Since the third grade, Lani Lazzari has been using her entrepreneurial spirit and natural business talents when she sold hair scrunchies to her classmates. Lani had been dealing with the effects of a bad case of eczema since she was a little girl. Doctor appointments and endless attempts at prescription medications were not doing the job. The young girl took matters into her own hands and headed to the lab to find a solution for her and others who were suffering.
Lani spent hours researching and experimenting, trying different combinations of chemicals and formulas. Eventually, she came upon the perfect formula that cleared up her eczema and also worked wonders for her aunt’s psoriasis. She created Simple Sugars using an all-natural blend of oils and sugar crystals. Lani has been the CEO of Simple Sugars since she was 11 years old, holding her own meetings and running every aspect of her business.
Now 18-years-old and a new high school graduate, Lani was ready to break from her parents’ generous support and head out on her own. The confident young woman was eager to see if she could come away with some investment capital, and the advice and counsel of the Sharks on the panel to take Simple Sugars to the next step.
Simple Sugars on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 4 Episode 20
Lani entered the Shark Tank offering 10% equity of Simple Sugars in exchange for a $100,000 investment in her business. She shared with the judges her story about the creation of Simple Sugars and how her friends and family began to request her natural skincare formula. Now that she was a high school graduate, she could devote all her time to the success and growth of her business.
Lori helped Lani with a demonstration of Simple Sugars. The crystals remove the outer layer of dead skin so the combination of oils can reach the layers below and apply a softening agent. Lori rubbed the product into her hands and could feel the crystals melting. She raved about the strawberry smell and could feel the oils working on her skin.
Daymond wanted to get down to business, asking where Lani was in the production of the business. She explained that about 60% of her revenue came from online sales, in addition to sales in a high-end grocery store. She was projecting sales of $100,000 by the end of the year. Profit margins stood at an impressive 75%, with Lani only occasionally paying herself around $400 a month.
In the three months since she graduated high school, Lani had increased the retail presence of Simple Sugars from six stores to 20. She was in negotiations with an online retailer worth up to $150,000.
Lori brought up the issue of the claims Lani was making regarding Simple Sugars. Lani said she was very careful about the legal issues regarding her product and she was specifically avoiding making any claims that her product was a cure for psoriasis or eczema. She was legally allowed to point out the benefits of the ingredients she was using. Her dermatologist had tried out Simple Sugars and began promoting it.
Mark’s son was battling eczema and he thanked Lani for spending so much time and effort into creating something that could help. Nearly 10% of Americans had eczema. Over half complained about dry skin.
Robert was clearly impressed with Lani’s drive, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit. He wanted to know what was driving her work ethic. Lani saw her mom struggle in the corporate world and lose out on a promotion after taking maternity. Lani vowed to never be put in that situation and the best way to do that was to control her own destiny with her own business. She took responsibility for her own success.
That was enough of the sappy stuff for Daymond, who wanted to get back to the numbers. He wondered what Lani would do with the investment money she was asking for. She said she was looking to hire a sales staff so she could concentrate on finding new business instead of managing the accounts of active clients. She had three employees at her Pittsburgh manufacturing facility. Daymond felt the job Lani had done so far with Simple Sugars was impressive. Without personal experience in the industry, he did not feel like he would have much to add and he respectfully bowed out.
Lori loved everything about Simple Sugars. She loved Lani, her presentation and poise, and felt the product was of the highest quality. However, she felt the competition was too fierce. She would definitely be a customer but was not comfortable investing in Simple Sugars, and she was out, too. Kevin also felt the industry and the battle for retail shelf space was simply too much to overcome and he dropped out, as well.
Robert was also out. While he admired what she was doing, he felt Lani did not have a grasp of what it took to make Simple Sugars a success. Since she would not give up a larger stake in her business to match his risk assessment, he backed out.
The last remaining Shark was Mark and he made it personal. He wanted to know what his son could do about his eczema. Lani explained that her mix of exfoliating oils was the solution to his son’s problems. Her main competition was Fresh, which offered a similar product online for almost five times the retail price as Simple Sugars. Lani said her profit margins were still very high and she was looking to cut production costs even further by streamlining the process.
Simple Sugars was still in the early stages of growth and Lani was still learning the business world. If Mark was to invest, he would need to spend time to make sure things were headed in the right direction. It was a risky investment and Mark would want to be active in the decision-making process. He offered the $100,000 Lani was asking in exchange for a 33% share in the business.
Lani countered with an offer of 25% of Simple Sugars for the 100 grand. Mark held firm and presented his offer as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Lani accepted and she made the deal.
Though the rest of the Sharks passed on Simple Sugars, they all walked away impressed with Lani and wished her well. “She’s only eighteen!” Daymond said. “If that’s our future, we are in good hands.”
Where Are They Now? Simple Sugars After Shark Tank
Getting a deal to get capital and assistance from a successful businessperson was Lani’s goal for going on Shark Tank. She gave away more of her business than she was hoping to, but she got so much more in return. There is no way to accurately put a price on the value Mark’s insight and experience could do to help Simple Sugars and Lani succeed.
In the six months following her initial appearance on Shark Tank, Simple Sugars saw enormous growth. Less than two months after striking a deal with Mark, Lani saw sales grow to $1 million, forcing her to add a couple of dozen more employees and eight interns. She said Mark had treated her with respect and dignity, and she could not be happier with the business relationship they had formed.
Lani landed a deal with Destination Maternity, the largest company in the niche industry. Simple Sugars launched in all 575 locations at the same time, adding up to $3 million in revenue.
Proving to Mark that he made the right decision to go into business with her was a motivator for Lani. Mark felt Lani had what it took to make Simple Sugars into a $20 million business.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Simple Sugars, Shark Tank, or any of its subsidiaries.