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Today's episode is inspiring because our guest today created a unique product to solve a problem he was personally experiencing. Don's company nerdwax was recently featured on ABC's hit TV show Shark Tank and he graciously answered every question we asked including his sales numbers before, during and after his Shark Tank episode aired. Don has a fantastic outlook on how you should do business if you want to win and you will love what he shares in this episode.

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Get involved and ask a question about selling on Amazon and Chris may answer your question live on a future episode of Sellercast. Also, if you think you'd be a good guest for the Sellercast podcast feel free to tell us more about you and your company here.

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Show Notes and Links

Podcast Transcript

Intro: Hello, everyone. Chris Guthrie here, host of the Sellercast podcast. And in today’s episode, I speak with Don from who recently was on the hit show Shark Tank. We’re going to talk about that experience, as well as what he was doing sales wise after he filmed his episode. Then also, of course, after the episode aired. So let’s dive into it. He has a lot of great attitudes about what you should do when you build a business and the way you should approach your customers and the way you should communicate with them and build relationships. I know you’re going to love what we have to share today. So let’s dig in right now.

Chris Guthrie: Hello, everyone. Chris Guthrie here, and today with me, I have Don. And thank you so much for coming on the show.

Don: Hey, Chris. How’s it going?

Chris Guthrie: Doing well. I know we’re going to talk about a lot of different stuff about your business. I know that what most people will be familiar with is that you were on Shark Tank recently, and so we’ll dive into that. But before we get into that, can you maybe tell us a bit more about your company, what product you sell, and maybe how you decided to actually sell in the first place?

Don: Absolutely. About five years ago, I was a trained audio engineer, and we did a lot of outdoor concerts during the summer. And my glasses were always sliding down my nose and driving me crazy. I actually lost a pair of glasses one time because I took them off and set them on a lighting rig, and somebody turned on the lighting rig and melted my glasses. So it was a major problem for me. I’d look down to grab an amp and my glasses would just fall off, and my face would be like in Florida, and it’d be 100 degrees and humid. 

I can remember the exact moment I had the idea for Nerdwax. And we were in Texas. I was working for Julianne Hough, was looking right into the sun. And she had these big aviator sunglasses on and they kept sliding down. And she’d have to stop playing guitar to push them back up. And I was sitting there behind the console and I just thought, “You know, I bet I can make something for your glasses that would keep them up, but it wouldn’t be a strap or a band or a hook or any of these things that I’ve tried that I hate.” So I remember calling my wife right after the show, and I was like, “Babe, I have the best idea.” And she was kind of like, “Whatever, like you get these ideas all the time. What is it?” And so I told her, “I bet I can make this all-natural wax that you could put on your glasses to keep them from sliding down.” And she’s like, “Okay.” And I Don’t think she took me seriously until boxes of wax and tubes started showing up on our doorstep. 

And I just started making it in our kitchen. I’d take it out on the road with me, and then I’d use it on myself, and I figured out what works and what didn’t work. It took me a few years to get the product going until I got it right where I wanted. I was giving it out to friends and family and was seeing what people thought about it. I kind of tweaked until I got it right to the place that I liked it. 

And around that point in time, we actually had a huge life-changing week where my wife broke her ankle, both our cars broke down, and our landlord called and said he wasn’t going to renew our lease. It was this moment where I kind of looked up and said, “I’ve got to make a change and do something different.” So I made the decision to get off the road. I took two jobs in town, and I put Nerdwax on hold. And I really just packed it all up in a box and put it down in our basement. 

And it was probably two years after I had done that that I was sitting there. And I had had tubes around the house that I used for myself. And I thought, “You know, I’m tired of waiting on this.” People were asking me to make more for them. I thought I just need to get started. I’ve got to go do something and make this thing happen, or else it’s just never going to happen. I’m going to have this idea forever, and I’ve got to try. At the time, we were completely broke. We didn’t have any money to start a business. And I thought I’m going to go to Kickstarter, and I’m just going to go for the smallest amount possible. I’m going to reach out, and for five grand, that’ll give me the labels and that’ll give me enough to get the first 1000 tubes made, and then we’ll go from there. 

