The Smart Baker

Another swimmer in this coming Friday's Shark Tank is The Smart Baker. This company was founded in 2009 by husband and wife Daniel and Stephanie Rensing. They both like to cook and they were always struggling with measurement conversions. As the old saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” One day Daniel presented Stephanie with an apron that had measurement conversions printed right on it, upside down for easy reading by the wearer. Thus the Cheat Sheet Apron and a business was born.

From that one idea sprung a whole line of aprons and baking accessories which the couple sells online. Their products include aprons, cake pop and cupcake tower displays, pre-cut parchment paper for standard baking vessels, magnets, measurement conversion towels, and baking accessories.

The Smart Baker's Measurement conversion chart

The young couple is no stranger to TV's influence. They were featured in Food Network magazine back in December of 2009 and gained some minor fame as a result.

What I see here is a very viable business, whether the sharks will agree is another matter. Internet-based businesses, particularly niche businesses, don't seem to have much appeal to the The Sharks, unless they have broad retail distribution in addition to their internet property. While the Smart Baker seems to be a vibrant site with useful products, I just don't think the sharks will bite. Another red flag is  the pre show press release states Stephanie “lost her job the day before coming to the Tank.”

There are so many instances when the sharks have asked entrepreneurs “why should I invest in you” and the entrepreneurs start rambling about lost jobs, families to support and other such tales of woe.  Raven Thomas of the Painted Pretzel fell into that trap last week, but she was able to recover and get a deal. While I can certainly sympathize with difficult personal circumstances, they have no place on the Shark Tank as a reason to do a business. I hope that is not the reason they don't get a deal.

Luckily for the Rensings, even “losing” on The Shark Tank makes them winners. The mass exposure they'll get will undoubtedly lead to many more sales at the bare minimum. That kind of recognition can lead to retail distribution deals too. My guess is they don't get a deal, but win anyway.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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