If you saw our Shark Tank episode (Season 11, Episode 10 that originally aired on Sunday, January 5, 2020), you saw our customer, Elizabeth Kurz, and her son, Oskar, were the stars of our pitch! Although Oskar sleeps in his SlumberPod every day at home, the activity, bright lights, and unfamiliar people — and the fact that it wasn’t his nap time — had him really confused! And for viewers, his cries were much louder than reality as his playard had a microphone in it. See ABC’s snippet of our pitch here. (Please consider adding your positive comments, too.)
Our whole pitch lasted about one minute total, and his unhappiness was only several seconds — and he immediately calmed down once he realized that he didn’t have to go to sleep!
To give you some background, we bonded with Elizabeth and her family after she purchased one of the very first SlumberPods during our Kickstarter campaign in July 2018. She has promoted SlumberPod ever since, and it seemed fitting to ask her to fly to the taping to be on the show with us. (See our interview with Elizabeth and Oskar the day after our Shark Tank episode airing to learn more.)
What else can you tell us about the Shark Tank Experience?
Many of our customers and loyal fans have reached out asking questions about our episode, such as why certain “standard” elements (e.g., doing a demo with a Shark) of other segments were missing from SlumberPod’s segment. Very observant!
Here’s the skinny: During the taping, entrepreneurs are in front of the Sharks anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours from which Shark Tank edits time to the 7-minute segment. There was SO much we discussed that didn’t make the final cut. Here’s some information we can share — keeping in mind that some behind-the-scenes details are confidential … our lips are sealed!):
Additional info about the value and benefits of SlumberPod
We discussed the value and benefits that SlumberPod brings to families as well as the features. We spoke at length about the detailed safety testing we completed to give peace of mind to caregivers. We shared what makes SlumberPod different than the competition including our unique breathable (air-permeable) yet extremely blackout fabric that is a majority of our manufacturing cost or cost of goods (COGs), SlumberPod is completely free-standing (doesn’t attach to the playard or mini-crib), and has a pouch for a baby video monitor (just to name a few of the features). SlumberPod is recommended for little ones from 4 months to 5 years (for use with a toddler cot or inflatable mattress), so the lifespan for use is much longer than most baby products, too, giving incredible value for your money.
SlumberPod’s benefits, as our customers continue to share with the world, include the peace-of-mind that travel doesn’t have to be stressful. No longer do parents or caregivers have to stumble around in the dark after the little one goes to sleep, or hide out in the hotel room bathroom or balcony. Being able to replicate the dark environment that your little one has at home while on the go is a lifesaver and a game-changer. (Don’t take our word for it — check out our reviews on our website and Amazon.)
Financials and Manufacturing
The Sharks also asked our numbers at length, and thanks to our contract CFO, Angela Totman, we were ready! Landed cost, retail cost, customer acquisition cost, sales-to-date, sales projections and what all those figures were based on. You name it — we nailed it.
Incredibly, we exceeded the projected sales for 2019 that we shared during the taping by more than $500,000! Woohoo. Thank you to our customers and fans.
As mentioned in the segment, we had no debt but do have two equity partners in Columbus, Georgia. These two individuals gave us the seed money to start our business and have believed in us since Day 1. We also discussed our product design partners, Creature Product Development, and our manufacturing partner, Jeff Vinson at Ridgeway Outdoors, and their crucial roles in our success. (Note: like the Academy Awards, we didn’t have time to mention everyone who’s helped make us successful, as we have so many generous vendors and friends.)
Product Demonstration with the Sharks
Right after our pitch and we said goodbye to Elizabeth and Oskar, two of the Sharks got inside SlumberPod (we lifted it up as they crouched inside) and they both said “wow — this is REALLY dark, I can’t see my hand in front of my face!”
We have a video taken under TV studio lights at the VeryVera Show (air date December 2018) that gives you an idea of what they saw (or actually, didn’t see) when inside SlumberPod.
During the taping, we mentioned that SlumberPod is patent pending (we submitted the initial patent application more than two years ago).
Our backgrounds — and the timing
Yes, the segment touched on our backgrounds but what didn’t make the segment was the fact that both of us are positive, determined and driven individuals. It was a blessing in disguise that on April 1, 2016, I got a call from the CEO of the company I worked for and was told they had to let me go. It seems they lost a major client and the last hired was the first to go (I had been there three months). Katy was two weeks from giving birth to twins, so the timing for us to get serious about our product idea we’d had for more than a year was perfect. The rest is history … and we both are incredibly grateful for the time we had together during her maternity leave, working on SlumberPod, watching Shark Tank episodes, and bonding with two miracles and soon-to-be SlumberPod beta testers.
We are very humbled by three of the Sharks (Mark, Lori, and Barbara) telling us that we “didn’t really need them” and that we shouldn’t sell equity unless we absolutely had to — sharing stories of how deals fell through for each of them early on, and it ended up being a tremendous blessing. (Spoiler alert), we are incredibly grateful that Barbara decided to make a deal with us for our initial ask, because, in her words, we were so nice. She even whispered in my ear as we were hugging at the end saying “I am very impressed with your daughter, and you’ve done an incredible job raising her. And I bet all of your children are as impressive.” At which I truthfully replied … “thank you so much, and yes, they are!”
Yes, it still feels like a dream! We appreciate your love and support!
Here’s to many more nighty nights,
Co-founder and COO
P.S. Thank you for taking me on this ride with you, Katy! I’ve loved every minute of it and look so forward to what the future brings.