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Q&A with the couple that are conquering the baking world

Daniel and Stephanie Rensing
Source: Daniel Rensing
Daniel and Stephanie Rensing

Daniel and Stephanie Rensing appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2012 with their business, The Smart Baker, which sells clever tools for the home baker. Their line includes "cheat sheet" aprons (printed with measuring tables), parchment paper with lift tabs and reusable cupcake towers.

On this "Shark Tank" episode, they agreed to a deal with Barbara Corcoran for $75,000 for a 40 percent stake and 5 percent royalty.

According to an email to CNBC, because of changes Corcoran wanted that the Rensings weren't comfortable with the deal fell through after the cameras stopped rolling, but that didn't stop the Rensings. They recently secured their first national retailer and now offer their products throughout Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts Stores.

In this Q&A, Daniel Rensing tells us what else The Smart Baker is up to, explains what it's like to be on "Shark Tank" and provides tips for entrepreneurs diving into it.

Also, does Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary have a soft side? See what he said to the couple that shows he may just be a big teddy bear.


What was it about your pitch that attracted the sharks?

Honestly, I think it was less the pitch and more our story. Although we had a bit of a comedy sketch as our pitch, we are a prime example of a young couple taking on the American dream. We took an idea out of our kitchen, turned it into a product and then a business. Having a "why didn't I think of that" type of product helps, as well. We are providing simple solutions to common problems many bakers face, and that is very important in having a successful business.

What was your favorite part of being on "Shark Tank" that didn't make it to air?

One moment that I wished made it was when "Mr. Wonderful" showed his softer side. There was a bit of back and forth about how long Stephanie and I were together and Kevin unexpectedly asked if we could renew our wedding vows. It caught us off guard since it was coming from him and not Robert, who according to Mark "always gets so sappy on everything".

What do you think the sharks are looking for in a business partner?

You hear it many times throughout the seasons that they are looking for the right entrepreneur with the right product. If you aren't excited, confident and determined about your product or business, then why should they be? The sharks are looking at you as much as they are looking at your product, margins and business plan. Mr. Wonderful may be excluded from that, since he's always about the money!

How has being on "Shark Tank" affected your business?

The "Shark Tank" effect has been and continues to be tremendous. There is of course the great spike in website visitors and sales. We saw a 5,000 percent increase in sales in March 2012 compared with a year earlier, and the first quarter of 2012 had beat all of 2011.

We've secured our first national retailer and now have our products in hundred of Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts Stores, as well as many other buyers groups and resellers. Besides the financial gain, there is a much more valuable personal gain.

Being on "Shark Tank" is not something everyone can say or can relate to, so being able to network with past and future "Shark Tankers" helps in navigating the business world.

What would you tell another entrepreneur about to step into the tank?

Know your stuff! If you want to be taken seriously, you need to know every aspect of your business.

Many people, including myself, think that since they own and operate the business that they can just rattle off stats, but there is plenty of homework involved. Throughout the whole casting process and right up to filming, I was constantly checking on product prices, margins, marketing research, budgets and so on. Being selected to film is a once-and-a lifetime chance, so you don't want to screw it up and get caught off guard.

By Jill Weinberger and Liza Hughes

Tuesdays have more bite with back-to-back episodes of "Shark Tank" on CNBC every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET.

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