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A trip and fall leads to $8 million in sales

Rick Hopper, inventor of the ReadeRest, a magnetic clip that keeps glasses in place
Source: ReadeREST
Rick Hopper, inventor of the ReadeRest, a magnetic clip that keeps glasses in place

Tripping and stumbling in front of the sharks took guts, but that's exactly what Rick Hopper did when he appeared on "Shark Tank." Hopper wanted to show the need for his product, the ReadeRest, a magnetic clip that attaches to clothing to keep glasses in place, so he purposely fell on stage and pretended to lose his glasses.

"The intentional fall got exactly the result I hoped it would," Hopper told CNBC in an email.

Lori Greiner knew ReadeRest would be great for QVC and offered him $150,000 for 65 percent of the company. Hopper accepted.

Since that trip and fall on the "Shark Tank" stage, he has had tremendous success with the ReadeRest. The product has had sales of $8 million-plus in the past two years and is available in more than 6,000 stores, his email said.

For those entering the tank, Hopper advised, "Be memorable, be confident but know what you don't know, as well"

To find out more about Hopper's experience in the tank, check out the Q&A.

ReadeRest magnetic clips
Source: ReadeREST
ReadeRest magnetic clips

What was the shark's reaction to your fake trip and fall?

All my friends told me not to do it. For a split second, when I popped up off the floor, the sharks had that look on their face. like "what an idiot". But once they realized it was intentional to show that the ReadeRest keeps your glasses safe, even in a violent situation, they got it.

Was there any scene that didn't make it onto air that you recall?

Mark Cuban had a lot of nice things to say about me and my product that I wished had gotten aired. He said that I would go very far with this product but that Lori is the perfect person for me. Other than that, what you see happen on the show sums it up.

How did you get into the tank?

I was very much in the right place at the right time. I had never seen the show before but had hundreds of people tell me that I should get on "Shark Tank." For six months I was doing trade shows of all kinds to learn who my customer would be. I did street fairs, farmer's markets, gun shows, golf shows, jewelry shows, home shows, computer shows. Everywhere I went it was the same thing: "You gotta get on 'Shark Tank!' "

My pitch was energetic and memorable. I knew my business, my numbers and my customers. However, when I initially walked into the tank I almost fainted from the stress.

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

Everywhere I go, people want to take their picture with me like, I am a celebrity or something. It amazes me that people remember so many details of my episode.

My business has grown leaps and bounds. I haven't had to do any [discounting]. Buyers for many stores have contacted us. It's the most amazing phenomenon: Someone buys a ReadeRest on my website and walks into a store wearing it, and the store owner asks about it and goes onto my site and buys a counter display full of product to sell to their customers.

What would you advise an entrepreneur about to enter the tank?

I would encourage everyone to try to get on "Shark Tank." But you better know your business, watch the show and see the types of questions they are bound to ask.

The trick is to be memorable. Be confident but know what you don't know, as well.

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. E.T.

Featured

Meet the Sharks

  • Mark is the highly successful entrepreneur and investor who founded HDNet, Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions.

  • Barbara Corcoran parlayed a $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business.

  • Lori Greiner started with one idea and turned it into a multi-million dollar international brand.