And so we launched the Kickstarter in April of last year with the goal of raising $5000 for the first production run. And we hit that goal before noon on the first day of the campaign. It was pretty nuts. By the end of the campaign, we had raised over $61,000 and from 3000 backers. So we had a huge response. And that really started the whole, “I think we’ve got to launch a business now. We’ve got people that want it. And let’s go online and let’s sell it.” And that was the last April. We finished up the Kickstarter project in September of last year. And we started shipping via our website last September. We did Shark Tank on October 9th. That’s when we aired on Shark Tank. So it’s just a little bit over a year of actually being a product and selling online that we went on Shark Tank, and it’s been nuts.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah. One of the things I was going to ask you – And first of all, thanks for that story, going into the background and everything. And I think that you hit something that I want to point out, just the fact that you had something that you tried, and you kind of set it aside. And then ultimately, you decided, okay. I actually want to get back to this and really make it happen because I think sometimes people out there may have ideas like this. They get started, and then they don’t really go anywhere, or they get to a certain stage and then they kind of put it aside. So I think that’s great that you pushed through and then went for it.

Don: Absolutely, thanks.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah. And so one other thing too. I actually want to mention. I wear glasses as well, and I have the same exact problems. And I didn’t know about your product until more recently, so I was going to be buying some myself, actually. But getting back to the story, and that was actually in your Kickstarter page. You had a lot of different press mentions. So were those from before the time when you had the project kind of going along and you were getting some precedent? Or was it all from when you did the Kickstarter?

Don: Yeah, I know. It’s all from the Kickstarter. The Kickstarter community is such an amazing community of people. And when we launched, we really just thought this is going to be some of that for friends and family and our extended network, and that’ll probably be the extent of it. And we actually launched at midnight so that we could get all of our links together for social. And there’s no way to grab those until you hit live on the campaign. So we launched at midnight with the intention of getting all of our links together for 8 a.m. and then kind of pushing out to our social networks. And we had friends and family who were scheduled to share. And we were going to do this whole big launch. And I hit go on the campaign, and within—I don’t know—maybe 30 seconds, we had our first backer. And I was like, “I haven’t even told anybody we launched yet. What just happened?” And I realized there’s somebody in Singapore. And I was like oh. There’s somebody on the other side of the world that’s awake that follows Kickstarter projects, and they’re looking for cool new stuff. And they’re like, “Sure, I’ll give you 10 bucks.” And so we went to bed that night, and by the time we woke up, we had already raised $1700 in our sleep. So the rest of it was just kind of like we launched at 8 a.m. via our social campaign that we had started. And it just took off. 

We had a friend of a friend who promoted it on social. And they had a friend who worked for Mashable. So Mashable picked this up and they did it, and they put us on there. Somebody from Uncrate was looking around scope in the Internet for cool new stuff and found us and put us in an EDC and we were on there. BuzzFeed put us on a list of tips for glasses-wares. So the Internet is always looking for cool, fun new stuff to talk about. 

Kickstarter was really the driver getting us in front of those people. And I credit it fully to the Kickstarter community. It’s just an awesome group of people who love new projects and new fun ideas and love to be a part of the process. We had a bunch of issues during our Kickstarter, and all of our backers were so supportive. As long as you communicate to your backers and you’re really making them a part of the process, they love it. I got so much support from people being like, “Hey, we’re behind you. We’ve got your back. Don’t worry. It’s going to happen. And that was so meaningful. And I can’t stress enough. If you have an idea, if you’re looking to do something, find a community like Kickstarter or find one in your town, an entrepreneur center or somewhere where you can get involved in the community of people who are like-minded, because that one aspect is so huge. When it gets tough—because it will; it gets tough for everybody—you need community around you to support you and keep you going.

Chris Guthrie: Definitely, that’s great points. I’m curious too. And let’s actually start to slowly transition toward the present time. What did you do after Kickstarter? Because I know that sometimes people raise a bunch of money on Kickstarter and then it’s okay, how do we continue that momentum forward? So after that Kickstarter launch, what did you do to kind of keep things going? And then that can lead us up to the Shark Tank time.

