The Smart Baker is the place to buy measurement conversion products, pre-cut parchment paper, and re-usable cupcake towers. I spoke with Daniel Rensing today, half of the husband and wife team behind The Smart Baker. They were recently funded by Barbara Corcoran on The Shark Tank.
Or so I thought. It seems that the deal never quite went through. It turns out that during the due diligence phase, Barbara Corcoran’s people had some qualms about The Smart Baker re-usable cupcake towers pricing structure in relation to lower priced, disposable cupcake towers. Daniel described the parting of ways as amicable, though he was a bit “disappointed he never got to deal with Barbara after the show. It was just a bunch of her lawyers and stuff.”
Even though their Shark Tank funding fell through, The Smart Baker is turning a profit. Up to the point of the show’s taping, Dan and Stephanie had been doubling sales each month. They got a “nice spike” in website traffic in the aftermath of their Shark Tank Episode airing, but Dan said it “was not as much as I hoped or wanted based on other entrepreneurs’ experiences.” The couple has been able to fund growth from sales, which is a good thing, and even though the funding with Barbara fell through, Daniel states “without the show we wouldn’t be in the position we are in- I have nothing but good things to say about show.”
We chatted about his business and life after Shark Tank. Dan and Stephanie have befriended the Mastronardo boys of Nardo’s Naturals fame. The Mastronardos attended The Smart Baker’s “Shark Tank Party” and Dan and Steph took a ride to Tampa for the Nardo’s Naturals party. Dan even bought a Cat Drawing from Steve the Cat Drawing guy for their party. He blew it up and hung it behind the bar! I Want to Draw a Cat for You is Dan’s favorite pitch so far because he thought “it was fun.”
Dan and Steph have been selling The Smart Baker Cupcake Towers in small, wholesale lots to specialty bake shops and bakeries all over the place. The pre-cut parchment paper, which Dan holds a patent for, is selling well too. Apron sales, said Dan, “tend to spike around gift giving holidays like Mother’s Day and Christmas; we do get year round sales for birthdays, showers and weddings too.” Plans for future expansion into large, national retailers are certainly in the works, but the Rensings “want to have all our ducks in a row and have a strong proof of concept before hitting up big stores. ” Another avenue he is looking into is licensing the parchment paper patent to the “Reynold’s Wraps of the world.” Parchment paper is not new, but pre-cut and pre-sized parchment for baking is; “what better company to sell it than those that already sell parchment paper?”
As for the Sharks themselves, other than the taping segment, the only real contact they have had with any of the Sharks is when Robert Herjavec passed them in the hall and said, “be careful of those sharks, I hear they’re mean.” Dan hasn’t had any face to face contact with Barbara Corcoran since the show, “just her ‘people.’” He has reached out to Daymond John for advice on the licensing issues, but has not spoken with him directly.
Dan has purchased other Shark Tank entrepreneurs’ products. His purchase of Nardo’s Naturals products led to them connecting and becoming friends. He’s also bought a Clean Bottle and an Air Cork (the renamed Wine Balloon). He even confesses to reading our website, because he’s “a fan of the show.”
All in all, it appears that The Smart Baker will continue to grow and prosper. Stephanie even had a bit of good fortune. Less than 48 hours after the show taped, she got a new teaching job!
I asked Dan one more question. Click here for the answer.