Johnny Georges has a deep respect and passion for the American farmer. He worked in the citrus and irrigation industries for over two decades with his father, Rick. In 1984, the two of them created a plastic device to put around tree roots to prevent frost damage and save water in the process. Over the years, a few farmers used the Tree T Pee, which was limited for purchase to a local region.
With global concerns for water conservation increasing and its impact on farming-related industries, Johnny was able to offer a way for farmers to save money and water while tending to their crops. He had a product that farmers could use to see an immediate effect on the way they do business. Johnny entered the Shark Tank to see if he could get some capital and support to expand the Tree T Pee to help farmers across the country.
Tree T Pee Dives Into the Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 5 Episode 7
Tree T Pee is an effective method of conserving water through the irrigation process, reducing the amount of water used per tree from 25,000 gallons annually to just 800 gallons a year. Johnny is asking for $150,000 in exchange for a 20% share of Tree T Pee.
Johnny knows his business and his product. He has seen it in action and understands how it can help the farmers he has worked with for years. However, he is not a public speaker, and being unused to the big lights and cameras, as well as the panel successful entrepreneurs he is pitching his business to. As he began his pitch, Johnny felt the pressure of the moment and he froze, unable to remember the details he knew and had memorized.
Guest Shark John Paul DeJoria lets Johnny off the hook and asks how the Tree T Pee system works. The plastic container wraps around the base of the tree to collect up to three inches of rainwater within an hour. Similar products have tried to more efficiently get water to tree roots, but the wind would hamper those efforts. Johnny has a utility patent on the Tree T Pee, which is currently only in a small five-county area in California.
The Tree T Pee costs $3.59 to manufacture. Johnny has made over 125,000 units, but sells them for only $4.50 each, a very low profit margin. The Tree T Pee is designed to last for five years, but the oldest one has been in use since 1984.
Johnny told the Sharks that his father, Rick, was a pioneer and innovator in the irrigation industry. He explained that when the weather turned cold and a freeze was on the way, he and his father would place dirt over their trees to protect them. One day, the pair constructed a makeshift tee-pee with a piece of plastic and placed it around the base of a tree. The idea for the Tree T Pee was born.
Mark wants to know about Johnny’s distribution efforts. Johnny explains that he has not been able to investigate worldwide distribution The Tree T Pee has been sold to a handful to commercial nurseries in Florida, but that is about the extent of his network.
Johnny shared a tale with the Sharks about trying to sell the Tree T Pee to a farmer and being kicked off the property by the farmer’s wife. He tried to explain to her that he had a way to save them water and money and keep their trees from freezing overnight. Before leaving, Johnny left the woman his business card and a few samples of the Tree T Pee for them to try. A week later, the woman called Johnny to pay him for the Tree T Pees and place an order for almost 5,000 more.
Mark wondered why he was only selling them for $5 when he could probably get at least double that amount. Johnny countered that when he is dealing with farmers, he tries to be as honest as possible and give them the best deal he can. He is selling them in bulk, thousands at a time. Kevin explains to Johnny that there is not enough of a profit margin to make it worth the efforts of a large distributor. He said it would take a large operation to seek out farmers and that the profit margins would not make those efforts cost-efficient. Kevin bows out.
John Paul is clearly impressed with Johnny’s efforts and feels he is sincere in wanted ot help farmers save money and help water conservation efforts. He says that American farmers are the foundation of the country. He thinks farmers would be willing to pay up to $7 for the tremendous benefits of the Tree T Pee. John Paul thinks Johnny is doing a lot of good for the farmers of this country and wants to partner with him to do a whole more. Without any further hesitation, John Paul says that he will give Johnny everything he’s asking for – the entire $150,000 in exchange for 20% of Tree T Pee. Johnny accepts and makes a deal they both hope will have a positive impact on farmers across the country.
Tree T Pee After Shark Tank
Since his appearance on Shark Tank, Johnny has been working with John Paul to make presentations to big corporations. Tree T Pee sells for $9.97 at Home Depot locations in Florida with hopes of getting into a much wider market. The black version of the Tree T Pee is available on their website, and their social media properties are active and growing, with over 36,000 likes on Facebook.
Johnny’s father Rick passed away over a decade ago, though he surely would be proud of the work his son has done on behalf of the American farmer. Now with the financial assistance and business support from John Paul, Johnny can expand the reach of the Tree T Pee to help farmers save their crops, their water, and their money.
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