Children are often scared and intimidated when they are sick and have to take oral medicine. Tiffany Krumins is an Atlanta native with a medical background and an entrepreneurial spirit. Working as a nanny she dealt with many children who struggled with her to take their medicine, something many parents can relate to. A particularly stubborn boy with Down syndrome inspired Tiffany to create a method of dispensing medicine that would ease his anxiety. She put together some fabric, sponges, and a plastic medicine dropper to create a prototype of Emma the Elephant, eventually changed to Ava the Elephant. She even added a recordable audio chip from a greeting card to make it talk.
She knew it was a good idea and it was working for the children she was watching. However, Tiffany lacked the knowledge and experience in product development and ran into issues with getting a patent and how to actually get the product into retail stores. She sent in an application to the Shark Tanks and was invited to appear on the premiere episode of the show.
Ava the Elephant on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 1 Episode 1
Tiffany entered the Shark Tank asking for a $50,000 investment in exchange for a 15% share in the business. She shared her story about how the idea came to her and her desire to take the stress and anxiety of giving children medicine, for both the child and the caregiver. She passed out Ava the Elephant prototypes to the Sharks and demonstrated how it worked.
Kevin O’Leary’s first concern was that once the children connected Ava the Elephant to taking medicine it would not be nearly as effective. Tiffany defended her product and explained that children at not necessarily afraid of the bad taste of the medicine, but the process of being given the medicine. Ava the Elephant actually congratulates the child for taking their medicine, which brings a smile to their face. Kevin felt Tiffany had more of an idea than an actual business and questioned whether he would be able to get a return on investment. He was out. Daymond and Kevin Harrington agreed and they declined, too.
Robert liked the product and could see the drive and determination of its creator. However, he agreed with his fellow Sharks that it seemed like Ava the Elephant was a great idea, but not substantial enough for a full-fledged business opportunity. He felt it was in Tiffany’s best interests to try to work out a licensing deal with a big company rather than getting investors for Ava the Elephant. She did not seem to take the licensing idea in place of an actual investment. Either way, Robert dropped out, too.
That left Barbara as the final Shark left. She loved the concept and thought it would perform as advertised in helping children take their medicine. Barbara was having trouble seeing how she would get her money back with just a 15% share of the business. She offered Tiffany the $50,000 she was asking for, but wanted 55% of the business, which would give her controlling interest in the future of Ava the Elephant. Tiffany tried to negotiate a deal that would allow her to retain control of the operations, but Barbara was not interested in playing hardball with her. This was the only deal she was offering.
Tiffany appeared on the very first episode of Shark Tank. She did not have the benefit of seeing other entrepreneurs on the show negotiate with the panel to see what worked and what didn’t, what had value and what didn’t. Over time, those who come to try to strike a deal began to take into consideration all of the benefits of partnering with one of the Sharks, financial and otherwise.
In the moment, Tiffany figured out on her own what Barbara could bring to her business, in addition to the capital investment to get a patent and increase visibility. Barbara’s business experience, contacts, and offer to mentor her as she learned the business side of things led Tiffany to accept the deal. Barbara told her they were going to make a lot of money together.
Ava the Elephant After Shark Tank
Barbara wound up sinking a lot more than the $50,000 she offered Tiffany on the show. Getting Ava the Elephant placed into the market was more expensive than originally thought, leading Barbara to invest upwards of $285,000 in the business.
A pharmaceutical recall rendered the dropper in Ava the Elephant useless. Tiffany was forced to go back to the drawing board and redesign the product.
Tiffany and Barbara were able to overcome those obstacles and turned Ava the Elephant into a huge success. There are in-home and hospital versions of Ava the Elephant and Tiffany is happy that she has been able to be a job creator for American workers.
Shortly after appearing on Shark Tank, Tiffany was diagnosed with cancer at 27 years old. She set up a command center in the hospital and worked her business while doctors worked on her cancer. She learned how to deal with vendors, investors, and manufacturers, with the help and support of Barbara’s years of business experience. Tiffany ultimately beat cancer and her business is thriving. Ava the Elephant was made available in thousands of retailers across the country, including Amazon, CVS, Kroger, Safeway, Walgreens, and Walmart. Ava the Elephant is now available in multiple languages and sold around the world in Canada, Australia, Europe, and Asia.
Barbara was Tiffany’s first guest on “The Tiffany Krumins Show on Business RadioX.” Tiffany has been referred to as a “modern-day Mary Poppins.” Her story has been featured on Forbes.com, TVGuide.com, MomInventors.com, and a host of other online and print publications. Tiffany signed a licensing deal with Baby Delight, a support group dedicated to enabling parent-inventors.
Tiffany used her passion and profession for helping children to create a useful tool to bring a smile to their faces and help them get better when they are sick. Struggling through her own medical issues while trying to grow her business showed her commitment and drive to make Ava the Elephant a success.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Ava the Elephant, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.