Don: Yeah. That’s actually a great transitional point. What we did is we launched our Kickstarter, like I said, in April. We had two different stages to our Kickstarter. In the first stage, we did it all by hand. So we did the first 2000 units all by ourselves. My wife and I, we made all of them. And then we joined with a manufacturing partner for the second stage of units. That would be all remaining units. 

I think one thing is to always plan, not only for failure, but for successes. A lot of times as a business owner, you’re looking at like what’s the worst-case scenario, what’s the worst thing that can happen. And you don’t think about what’s the best-case scenario, and beyond that, what happens if we exceed the best-case scenario and go crazy. And a lot of Kickstarter projects fail because they get too big. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Flint and Tinder, but they had a product. They wanted to bring manufacturing back to Brooklyn. They had an underwear project, and I think their goal was $3000, and they ended up raising $300,000 by the end of the campaign. And they actually lost 30 grand on the project. And in my research, I found that story and really realized, hey, you’ve got to not only plan for what happens if things go wrong; you’ve got to plan for things can go right. So I knew what we could handle on our own, and then I knew we needed to scale it. 

So we went to a factory to do that stage 2 because we knew that they could do 10,000 units in about 30 minutes. And so we joined with a manufacturing partner during the second half of our Kickstarter to do our product. Everything went really smooth, right on schedule, until the day that they actually ran our tubes. All of our tubes came off the line completely defective.

Chris Guthrie: Oh, no.

Don: And what we found out is that our product is tacky. Lip balm is greasy, and so it’s a completely different formulation. And the process that we used to fill the tubes is very manual, and it ends up making that so that we can actually use that tube. The minute you automate the process, the whole thing goes to crap and all the tubes locked up. They wouldn’t work. They would break. And so we lost a ton of inventory and found a solution with them. They were great partners. We worked something out. But that meant we had to go back to making it by hand. Basically, September is when we shipped for our Kickstarter. We spent all of that time up till September just trying to make inventory and figuring out how to fix this manufacturing issue and get things going. 

So in September, when we launched kind of post-Kickstarter, we hit the ground running on our website. It was just a scramble to get inventory and to improve our processes. From the very beginning, my mindset has always been to grow this into something that would be like a turnkey for us. So I have a fulfillment partner and a distribution partner and a manufacturing partner and I handle the stuff that I really enjoy, which is the customer service and the marketing and sales and that kind of stuff. Either that scenario or something where we run this, we build the supply chain, and we sell off to another company that wants the brand as kind of an extension to their product line. So with that goal in mind – We hadn’t prepared fully for manufacturing this by ourselves long-term. So we, since September and through till now, have been manufacturing this ourselves out of our house and have been trying to grow and continually process that.

You asked me this question about what have we been doing since the Kickstarter to keep things going, and the answer is not a whole lot on sales. We have just been trying to keep up with the inventory and the demand that there’s been online for our product. We are just now starting to, in the last three or four months, actually get smart about our sales and go out and actually move product. And a big reason that we have been not doing that is that I think if you watch Shark Tank, one of the big feedbacks we got from the sharks was that we needed to lower our price point, and we need to basically decrease the amount of products so that people get less run time with our product. That would be a nightmare scenario for us right now. And I kind of said this much in the Tank, but you didn’t get to see that part. It would be a nightmare for us because right now, we can’t keep up with the demand that we have. And if we’re going to increase volume like that tomorrow, we would tank. We wouldn’t be able to do it. And so we are figuring out those solutions to be able to scale and to be able to move quickly. And every day we figure out something that helps us get closer to that. And we’re working with partners to redesign our tube and get back into an automated facility. But you know, I wish it was that easy. I wish you could just call them up and get the thing done. But business moves at the pace that it moves. We are continually learning and improving our processes every day and improving our sales techniques.

Chris Guthrie: That was one of the questions that I had. I watched the episode, and they did a little segment before you came on and pitched the sharks and you talked about how you’re doing it yourself right now. And that was one of the questions if you have transitioned out of that yet or not. But it sounds like in terms of your long-term goals for making it more turnkey, and then maybe you’re going to potentially sell it down the road. But that’s definitely sound strategy. It makes sense to me to try and get to that point. But yeah, I can see how if you’re doing all the fulfillment yourself, then you’ve got to deal with trying to sell the product and everything else. And that’s going to cause a bunch of extra problems as well.

