What was the impact of being on 'Shark Tank'?
The experience and exposure was impressive. Many people flocked to Nordstrom wanting our products (and probably because I said "Nordstrom" a few times). My segment aired over two years ago, and the show still gets referred to by customers going into stores ... and calling us directly at Würkin Stiffs. Our sales obviously increased from the show, which helped with more product development and gaining a greater reach.
How has your company been doing since being on 'Shark Tank'?
It's amazing to see a guy who started out of his house with his wife and 10-month-old son, one year later sitting on the couch with Donny Deutsch on "The Big Idea" ... a few years later swimming in the "Shark Tank" and his dreams becoming a reality.
Oh, yeah… and I'm that guy! It's totally crazy. I just hired four new employees ... and am looking for more talent to support our growth. It's an amazing feeling to employ great people, while continuing to grow and expand the Würkin Stiffs brand. We have been really resonating with our core guy… which is pretty much every Würkin Stiff out there!
What do you think was the most effective part of your pitch?
Flipping Barbara and then Daymond was very impactful. I do not remember anyone up until that point flipping two Sharks back into the deal. What I believe may not have aired was that Barbara Corcoran went out and then came back in because, she said, she liked me.
Daymond did not talk at all and I got nervous, because he of all people would relate to what I am accomplishing. Minutes felt like hours. I kinda went at Daymond in a joking fashion, but he did not like that at all. He took me to the cleaners for doing that with the deal offer … but that all quickly turned out to be a great relationship.
What advice do you have for other small businesses thinking of appearing on 'Shark Tank'?
Be yourself, be honest and know exactly what your company's needs are. The Sharks can quickly sift out those who are not "real" or do not know their business. Oh … and don't upset a Shark! Keep your mouth shut and talk only when spoken to!
What balance do you have to strike between brick-and-mortar and cloud retailing?
We sell mainly into specialty and better department stores, as well as online stores. We do not have a brick-and-mortar store yet. Wurkinstiffs.com showcases our entire line of products because no one-store carries everything we develop. So, our balance is more between our retailers and our online store.
The best way to see the full breadth of any brand is to go to its website and view all the offerings—especially if the company doesn't have a storefront.
Würkin Stiffs' focus has always been sending our customers to the retailers first. Most customers like quick gratification and want it now! So, our customer service helps them find retailers in their area, since they cannot wait for shipping delays. As long as our customers are happy … we're happy!
By Jill Weinberger and Liza Hughes