In Shark Tank Season 8, Tara Brown proudly walked into the Tank donning heat-free hair curlers to make a great pitch.
“Who wouldn’t want to wake up with great-looking hair?” she asked.
That simply was her pitch — a promise to help women wake up with great hair, courtesy of her innovative product The Sleep Styler. The Sleep Styler is a set of heatless hair curlers and rollers that a woman can wear to bed so that she can wake up with voluminous wavy hair.
How did Sleep Styler start?
A practicing ophthalmologist, wife, and mother of two, Sleep Styler inventor Tara Brown is a busy woman. She knows firsthand how challenging it is for busy women to quickly get ready in the morning. She got tired of wearing her hair in a ponytail all the time because she never had time to style them in the morning.
The idea of the Sleep Styler came to her when she was undoing her daughter’s slept-in braid. She knew that the product she wanted would have to be sewn yoga towel fabric and memory foam, but she didn’t know how to do it. This is why she decided to enroll in fashion school to be able to learn everything she has to know about the hair business — while still working full-time as an ophthalmologist.
To launch her product, Brown started a Kickstarter campaign in 2016. She surpassed her target goal of $10,000 within 12 hours and closed the 30-day campaign with $46,938. She first sold the Sleep Styler exclusively on her website. In just 3 weeks, she was able to make $6,000 in sales.
What were the Sharks’ offers for the Sleep Styler?
Tara Brown went to the Tank asking for $75,000 in exchange for a 20% stake in her business. She needed guidance from a Shark, she explained, to help her grow the business.
During her pitch, Tara impressed the Sharks when she told them that she’s a practicing ophthalmologist, not a hairstylist. Even more impressive was the fact that she was able to start her business and successfully sell the product within a year from having the idea.
She continued to impress the Sharks when she said she was able to accomplish all of it because she could do the amount of work of three people in a day.
Shark Robert Herjavec asked her how much each set of Sleep Styler cost. A pack of eight retails for $39, Brown explained. She revealed that each pack only cost her $10 to make, which the Sharks agreed was a good margin.
Brown disclosed that she invested $100,00 of her own money for the business. She shared that prior to appearing on the Shark Tank, she had recently joined a beauty trade show where she drew a lot of interest from big buyers.
Clearly excited, Shark Lori Gernier jumped in, immediately offering $75,000 for 30% equity. She told Brown how it’s a genius product that would be perfect for QVC. She also said that it would make a great infomercial product. The catch was she wanted Brown to accept her offer immediately.
Kevin O’Leary tried to make an offer but was blocked by Gernier. None of the other Sharks was able to make an offer.
Did Sleep Styler get a deal on Shark Tank?
Yes, Tara Brown was able to land a deal with Shark Lori Greiner for her Sleep Styler product.
Brown’s impressive pitch got Lori so excited that she made an offer that she said would shut down the other Sharks. Hesitant, Brown wanted to hear the offers of the other Sharks.
O’Leary wanted to give an offer but Gernier discouraged Brown by saying she shouldn’t listen to him because “he was bald.”
With Robert Herjavec’s encouragement, Brown made a counter offer to Gernier with $75,000 for 25% equity. Gernier considered it and finally accepted the counter offer.
What happened to Sleep Styler after Shark Tank?
Within 24 hours of airing the Shark Tank episode, the Sleep Styler made an enormous $1.5 million worth of sales!
After just 8 months, Sleep Styler was able to earn $75 million total sales making Sleep Styler one of the best-selling products ever on the Shark Tank show.
As promised, investor Lori Greiner helped make the Sleep Styler available on QVC. It sold out within minutes after launching. They also released it in Walmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Their sales surpassed the $100 million mark in just six months, Lori revealed, thanks to a nationwide rollout.
In late 2017, Greiner took over the manufacturing and fulfillment of the Sleep Styler from Brown. Greiner’s company is now fully in charge of the operations side of the business. This was favorable for Brown because it gave her more time for her ophthalmology practice and for her family.
Is Sleep Styler still in business today?
Yes, it’s still in business and it’s currently on sale at Amazon with retail prices ranging from around $10 to $30. The Sleep Styler products are also regularly shown and promoted on QVC and also listed as items for sale on QVC’s official website.
How much is Sleep Styler worth now?
As of 2019, the Sleep Styler has made lifetime sales of more than $100 million! Wow!
This was reported in a CNBC article that also included Sleep Styler as one of Shark Tank’s Top 10 Best-selling Products. When Tara pitched to the sharks, she placed the company’s valuation at just $375,000. She definitely has made great strides in surpassing this humble valuation.
As of 2020, however, the actual net worth of Sleep Styler is unknown. But with total sales of more than $100 million, the company’s net worth is certainly more than the original valuation of $375,000 back in the Shark Tank.
Recently, the Sleep Styler buzz seems to have died down and the product is starting to receive a growing number of bad consumer reviews on Amazon and in QVC. As of 2020, it has a 3 out of 5 star ratings from more than 2,200+ reviews.
Sleep Styler creator Tara Brown’s present net worth also remains undisclosed. According to her website and her LinkedIn, she has expanded her medical practice from ophthalmology. She is now specializing in facial cosmetic procedures.
Lessons from Sleep Styler on Shark Tank
Sleep Styler creator Tara Brown is proof of the advantage of acting fast on a business idea. By acting immediately on her idea, she was able to create and sell her product ahead of its competitors. She did not waste time doubting and over-analyzing. Within a year, she acted on her idea and turned it into a multi-million dollar business.
Brown also proved that no matter how busy you are, if you really believe in your business idea, you can make time for it. She also did not let her lack of knowledge in sewing and manufacturing keep her from pursuing her idea. She enrolled in fashion school to equip herself for her business.
She saw the great value of having a partner who has the funds, connections, and knowledge to help her company grow more. She confidently gave a great pitch. She had impressive numbers prior to being on the show which gave the Sharks more confidence in her. Finally, she chose the right Shark to turn her business into an even bigger success.
Image credits: Shark Tank/ABC