I actually have a few questions about Shark Tank specifically. Maybe you’ve heard about people that have been on the podcast. I know that, for us at least, this is the first time we’ve ever had anyone that’s been on Shark Tank. How did you actually get onto the show? And can you give us a little bit of a brief background about why you decided to try and do it and maybe how that process worked, for people that are curious?

Don: Absolutely. We had some friends that were on the show in season 5, and we asked them about the process. And basically, the process is the same for everybody. You’ve got to go through the casting director, and you can do that through their website And they have in the Shark Tank page, there’s just a single email that you send out. And the casting director looks through all of those and kind of sorts them. She’s pretty on top of her game. So she goes through – I think that they said they get about 100,000 applications per season. And then out of those 100,000, they shoot 100 or so entrepreneurs. So it’s a pretty crazy process, and they’ve got a lot of stuff to sort through. 

But I think the key to getting on Shark Tank is having something compelling. Now there are people that get on. And if anybody has watched the show, there are people from all different sorts of the business spectrum on there. And they’ve got to have entertainment. They’ve got to have stuff from all over. But if you want to take your business and it’s a legitimate business and you’re looking for an investment and you want to go on the show, I think the key is that they’re making TV, and so you’ve got to sell them on why you make for a good TV. And the easiest link that they have to be able to see that you will make for a good TV, I think the easier it will be for you to kind of get through the various hoops and gatekeepers that they have for their show.

Chris Guthrie: Definitely makes sense. I had a friend. We did casting in L.A. for a while. And you said it was always just like trying to find really interesting people or people that looked like they’d be entertaining. But yeah, that’s interesting to see. That’s the same thing online.

The other question I had is you mentioned before your episode aired October 9th, actually, just to confirm. When did you actually record that episode then?

Don: We recorded in June. They do two parts of the filming. They do one set of entrepreneurs in June and one set in September. And the way that their process works is they hold all the cards. So they’re very great to work with, but there’s a lot that goes in that production behind the scenes.

Chris Guthrie: Okay. The other question I had is your episode aired on October 9th, 2015. So when did you actually record that episode then?

Don: We actual recorded in June of this year. They shoot two different pods of entrepreneurs, one in June and one in September. And that probably changes from year to year. And they’ve got a lot of things that go into the process of making a TV show. 

But when you go into the Tank, they really hold all the cards. And you are kind of subject to day overshoot, just kind of like when you’re boarding an airplane. They don’t know how many episodes they receive will air and want to continue on. So you don’t know. Any time you go into the Tank, you don’t know if you’re going to air. You may get a deal and they don’t air your episode for whatever reason. So that whole waiting time from June to October was so nerve-racking that we basically found out two weeks before we went on the show that we were going to air. And it was a mad scramble to get ready and go.

Chris Guthrie: Jeez. So it’s one of these things where you think it might happen but knowing the odds, just you make it to the point of being filmed. Then you’re still going to have a chance that it might not happen anyway. So that’s nerve-racking.

