Classic. I fly from Southern California to Dallas, Texas for 24 hours to see Mark Cuban deliver a keynote address at a “Women in Toy” event on Monday 10/5, and I have NO memory left on my phone – couldn’t even snap one photo. I had to ask a colleague to take a photo of Mark and me and text it to me, and while Mark was saying some amazing things, I literally couldn’t record any of it. SO frustrating to say the least, but I took copious notes, and I’m making it up to myself by sharing it with you.
As many of you know, Mark Cuban, is truly a self-made billionaire. He has incredible business acumen and an indescribable tenacity that is simply inspiring to entrepreneurs like me and my husband, Mark. I am still a bit star-struck by Mark Cuban, even though he owns part of Lollaland. Mark [Cuban] has always been passionate about playing [and watching] basketball. He never made it to the NBA, but guess what? He bought an NBA team instead (Go Mavs! #MFFL). I can’t help but think of this as the ultimate example of persistence and thinking outside the box.
For those of you who couldn’t be at the event, here are the main takeaways, from Mark Cuban’s keynote address – read them slowly and carefully.
Mark Cuban closed the keynote address with this, and I will end with it as well: “The American Dream is alive and well.” Take these tips and may it help your business, and personal life, prosper.
First, congratulations. You’ve taken an idea to market, built distribution, and I’m excited to see how you and NeatCheeks fare in the infamous Shark Tank tonight!
I know it’s been a while since we last talked in October, but it’s been exciting to watch your company grow, and now - Shark Tank! I was so humbled when you, fellow mompreneurs, reached out to me for advice, and there was so much to talk about. We have so much in common: we all have three children, we’re working moms, and all small businesses inherently share similar struggles.
Thank you for sending me a few samples of NeatCheeks. I tried them for the first time on my feisty two-year-old this week. She’s two so she eats independently, but it’s never neat. She is the third of three girls, so admittedly, she is a spoiled brat. I simply have not had the energy to set boundaries like I did with my older two. Anyway, she always throws a fit as I wipe her filthy face after meals, and I just power through the process because I know she’ll get over it one day. Before I cleaned her face with NeatCheeks, I showed her the little package (which is the perfect size, by the way), and told her it was a yummy wipe. She was instantly intrigued, and it worked like a charm! I even caught my six-year-old licking a NeatCheek wipe!
I’m really excited to see what the future has in store for NeatCheeks. Whatever the outcome of your negotiations in the Shark Tank may be, I know this will mean big things for you. Cheers to years and years of success.
Hanna Lim (Lollaland)
AND, for all you parents or Shark Tank fans out there, Lollaland and NeatCheeks are hosting a GIVEAWAY. We are giving away a Lollacup + a Lollaland Mealtime Set + NeatCheeks wipes to try in honor of NeatCheeks' appearance on Shark Tank tonight. To enter the GIVEAWAY, please leave a comment (any comment) on this blog post, and we will randomly select 1 winner on Friday, April 24, 2015.
AND, for all you fellow entrepreneurs out there, we always love to network and learn from others, so please feel free to comment here or reach out to us in Lollaland!
Before having children and launching Lollaland, I used to be a high school chemistry teacher. My students would often ask, “Why do I need to learn this? I will never use stoichiometry in real life.” My response was, “Learning to problem solve will be invaluable in all your future endeavors.” It’s true that most people will never use stoichiometry outside of their high school chemistry classrooms, but life is full of “reactions” that could use some careful study and analysis.
Launching a business and running a company requires the most critical thinking and problem solving I’ve ever done. Thanks to Shark Tank and our amazing partners, Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec, we have had many unique and rare opportunities (one of which will be featured on tonight’s season premiere of Shark Tank, Season 6)! Partnering with Mark and Robert has been a great experience for us, and Lollaland has experienced steady growth since Lollacup's launch in 2011. This year, we were presented with one of our most exciting, but challenging opportunities – mass retail!
When our episode of Shark Tank aired in April, 2012, the most common request/comment we received was, “ I LOVE that Lollacup is 100% made in the USA, BUT I wish it were more affordable.” To answer this call, we developed a more affordable cup for this new Shark Tank/Target program. This new cup is called the Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup, and details and differences between the two cups are outlined below. Lollacup vs. Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup - Lollacup vs. Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup - Made in USA vs. Made in Taiwan - Iconic Lollacup Bird Design vs. Bear - Distinctive triangular packaging vs. more traditional box with a window The Lollacup will always be 100% Made in the USA, but we hope that the Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup will make our products more accessible for all. Thank you for your continued support.
