Steve Gadlin is a Chicago web developer and a creative artist with a flair for entertaining. I Want to Draw a Cat For You was just one of the many ideas Steve had come up with over the years. The concept was simple. People would send him a circumstance or situation and Steve would make a cat drawing out of it. His background in the tech industry enabled him to design and build a website that performed well. Local media outlets promoted the concept, and he was starting to get exposure and traffic.
He did not have impressive financials to show for it because he wasn’t presenting a proprietary product. What Steve Gadlin had was the ability to entertain. He entered the Shark Tank hoping someone on the panel would believe in him and his creativity enough to invest in his latest venture.
I Want to Draw a Cat For You on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 3 Episode 2
Steve began his first nationally televised appearance by doing what he does best: Entertaining. He sang the Sharks a song about his unique service of custom cat drawings that ended with what he described as his “signature move.” Steve started his presentation by telling the Sharks that he believes there is a market out there “for stupid.” He explains that people pay him $9.99 for him to draw them a cat picture in whatever situation or circumstance the customer provides. People love seeing their concepts come to life in one of Steve’s drawings and get a big kick out their drawing being posted on his website.
Getting Down to Business
Kevin wondered exactly how big this business of Steve’s could get if he had to draw each and every order by hand. Steve estimated he could produce about 1,000 a week, producing large profit margins of $9.23 per drawing. He had sold over 1,200 drawing in one year. He was asking the Sharks for a $10,000 investment in exchange for 25% of the business. The capital would be used to expand his e-commerce presence and was looking to use the experience and connections of the panel to grow the idea into a huge moneymaker for him and them. Steve’s digital marketing expertise helped him get onto Groupon, where he sold almost 1,000 I Want to Draw a Cat For You drawings.
Kevin also expressed concern over Steve being a “one-man show’ and wondered what would happen to the business if something should happen to Steve that would make him unable to draw. He did not really see I Want to Draw a Cat For You as a legitimate business opportunity for him and he dropped out. Robert found it concerning that with as much free media attention he had received, Steve had only made $7,000 in profit. He was out, too.
Mark Steps Up
Steve Gadlin was just kind of contest Mark Cuban liked. He had enthusiasm and passion. He believed in his product and was not afraid to show it. I Want to Draw a Cat For You was all about creativity and thinking outside the box, one of the cornerstones of Mark’s long list of successful enterprises, and a major reason viewers tuned into Shark Tank every week year after year.
Mark offered Steve $25,000 in exchange for a third of his business, but only if Steve took the deal right then and there without hearing out the rest of the Sharks. This was a take it or leave it offer. He wanted Steve to be so excited about working with him that he would take the deal on the spot.
Steve hesitated while contemplating Mark’s offer. He paused long enough for Daymond and Barbara to urge Steve to hear them out, as they could be prepared to offer a better deal that could wind up making him a lot more money for his drawings. But Steve was excited about the prospect of working with Mark. He told Mark he would gratefully accept his offer under one condition – that Mark would draw every one-thousandth cat picture. Mark agreed and the deal was made. He joined Steve on stage and the two new partners reprised Steve’s opening dance.
I Want to Draw a Cat For You After Shark Tank
After his Shark Tank appearance, Steve received thousands of email order requests for his I Want to Draw a Cat For You drawings. Mark was making money off Steve’s drawings and was thrilled to have made the deal with this entertaining and creative guy. He has drawn over 19.000 cats since the episode aired.
His success with I Want to Draw a Cat For You hardly put an end to Steve’s creative output. He created a company called “Blewt,” which promotes such new ideas as I Want to Write a Song for You. While Mark also owns 33% of that side of the business, those ventures have not been nearly as profitable as the original.
At one point, Steve had decided to hang up his sketch pad and stop producing his popular and successful cat drawing business. He felt he had taken it as far as it could go. It was time-consuming and unnecessarily stressful. He also wanted to devote more time to his latest venture, a television show on a local Chicago station called Steve Gadlin’s Star Makers, which featured odd and bizarre entertainment acts. He raised $20,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to get the TV show off the ground. The show had gained a bit of a cult following and Steve did not want to divert time or attention away from that to keep drawing cats.
Fortunately, he never did give up the I Want to Draw a Cat For You business. He did raise the price to $29.99 hoping orders would be more manageable. Customers can still order and view drawing on his website. Mark continues to make money with every drawing Steve completes and still draws every one-thousandth order.
Steve Gadlin’s Star Makers is going strong in its second season on the air.
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