- Company: Bibbitec
- Owners: Susie and Steve Taylor
- Asking Price: $40,000 for 14% equity
- Final Deal: None
- Sharks Who Took The Bait: None
- Season/Episode: Season 4, Episode 14
Bibbitec Before Shark Tank
Susie and Steve Taylor are the parents of two young, very messy boys. During an airplane trip, the kids rolled around in the row and made everything dirty, but somehow Steve was spared. He was wearing a performance fabric shirt and it simply wiped clean. The couple had earlier argued about the cost of bibs because they would get stained and hold onto odors, even when washed. The Taylors were tired of throwing away money on junky bibs, so after their airplane experience, Susie was inspired to make a better quality bib that you wouldn’t have to throw away.
Their Bibbitec bib is made in the U.S. and the fabric is toxin-free. They are coming to the Shark Tank to ask for $40,000 in exchange for a 14% stake in their company.
Bibbitec On Shark Tank
The Taylors approached the stage, introduced themselves, and asked the sharks to invest in their product. They told the story about how their airplane experience had inspired the bib, and then Steve described how easy it was to slip the bib onto a child while Susie demonstrated, using a doll. The couple said their bib was American-made, non-toxic, and wouldn’t stain or retain odors.
Susie then applied mustard to the bib and showed how easy it was to wipe it clean. When they began to pass samples to the sharks, Barbara said she wanted to inspect the dirty one. Daymond asked if it was made of neoprene, and Susie told him it was a poly-nylon blend. It was also patented and non-toxic.
Barbara asked about their selling price. Susie said they sold the bibs on their website for $24.95. Kevin wanted to know what it cost to make. When Steve said the cost was $15 per bib, Kevin reacted in horror. Susie responded to Kevin’s reaction and said people were willing to pay $48 for the bib, but Kevin was still stuck on the high cost to produce them. Why did they cost so much?
Susie told him the fabric was expensive, but then Kevin shouted that you couldn’t make money selling bibs in America at that high price point. It would be cheaper to buy a bunch of regular bibs and then throw them away when they got dirty.
Steve told Kevin that their bibs would last four years or longer, and Susie added that moms were spending $400 annually on cheap, throwaway bibs. Robert didn’t believe that. He wanted to know how many they had sold.
Steve told the sharks they had sold 2,000 bibs in four years, and Kevin just shook his head. Robert asked what they had made in the past 12 months, and it was only $17,000. Robert said, “That’s it?”
Kevin went on to say that the majority of bibs are not bought online. There were two or three big-box retailers that sold baby apparel. Why hadn’t the Taylors been able to get into retail stores? Susie said their product was hard to sell without first educating the customer. Retailers had also confirmed that bibs are a bait and switch item and that the stores use cheap bibs to get moms into the stores.
Hearing that, Kevin confirmed what he had said earlier – people don’t want to buy expensive bibs. But Susie contradicted him and said that people bought the $48 bibs with no hesitation.
Robert questioned why they hadn’t tried to license the product to a company that already manufactures bibs. Susie said she had tried looking for manufacturers that could sell the bibs at a lower price but they were all Chinese firms, and she wasn’t okay with using toxic fabrics that are potentially unsafe for kids. She wanted to produce her bibs in America and to make sure they are safe. But Kevin said the high cost is keeping her product away from many Americans, and tossed out the outrageous allegation that she was hurting kids because most people couldn’t afford to buy her bibs.
Kevin asked if they had made any money. The answer was “no.” Steve admitted they had invested $75,000 into the business but hadn’t seen a return on investment. Kevin wondered how long they were willing to lose money, but Steve said he had some cash he was willing to invest if he couldn’t find an outside backer. Susie disagreed. She said they couldn’t afford to fund the business any longer.
Kevin said he thought it was time to take the bib behind the barn and shoot it. Susie said, “Absolutely not.”
Daymond asked if they could get the price down, and Susie said she thought they could if they could get a large order. With Kevin shouting that the bibs needed to cost $2 in order to make money, Daymond asked what was the magic price point they needed to sell it at retail. Steve said they could sell the smaller bib for $19.99. Daymond then advised that they would have to get the cost down to $5 if they hoped to see a profit on a bib priced at $19.99. Steve said he was open to finding a new material that would cost less to produce.
But Robert was more concerned that they wouldn’t be able to sell the bibs in large quantities. He said they weren’t doing a good job explaining how that would happen. Were they not selling enough because the bib was too expensive? Susie said they weren’t selling enough because her job as a mom came first, which led Robert to say, “You’re not selling more because you’re a mom?”
Susie seemed agitated by Robert’s comment, and Steve told her to take a breath. Daymond then asked why Susie was getting emotional. She replied that she felt a lot of pressure as a stay-at-home-mom to do what’s best for her kids, and she felt strongly that moms were throwing away money on bad products. She also said that she and Steve had earlier argued about how much she had spent on bad products.
Kevin said that although her story was heartbreaking, he and the other Sharks were looking at this from a financial perspective. They were losing money, so why would any investor want to join them? Steve felt they were at the tipping point, but Kevin wanted to know when that was going to happen. Susie shouted, “Right now!
Mark said fighting with Kevin was like arguing with a wall. For his part, he thought that the product was good, the price point was fine, and that it shouldn’t be sold at retail. However, he didn’t think Susie should run the company. She should find a college student who was knowledgeable about online marketing and have that person run with it. He admitted he was not the right person to help her, so he was out.
Barbara felt a sales force made up of moms could sell their bibs and that Mark was right – it shouldn’t be sold at retail. But her instincts told her she shouldn’t be involved with this product. She was out.
Kevin said Mark and Barbara were lying to the Taylors by providing encouragement when there was none to be had. He dropped out as well.
Daymond then said that he couldn’t help them to educate customers about the product, so he was out too.
It was down to Robert, but Robert said he couldn’t find a good strategy as to how to sell the bib. The Taylors didn’t have a plan to make the product successful, so he was out. With that, the Taylors were out of sharks, and no deal was made.
Final Deal: None
Bibbitec After Shark Tank
Immediately after the episode, Bibbitec’s sales surged. The night the show aired, the company made $75,000 in sales and that weekend it earned another $150,000. Unit sales went from 2-3 per day to about 1,500 per day but eventually leveled off at 50 per day.
Soon, there was a shift in leadership, and Steve took the helm. They started selling the bibs on Amazon for $22 each, and ultimately sold 3,000 units.
In 2018, the Taylors shut down the company. It turns out Susie is a trained actress and it appears she has returned to that profession. She has a blog where she relates her experience on Shark Tank, and includes one post where she tells her reader that she’s “letting go” of the business.
Bibbitec had a good run, given its high price point. In hindsight, Barbara had the best idea for a sales strategy when she suggested that a sales force of moms could have made this product a big hit. If the company could have held out a couple more years, it could have seen success using social media marketing. Niche products seem to take off when they go viral on Facebook.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Bibbitec, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.