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I truly don't have the right words to open this blog post...holy moly, seriously?, OMG! I have watched Shark Tank from the very first season. I can pretty much remember every single entrepreneur that I witnessed pitching and ultimately defending their baby, their dream. Some more successful at it than others, but all laying it all on the line. Entrepreneurship is pretty much an all or nothing thing. Some people get that and some people don't, but to take something you've created and put it out there for the world to see has always seemed a nearly-impossible task to me. I cannot tell you the number of times that Mark and I have sat on the couch when the show goes to commercial and I am yelling aloud, "I could NEVER do that!". I know and love my business, but I am not that great at speaking publicly. I don't have an ivy-league education, prefer to be in my office over in front of a crowd and am certainly not clever, so I just knew I would get up there and not know what to say. Well....crazy enough, a single phone call from a Shark Tank producer changed my mind pretty quickly!
It all happened so fast! One minute we were on the phone, the next preparing our 'pitch' video and just a few short weeks later, on a plane to LA, both kids in tow. Holy _____! What were we doing, it was all just going so fast! What was our company worth?? Well, isn't that a great question, because a 'thing' only has value when you are trying to sell it, and I wasn't! At the same time, our company has been growing quickly for years now. RuffleButts, Inc landed on the Inc 500 list last year and added Neiman Marcus, buybuyBaby, and one other mass retailer to our customer list just this year. With growth like that, cash is king, and Shark Tank could be an awesome place to get it. More importantly, it would be an awesome place to score a high-profile and super experienced investor. Oh how awesome it would be to call up someone like Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, or Daymond John when I need advice on a distributor, new back office computer system, or even to knock on the door of a big box retailer for us! Seriously, does that really happen to people?
Long story short, our trip to LA lasted about a week. Our little 2 year old Jonas spent half a day in Disney Land first aid station and then ended up in urgent care the day before filming. Aubrey was a trooper and definitely helped to keep our mind too fixated on what was happening around us. Mark and I grilled each other with every question we could think of, practicing how we would defend this business that is like a 3rd child to us (born before both of our children). How to keep your emotions in check? What if they didn't like it? What if they thought RuffleButts & RuggedButtswere stupid names? What if they picked it apart and made people question our business on national TV? We decided that we believe 100% in what we are doing and it was worth the chance. What an incredible opportunity, and we MUST take it! So there we were, the doors opened and we found ourselves walking down the aquarium filled hallway we've seen a million times on TV and we came face to face with the Sharks. We were honest, genuine and shared our business and dreams that we love so much and have poured so much into. It was only after answering what felt like a barrage of questions that they finally said...
What, did you think I was going to give it all away?? You'll have to watch RuffleButts ABC this Friday, October 18th! I can't give it away, but I will tell you that it is one experience that my family will NEVER forget.