Nerdwax Before Shark Tank
As a touring audio engineer, Don Hejny spent a lot of sweaty sessions setting up for outdoor concerts, and found that while working, his glasses would often slip down his face. That was what inspired the Nashville resident to create a product that would help keep eyeglasses in place throughout the day, because even people who don’t have excess perspiration struggle with this problem.
He created a Kickstarter for the product, called Nerdwax, which ultimately raised nearly $62,000. But the manufacturing company he hired turned out defective product, so he needed to start over again, resulting in a loss of time and money. He and his wife chose to make the beeswax-based formula at home, and when Don appeared on Shark Tank with his wife and two kids, they were still doing everything themselves. The Henjys would ask for $80,000 in exchange for a 20% stake in the company.
Nerdwax on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 7 Episode 3
Don, his wife, Lydia, and their two kids walked onto the stage sporting eyeglasses and sunglasses. After they gave a performance about the need for the product, Lydia demonstrated how to use it. Then the family passed eyeglasses and tubes of Nerdwax to the Sharks.
Daymond asked how Don had come up with the idea for the product. Don told him about his experience working outdoors at concerts and festivals, and how he had struggled to keep his glasses from sliding down his face. He had looked for a solution by searching for commercially-available products, but they were either uncomfortable or didn’t work. Nerdwax, Don said, was organic and cosmetic-grade, so it wouldn’t make your skin break out.
Guest-Shark, Troy Carter, asked Don where he could buy the product. Lydia told him it was available online for $10 a tube, and that they also worked with 30 wholesalers. Troy wanted to know how much it cost to make Nerdwax. It cost only $.36 per tube, and they had achieved $136,000 in sales to date. Of those sales, they had earned $65,000 in profit, and that was only a year and a half after starting the business. When they launched, they were getting a lot of media coverage from big outlets like Mashable and Buzzfeed, and that had contributed to their fast growth. Mark wanted to know what strategy they would use when they weren’t getting media sales spikes. Don said they were using social media and continued to monitor what was working for them.
Daymond asked about reorders. Don estimated that a single tube would last six to eight months. Nearly all of the Sharks thought that time period was too long. Kevin suggested that they change the size and shape of the tube (so it doesn’t look like lip balm), reduce the usage period to 90 days, and then drop the price to between $3.99 and $4.99. Mark disagreed and said that trying to grow that quickly would be a mistake.
Lori agreed with Kevin, and said they would sell much more if the price was lower. She was the first to drop out, stating that she didn’t think she’d be able to make back her money.
Daymond was out next. He thought it was too early to get involved and that they didn’t need any investors at this point. Don stressed that they needed working capital to scale, but Daymond couldn’t understand why they wanted to give away 20% of their company right now. He begged them not to take any investment money.
Then Kevin spoke up. He told them what they had was a product, not a company. He would get involved only if the $80,000 was a loan and that he receive 10% of sales until he made back $240,000. After that, he wanted 3% of the company.
Mark jumped into the conversation. He reiterated that getting too big too fast could be a problem, and that they would be better able to control their growth if they continued at the current pace. That said, he believed the company was too small and wasn’t a good investment for him. He was out.
That left Troy. He agreed that the company was very young, but that he liked to be able to invest early. Like Kevin, he would offer the $80,000 as a loan until he made back $120,000 and wanted 10% of the company. Kevin tried to justify why his deal was better than Troy’s, but Troy recognized that the Hejneys wanted more than just money – they wanted a partner.
Don agreed with Troy, but he emphasized that he didn’t want any debt. He declined both offers. Backstage, he justified his decision, stating he thought they’d be able to make it by continuing to do what has worked up to this point.
Nerdwax After Shark Tank
Within 72 hours of its Shark Tank airing, Nerdwax earned $150,000 in sales. And when Hejny was interviewed for a Shopify podcast in 2016, his product had become a million-dollar business.
A visit to the Nerdwax website shows that the company has introduced a couple of new products. You can now purchase cleaning solution, called Magic Drops, and a handy pouch that includes a cleaning cloth. Nerdwax also sold a cleaning cloth that looked like a slice of pizza, but it’s no longer available on the site (you can buy it here, along with a matching pouch). It also looks like Nerdwax took Kevin O’Leary’s advice by introducing new packaging. A slimmer tube with slant-edged product apparently helps to ease application. But it’s priced the same as the former tube, and not 50% cheaper, as the Shark had suggested.
The reviews for Nerdwax are mostly positive, with some people complaining that it doesn’t last as long as claimed. Competition appears to be slim; there are other products like Nerdwax in that they have a waxy consistency, but Nerdwax is unique in its ingredient list and packaging design.
Of the most popular social media networks, Nerdwax does best on Facebook, with over 10,000 Likes. The marketing strategy seems to be pull rather than push, as Nerdwax doesn’t do any advertising. Despite not having made a deal on Shark Tank, the brand’s association with the show – and Shark Tank’s wild popularity – has certainly been a major factor in Nerdwax’s success.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Nerdwax, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.