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!
When we buy a home, I hope we find one with a double-sink/vanity. It's silly, I know, but I just want my own sink space for once! I'm pretty certain this desire stems from the fact that my husband and I spend every waking moment together. Deciding to start a small business together was not an easy decision. Before we made the first move, we had a long talk about how this was going to work and whether it would be wise to become business partners.
Our days are pretty crazy. We get up early (when the kids get up), I make breakfast and pack school lunches, while Mark gets the kids dressed and ready for school. We wolf down breakfast and run out the door. Mark and I take turns dropping the kids off at school, so one of us is able to start the work day by 8 am. Our office is in our attic, so we make the ridiculously nice commute upstairs, and start pounding away at all things Lollacup/Lollaland. Before you know it, one of us has to pick the kids up from school, make/buy dinner, play with the girls for a little bit, and get them ready for bed. After we put them down for the evening, we're back upstairs at work. Having a home office is great for so many reasons, but it makes it impossible to stop working.
Each day feels much too short and chaos abounds, but here are the 5 things we focus on in order to make things work in Lollaland:
We have received many emails and phone calls from Shark-Tank-hopefuls since our own segment aired on April 27th. I have to say that the folks who reach out to us are three-steps ahead of the game. It never even occurred to me to reach out to Shark Tank Alumni.
Then we heard that a few Shark Tank Alums crashed the Chicago Open Casting Call, and had a great time networking and re-living the whole process.
Please keep in mind that Mark and I are in no way affiliated with Shark Tank, ABC, or any of the casting crew, so what we have to say has zero influence on whether you get on the show or not, BUT we did go through casting and if you want to grab a drink and put your mind at ease before the Casting Call in Los Angeles, we’d be happy to talk with you. We’ll be at the bar (Tula's Lounge) of the hotel where the casting call will be the next morning between 7-9 pm if you want to come out and chat, talk about the stresses of entrepreneurship, etc. We’d love to meet you. We are always happy to talk about our wild ride into the Shark Tank, but please keep in mind that you have to take everything we say with a grain of salt - because we had such a great experience, we can be a bit biased ;)
We were ecstatic when we got our first online order, we felt a glimmer of hope when we opened our first retail account, we literally hurt when we got our first customer complaint, and smiled for days when we received our first glowing review. I say all this, because running a business is such a roller-coaster. Being on Shark Tank was like that signature, breathtaking drop - we are laughing, screaming, and just holding on tight. I remember pulling all-nighters in college, feeling like I couldn't type one more letter, but looking back, that must've been training for this very moment. Sleep is an afterthought and that's okay. The one thing that pains me is not being there for my girls as much as I had hoped.
I came across an article in entreprenuer.com that said the following, "If you're going to be successful, you've got to love your business more than anything else--even your family." WOW. When I read this, I felt like someone punched me in the gut. I'm determined to be successful, but I refuse to believe this. I have a company and product, because of my family. I have the most amazing partner who is my family, and family is helping us survive this ride.
I don't even know where I'm going with this blog post, but I just had to take a minute away from work and think big picture. Thanks for listening. Anyone agree/disagree? How do you all juggle work and family?
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 ;-).
I know we've been shamelessly plugging our appearance on ABC's Shark Tank this Friday, April 27th, and I should've realized that doing this has been an open invitation to questions galore. So, this week, I decided to focus my blog posts on Shark Tank-related topics, so here goes . . .
Lessons learned and some unsolicited business advice from Lollacup:
Wow! That was a mouthful. I can't believe that after all this, I still have more to say on the matter. Stay tuned for more . . .In the meantime, stay focused on your goals!
I got an email last week (March 5, 2012, to be exact) from someone I greatly respect and admire. The email read, "You need to start a blog . . ." So, I started a blog. Although I call this the official weblog of Lollaland, the company, it's really just a platform for me and my husband (and business partner) to share what's relevant to us, our business, and the little ones who inspired it all. We hope you enjoy (& engage in) all the interesting posts to come.