Adversity sweetens the victory. Not all unfortunate events stay the way they are; there’s always a silver lining. At least, that’s what Frywall’s story is all about.
Frywall, a silicone splatter guard featured in Season 9 of the TV show Shark Tank, proved to be the sweet ingredient that gave its home cook inventor success.
Entrepreneur Yair Reiner from Brooklyn, New York brought to Shark Tank a simple but elegant tool that can take the mess out of cooking. After being laid off from his job, he worked on creating the Frywall Splatter Guard. Frywall is a silicone guard smartly designed to surround the pans to take out the oil spits and mess while cooking.
How did Frywall start the business?
Frywall’s creator Reiner was more of an entrepreneur by necessity. He personally loves to cook and it was the mess and splatter in his own cooking that led him to discover how to make his product. Frustrated by the constant spills and splatters while cooking, he looked for a useful splatter guard but did not find an ideal product. He then bought ubiquitous silicone materials online and decided to put it together to create his own version of a splatter guard.
Here’s a video of Frywall in action. Look how Frywall is able to prevent splatter while cooking a typically messy-to-prepare marinara sauce.
He felt Frywall had potential but did not jump on it immediately. He did not want to leave his steady paycheck at his old job and was reluctant about putting up a business even though he knew he had this golden idea that he invented in his kitchen.
Soon after creating the first Frywall prototype, Reiner got laid off from his job. That’s when he began to take things more seriously. After he lost his job, he worked on another prototype of Frywall three months later. After a few months, he began mass production of the product.
Originally it cost him $5.50 to produce Frywall and sold each at $25.00, making for a pretty decent margin. In 2016, he ran a Kickstarter campaign and successfully got $16,443 pledges from a target of $10,000.
Reiner had already earned $800,000 total sales of Frywall splatter guards just a year prior to his Shark Tank appearance in 2018. His product was being sold in 55 retail outlets around the US and he has wisely secured a utility patent for his invention before he pitched it to the sharks.
Did Frywall get a deal on Shark Tank?
Yes, Frywall did secure a deal with Lori Greiner, who sweetened her deal with a “golden ticket”, and it was actually done in a very memorable way.
Three sharks offered Reiner a deal after he made an impressive pitch. They also liked the sample products that came with a glass of wine each. The cooking demo he did in front of the sharks certainly helped in making a lasting impression.
What were the sharks’ deal for Frywall? Kevin O’Leary was the first to offer Reiner a deal of $100,000 for 15% stake in the company.
“No royalty, Kevin?” shark Robert Herjavec asked, wondering why in this case O’ Leary, infamous for asking royalty earnings for every product sold, was not keen on royalties.
“No. Straight 15% (equity),” O’ Leary replied.
Shark Daymond John was second to bid, matching O’ Leary’s offer, that is, $100,000 for 15% stake in the company.
Lori Greiner offered an unbeatable deal. She offered the exact deal that Reiner was asking for: $100,000 investment for 10% equity in Frywall. She even showed him a symbolic Golden Ticket (made of real gold, by the way) which, according to Greiner, “goes to my favorite product I’ve seen.”
O’ Leary joked back that he’s offering Reiner a “guitar pick” instead.
Lori additionally sweetened the deal by offering to fund purchase orders so that Frywall will have an indefinite line of credit.
Daymond tried to regain Reiner’s favor by revising down his offer to 10% equity in Frywall at $100,000 investment to match Lori’s offer. “And I’ll give you my gold tooth from high school,” joked Daymond.
Ultimately, Reiner happily went with Lori’s offer, telling her she’s the “perfect combination” for Frywall.
What happened to Frywall after Shark Tank?
Soon after the Shark Tank episode aired, Frywall went on promotional blitz by appearing on various TV shows.
It was put to the test in KWCH12’s Does It Work TV show by a store manager at Jimmy’s Egg who tested the Frywall Splatter Guard in the kitchen. They tried the Frywall on steak and other traditionally messy cooking ingredients and it hardly made a line of oil on the stove top. Frywall received a lot of rave reviews on the show after it was proven to be better than a traditional splatter screen.
In 2019, Cook’s Illustrated magazine called it a winner among splatter guards. After that, the Frywall sort of became a household name in splatter screen niches. In 2019 and 2020, Frywall was also featured numerous times on cooking shows and similar TV programs on CNBC, Los Angeles Times, ABC, and QVC which made the product more prominent than ever.
How much is Frywall worth now?
When Frywall was pitched to the sharks, Frywall’s valuation was at $1 million. This net worth was computed from Reiner’s requested funding of $100,000 in exchange for 10% equity in the company.
The actual net worth of Frywall as of 2020 remains undisclosed, but the company has already sold several million dollars worth of products worldwide, definitely exceeding its original $1 million valuation when it appeared on Shark Tank.
Frywall has branched out completely far from its modest beginnings of being sold in 55 independent retailers when Reiner pitched in on the show. These days, it has a presence in brick-and-mortar stores, plus they have added utility patents to prevent knockoffs from stealing the business easily.
The product is now showcased in big box retailer stores such as Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond. (At the time of the Shark Tank episode, Frywall’s owner said he was just discussing with the team of Bed Bath and Beyond with no distributorship agreement yet.)
Is Frywall being sold on Amazon?
Is Frywall on Amazon? Yes, various colors and designs of the Frywall splatter guard are available on Amazon. Since the Shark Tank episode, Frywall has added new colors and sizes to their product line to accommodate different types of pans. As part of marketing promotions, they posted a few Youtube videos in their channel containing recipes of things that can be cooked mess-free with the help of Frywall.
Frywall splatter guards are sold on Amazon from $17.95 to $28.95 apiece depending on the size.
The small red Frywall guard for 8-inch pans sells at a retail price of $17.95.
The green medium-size splatter guard, meanwhile, for 10-inch pans sells at a regular retail price of $21.95.
The biggest size, the large Frywall for 12-inch pans, is being sold for $28.95 regular price.
Lessons from Frywall on Shark Tank
During his interview after the successful Shark Tank pitch, Reiner mentioned that he could have taken another job at an industry that he did not like, but decided to pursue his dreams instead after being laid off. This certainly was a risky move but it paid off wonderfully for him despite the initial discomfort of being an entrepreneur.
During his pitch at Shark Tank, Reiner surprisingly did not immediately pounce on Lori’s golden ticket offer. He waited for all sharks to weigh in first. After Mark Cuban said he did not want to make a deal, that’s when Reiner chose to accept Lori’s offer. It could have pissed off Lori since she gave Reiner exactly what he was asking for, but Reiner chose to hear all possible offers. This is a sign of a smart entrepreneur who wants to make an informed decision based on all available information.
Getting the courage to begin and to get things going again is an essential component in running a business. Of course, it helps to protect a potential runaway product with patents and copyrights to safeguard it from competitors that will soon offer a cheap knockoff of the product.
Frywall certainly paid off handsomely for its inventor, but the journey certainly wasn’t easy. An innovative product, daily hustle and grit by the owner, and, yes, investment support of a big-time shark were key ingredients to cook this business venture to a steaming success.