As a young entrepreneur, pitching your start up business to a group of multi-millionaires can be nerve-wracking, but 20-year-old Tania Speaks did it with flying colors.
On a recent episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a reality show allowing entrepreneurs to propose business ideas to potential investors, she stood before a quite intimidating panel.
Speaks (19 years old at the time of filming) presented her beauty line, Tania Speaks Organic Skincare, to the Sharks: Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin OLeary, Lori Greiner, and Barbara Corcoran.
Cuban and O’Leary are usually the hardest investors to impress on the program. However, the startup founder captivated them both with her impressive start up business and her confidence.
During the show, Speaks requested $400,000 for a 10% stake in her brand in the show.
None of the Sharks made a deal because they didn’t consider her company a good fit for their respective portfolios. However, they had nothing but good words for her.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had anybody in 13 years of Shark Tank stand on that carpet that has achieved what you have,” Kevin O’Leary said. “But today, I don’t think I’m your Shark.”
Cuban said he wasn’t the right advisor for her products, while Greiner said she wanted to see third-party testing to verify if the brow gel’s claimed benefits are real.
After every Shark declined Speaks’ request, Cuban appeared to steer into a different direction.
“My wheelhouse is helping guide amazing entrepreneurs like yourself and helping them deal with the legal landmines that come along,” he said. “Maybe I can’t help with eyebrow [gel]… but I can give you guidance that can help you avoid a lot of the pitfalls.”
Cuban offered to invest in her start up business for $400,000 with a 20% stake, but with one condition—he would like Speaks to mentor his two daughters.
The mogul visibly choked up while he mentioned his teenage daughters.
“I want [my daughters] to meet you, and I want them to learn from you,” Cuban told her. “Maybe you’ll even learn something from them.”
Speaks said she would be “honored” to meet her daughters but countered his offer with a 15% stake. The billionaire investor, calling himself a “sucker,” accepted and closed the deal.
“I saw my daughters — and my son, for that matter — in her,” Cuban said. “If I can get her to connect to my kids, that’s more important than the money involved.”
As she walked out of the Tank, Speaks shared how excited she felt.
“I couldn’t ask for a better outcome. Like, it was amazing. They even said I would sit there one day and be a Shark. Like, that’s the highest compliment I’ve ever had,” she said, trying to keep her tears at bay.
Speaks launched her company in 2017 after being bullied from elementary school through middle school for her bushy and unruly eyebrows. The teasing got so bad that she tried cutting off her brows and ended up going to the emergency room.
Speaks was left with scars and a bald spot, so she searched online for organic ingredients to help regrow and tame her eyebrows.
After developing her own concoction of a growing and styling eyebrow gel, she started selling it in her high school’s bathrooms and at trade shows. Even her bullies lined up to get their hands on her product.
The eyebrow gel was such a huge success that she was prompted to expand and sell other skincare products, including beard growth oil, cleanser, toners, and moisturizers.
Upon realizing that her product line had a huge potential, she got a $10,000 loan from her mom to start her own company. Speaks eventually started selling on her own website, and she was able to pay back that loan in no time.
While the Sharks were touched by her backstory, it’s her business prowess that caught their attention. Speaks told the panel of investors that she made $1 million in revenue last year and $1.4 million at the time of filming, netting her $700,000.
Speaks also revealed that she manufactured her gel for $1.50 and sold it for $26, leaving Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, “humbled” by her. He even predicted that she would be sitting with the Sharks in the future.
“It’s hard to make Mr. Wonderful humbled, but I really am. Seeing such a young entrepreneur who’s had massive success and is already gearing up to take off higher,” Kevin O’Leary shared via Twitter.
It’s inspiring to see how this young entrepreneur turned a painful experience into a business opportunity! Check out the video below to see Speaks’ episode.
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