Mark + Hanna Lim | Lollaland Here’s a little snippet about tonight's season premiere of Shark Tank, Season 6 (source: ABC.com): There will be an All Stars Update where Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran illustrate the power of Shark Tank.
They sealed a deal to sell six of their Shark Tank products in a special display at a major retail store.
The entrepreneurs from Lollaland, Kisstixx, Monkey Mat, Kazam, U-lace, and Ry’s Ruffery are thrilled to see their products on Target’s shelves for the first time.
Before their deals on Shark Tank, the combined value of the entrepreneurs’ products equaled $1.3 million dollars in sales.
Today, that value has increased to $7.7 million dollars, a 500% increase.
Our episode of Shark Tank is re-airing tonight on ABC at 8 p.m., so I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane.
Although our actual segment on Shark Tank only lasted 10+ minutes, we stood negotiating in front of the sharks for well over an hour. It was an incredibly stressful yet exhilarating experience. How often does one have an idea, turn it into a product, and then pitch the business to moguls like the "sharks"!
Things I never want to forget:
Things I'd like to forget:
Overall, our experience on Shark Tank has been like the gift that keeps on giving. Now that it's been about a year since we first appeared on Shark Tank, people often ask us, "Was it worth it?" and "Would you do it again?" Absolutely! One thing I learned about entrepreneurship is that you have to seize every opportunity, and not take luck and timing for granted.
It's been 24 hours since our [Lollacup] pitch aired on Shark Tank last night, and my heart and mind have not stopped racing. So much to do and share. How we went from a simple idea for a new straw sippy cup to landing Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec as business partners is baffling.
I guess I'll begin by sharing how Mark and I tuned in last night. The most responsible thing to do would have been to watch the Shark Tank episode at home, with phone in-hand and computers fired up to attend to any issues that may arise. BUT we thought about all the people who were in involved in bringing this straw-sippy-cup-project to fruition, and we just had to get everyone together and relish in the moment. How often does one have an idea, take it to market, get on national TV, and land a business deal with Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec? You only live once, so we just had to go the viewing-party-route. I promise we will respond to your voicemails and emails soon.
Between family, the friends we see regularly, and people who've directly worked on lollacup, we had about 75 people we needed to host. Our home/office was not an option with those numbers, so Mark and I had to get creative in thinking about how to plan a Shark Tank Viewing Party on a budget. Mark suggested watching it at our old high school, where we met and started dating. I thought it was a long-shot, but we asked the administration, and the school was gracious enough to let us use the lunch area for dinner and drinks and the auditorium to watch the show. It was so nostalgic and special to be on campus for this event. Some of our teachers even joined us!
Guests began to trickle in around 7 pm, and they all tried their best to stay off of social media so as not to know the outcome. We were last into the "tank," so by 8:40 p.m. everyone was pumped for our appearance - our bellies were full and we had all had a few glasses of wine.
Finally, around 7:45 p.m. the commercial break ended and our friends were cheering [loudly] as we were introduced as "next into the Shark Tank." I don't know about you, but every time I hear my own voice on a recording, I cringe. Can you imagine how I felt watching my every mannerism on national TV?
During the taping, Mark and I stood in front of those sharks for well over an hour, and what you saw on Friday was edited down to less than 15 minutes. I must say that the show did a great job with the editing . . . everything you saw was a concise representation of how we remember it all going down. Aside from childbirth, it was the most intense and stressful hour+ of my life. I am so proud we survived and so happy Mark and I did it together.
So to tell you "what it's like to be on Shark Tank" - SIMPLY AMAZING! For the most part, we have had people go out of their way to send kind words and well-wishes our way via Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs, and even phone calls. This whole experience is such a huge motivator. We know how expensive parenting is: the cost of diapers alone is astounding. Thank you all for supporting Lollacup as we grow.
Here are some of my favorite tweets from the sharks:
@mcuban I really liked them. I'm not usually that nice to robert. I felt bad for him ;-).