Don: Yeah, it’s crazy. And it’s one of those things where you’re getting second thoughts. You’re like, “Did we make for good, compelling TV? Did we do enough? Should we have been more crazy? What should we have done?” But luckily, we did the best that we could. One of the main objectives in going on the show is just to represent our brand well, to tell people about our product, and to tell our story and where we’ve been, and we got to do that. And I’m really thankful to the producers and editors who allowed us to do that. You go in there for an hour, you’re on the carpet, and you’re at their mercy because they’ve got to edit that down into six minutes. So you think, “Man, they can make me say whatever and do whatever.” And you’re putting a lot of faith into their editorial opinions about you. But I couldn’t have been happier. They represented what happened in the Tank very well, and they gave us a fair edit. We didn’t take a deal. They could’ve made us look stupid or look like idiots for not doing that. But I think that they represented it why – I keep saying represented it. They did a great job representing our opinions and why we walked away from the deal that we did. And so for that, I’m super thankful. I couldn’t be happier with our edit and our outcome from the show.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah. I’d actually like to dive into that a little bit more, a few other questions about Shark Tank specifically. So you asked your deal – for those who may not have watched the episode — And if you haven’t seen the episode, I’ll link to it in the show notes. is the link for you to check it out. But you asked for $80,000 for 20 percent equity. And you received two different offers. I know Kevin, Mr. Wonderful, did a venture debt deal, 10 percent of sales until you’ve got $240,000 back and then 3 percent equity after that because he is Mr. Wonderful. And then Troy Carter, the other guest shark, offered $80,000 in loan until $120,000 back and then 10 percent equity. So you mentioned specifically that you didn’t want to use debt in the businesses, as you don’t have any right now. I’m just curious if this is just a general aversion to that, maybe from past experience building business before? Also maybe just the deals weren’t that attractive, right?

Don: Yeah, it was both. When you’ve watched as much Shark Tank as I have, you understand when Kevin was making an offer, that’s based on him wanting to be involved in business. Or he’s just making an offer because he knows you’re going to make that money, and he’s trying to pull money out. And pulling money out of the business right when you’re at the beginning stage is the worst thing that you can do. And they always hound entrepreneurs for doing that. If an entrepreneur is taking a $100,000 salary out of the business right away, they just destroy them for that. And so I knew that the offers were not legitimate offers. One thing about the show is only about 30 percent of the deals that you see made on TV actually goes through due diligence. And actually, those deals go through and get made. And so I just knew with them. And the preference that they had to take that money out of the business right away, there was no way we were going to actually close that deal and finalize that deal. So going into the Tank, we knew what we wanted, we knew who we wanted, and we were willing to walk away if we didn’t get it. And so it was pretty easy to walk away from the offers that were there because we knew the value that our business has and we knew the value of the Shark Tank platform. And we would see that money regardless of the deal being made. 

We really wanted to partner with Mark, and it was pretty evident that we were gunning for Mark the whole time.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, I noticed that.

Don: He and his business development team, lots of people have great things to say about them. We wanted to partner. We tried to make it really affordable for them to take a risk with us because we knew we were there really early. We knew we didn’t have enough sales to really get them extremely interested in our business. I also knew we were at this point in our company where we needed some capital to grow. We were going to do that in two different ways. We wanted to scale up what we do today, but we also need to redesign our packaging so that we can get back into an automated facility and do that. Luckily, we’ve been able to do that moving forward. After we filmed in June (we aired in October), we didn’t ever stop. After we went out and filmed, we just went right back to the drawing board and said, “We’ve got to keep this thing moving forward.” So we went out and increased revenues and had the best month that we had, the month before going on Shark Tank. And then Shark Tank just blew it out of the water.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, let’s dive into that, actually. I was curious because you mentioned on the episode the $136,000 in sales and $65,000 of it, roughly, in profit. So after that time leading up to Shark Tank, so from June onwards, how did your sales go? Did they continue to grow? I’m wondering if the sharks maybe thought they made a mistake. And I know again you mentioned before, it’s still early for the business, but it sounded like it continued to grow.

Don: Yeah, absolutely. After we left the filming, that was another reason I wanted to walk away from those deals. I looked at do I want to spend my summer out there selling and working on my product? Or do I want to spend it dealing with Kevin’s lawyers? And I was like I’ll choose the former. I want to go out there. I don’t want to sit here and kind of go back and forth with them. We went out and started hustling. 

I think right before the show, our sales were just over $200,000, so we did $64,000 or a little bit around that between June and the show. And that was just pure hustle. That was just us going out and just stirring up the social conversation online. We went to a trade show and talked to some folks there, and then just started moving product to optical shops where we knew we could get in and get the customers that are walking in every day that need their glasses adjusted, and we can be there to help out with that. And then post- Shark Tank, it’s just been absolutely insanity. We’re still trying to get our heads wrapped around numbers, but we’ve shipped over 12,000 orders in the last 18 days, and it’s been nuts.

