pair will dissolve their business relationship.
“On my side," said Daymond, “It’s not always just the money. When I’m a partner, I want to feel like I’m contributing. So, sometimes you just have to walk away from a great deal."
Solomon feels the same way. “I think we could’ve done great things together," he says, “But I think we’re both doing the right thing, where we’re going on separate paths, and I appreciate it."
Even though the deal has fallen through, Daymond is excited to see Solomon succeed. “Even though, from this point on, I’m no longer involved in 180Cup, I’m still excited because 180Cup is an amazing product. It’s in great hands. He’s thinking outside the box, he’s doing well, and I watched Solomon build it from one cup and then a flask and a shot glass, and I’m watching a man become a dad, and it’s this journey through Shark Tank, to seeing them from day one to a couple years later, and seeing what they’ve accomplished, and I’m very, very happy, and even though I’m not a part of it, I wish being successful and even though I’m not a part of it, I wish him all the best."