Chris Guthrie: That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. We’re recording this on October 27th. We’ll be publishing it in November. So I was curious to see how much of a bump that is. I know that obviously, people get on, they see the show, and they go and buy the products that are mentioned. But I was curious to see a real-life example of how that was. So it’s great.

Don: Yeah, it’s a little bit of a wave. I did a lot of research and I’ve talked to a lot of Shark Tank companies to find out what did it look like after Shark Tank, what did it look like for entrepreneurs I got deals and entrepreneurs I didn’t get deals and entrepreneurs I walked away from deals, and kind of tried to get my head wrapped around what was happening in their worlds. And everybody kind of said the same thing, which is you get the initial wave of PR and then it dives back down. But when it dives back down, there’s a new normal. The tide has come in and now you’ve got a new level. I still don’t know what our new normal is. And in the first week, kind of leveled off, and then the second week kind of leveled off. This third week seems to be much more like that second week. But we don’t know yet. That’s the crazy part. 

We’re still pretty fresh into this, and we don’t know what the future will hold. But moving forward, we’re just focusing on repeatable marketing, stuff that we…

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask you. So you focused on those optical stores primarily? Or what are the main channels you’re focusing on to try and drive yourselves? I know you’re on Amazon, of course, and you have your website sales.

Don: Absolutely. We’re really a relational company, and forming those relationships with optical shops is our #1 priority because we know there are target customers walking in there every single day. And we know that we have a product that takes a little bit of consumer education because it doesn’t exist and it’s not just a strap that you literally just hook onto your glasses. It takes a little bit for people to figure out how much to apply and how to apply it, that sort of thing. So it’s really great to have an ally that’s on the ground that actually likes and enjoys the product and sees its usefulness to be able to sit there and demo it. We’ve been primarily focused on that. And then as well as just driving sales online, that’s where we have had the most success. And that’s what we do. And all of our social has been very organic and very much just turning it by hand. Everybody wants the shortcut in social. I tend to come from the Seth Godin camp where I’d rather have 10,000 rating fans than a million Instagress followers. I don’t want to have a bunch of bots following me. I don’t care about the size of the platform. I care about the quality of the interactions. And so all of our social has been aimed and targeted on getting those fans and building them, and turning detractors into promoters and working on doing right by people, because I think in business, that’s the #1 key, that you make sure that you can make things right with the people that don’t enjoy your product. When you start in business, you think everybody is going to like your thing. And the truth is that not everybody is going to like your thing. And the real measure of success is there should be people you should have somewhat polarizing product. If everybody likes and thinks it’s awesome, then they’re probably lying to you. And so you need to have that segment of your users that don’t get it. And if they don’t get it, then you’re probably doing something right.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s great. Those are great points. One of the questions to the Shark Tank aspect is that when you’re building a company, you talk about your numbers on TV show. Then instantly, everyone knows that you’ve got your pants off, I guess you could say, and everyone sees everything.

I was curious. You mentioned on the show that you have a unique blend. Is your formula itself patented? Or is that something that you have in place where you think, “Okay, this is where people can’t really come in and try and compete.” Or you figure we’ve already been building up. We’ve had a successful Kickstarter launch. We’re leveraging that into other media opportunities and also now on Shark Tank, that you’re going to have a pretty solid brand as it is there. If you want to compete, then they can compete.

Don: When we first got started on this, I went the patent route. And I’ve actually been down the patent path three times with Nerdwax. What it comes down to is you can’t patent putting wax on glasses as an idea. You can’t get a utility patent for that. That means that you can get a chemical formulation patent. But a chemical formulation patent is pretty much useless. If you had a synthetic compound like a drug or something like that, then the chemical formulation patent is going to help you out. But in my space – where I have a formula, it’s all natural and organic – really, I have to keep it a trade secret. So that’s where my protection is, that I keep my formula a trade secret. 

Now people that have actually done this, I know that it’s not just your formula; it’s your sourcing. It’s your supply chain. It’s all the things that you don’t get unless you’ve actually done it become protections. We’ve been hustling on this. I’ve been making a product for five years. I know what works and what doesn’t work. I also know that that’s not going to stop people from copying me. I know and have known from day one that the minute this gains traction, there are going to be people nipping at the heels with competing products. And we put ourselves out there by kind of going out there and saying, “Hey, we need $10 for this tube that’s going to last you six to eight months because we know we’re only going to get maybe two transactions out of you a year if we’re lucky. So we’ve asked for a big ask in $10. And the margins that we set on the show, it takes us 35 cents for a tube. However, that’s not our cost of doing business; that’s just our cost of goods. When most people hear that, they think, “Oh, you have like $9 in profit.” No, we’ don’t have $9 in profit. That’s just our cost of goods sold. And that’s a big thing with the public. Most people don’t understand the difference between gross and net. They don’t understand the cost of goods sold. They don’t understand your expenses in running business. We had $65,000 in profit, but we only took $20,000 out of the business. All the rest of that profit got turned right back into the business. I was listening to a podcast where they were kind of critiquing me. They were like, “Why are they in the Tank if they had $65,000 in profit.” I’m like, “Ah, if you only knew.” And one guy said I was greedy. And I was like, “I’m not greedy. I’m trying to run a business here. If you had any concept of what it takes to build this thing, man.” So all said, it’s pretty unnerving being in the early stages of going out and talking about sensitive parts of your business. But the more I do this thing, I’m like, “Yeah, bring it on. This is way harder than I thought it was going to be. And if you want to go ahead and go head-to-head with me, let’s bring it.” And it’s only going to make me better, and it’s only going to make our brand stronger because we’re proud of our product. Like I said, some people aren’t going to get it, but we’re not for everybody. And for the ones that we are for, we’re going to treat you right. We’re always going to do right by you. And whatever that means and whatever that takes, we’ll make sure that at the end of the day, the experience that you had with our brand, you walk away going, “Man that was awesome. I haven’t had that experience with other products that I’ve purchased online.” 

Chris Guthrie: I love it. I love your attitude that if people want to compete, “bring it!” I think that’s great. I think those that was natural barriers to entry are key. That’s also helpful. But I also like that attitude that if people are going to compete, you know how hard it is to build a business in the first place, that go ahead and bring it on, and you can take them. So that’s awesome. I told you before I want to try and keep it to a specific time, so I think we’ll wrap it up here in a second. But is there anything else that you’d like to last-minute add that I perhaps didn’t ask? I know when we talked ahead of time that there are plenty of things, directions for you to go. But overall, I’m pleased with everything we’ve covered.

Don: Yeah, absolutely. My thing for folks that are getting into this space and they’re selling online, your product is your baby. And you want to take care of it, and you want to nurture it. You have to be able to look at your business objectively. And I am able to stand firm. When I have issues with customer service or I have people that are not getting my product, I have already asked those questions. They’re not telling me something that I don’t already know about my product. You’ve got to ask the hard questions. Mark always says in the Tank. He’s like, “You’ve got to treat every day like somebody is out to kick your ass. And you’ve got to think how would I kick my own ass. And then you’ve got to go out and you’ve got to work from that standpoint.” So when you’re looking at your business, hustle like you’re trying to beat yourself. Run your race. And it’s really easy to get online and see everybody else in your space and figure out what they’re doing. Find out what you want to do, and then find ways to just keep making it better. And if you do that, that’s going to be your edge, that’s going to be your competitive advantage, and that’s going to help you move forward into the future and build a brand.

Chris Guthrie: Don, I love it. Thanks so much for coming on and sharing your experience. I think it was great. Thank you so much.

Don: Absolutely, thank you, Chris.


Outro: All right. And that was the episode with Don. I personally had a lot of fun speaking with him—not only because I think he had a great outlook in terms of business and how you should treat your customers, but also because it was great that he had been on Shark Tank and he was willing to share with us numbers both leading up to the episode after he got it recorded and also how sales were doing after the episode had already aired. I thought that was really cool insight, so hopefully, you enjoyed it as well.

One of the things I want to mention before we go, you can go to to sign up for a free trial of Salesbacker, which can help you get more reviews on Amazon. And more reviews you get on Amazon can help you drive more sales. Don is using it with Nerdwax, and you can use it as well when you go to