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March 21, 2018 3 min read 16 Comments

Going on Shark Tank in September 2016 was far and away the most stressed I have ever been. Yes, this includes any test that I have ever taken for school.

The stress of the moment came from having watched every episode on for the first 7 seasons of Shark Tank. I knew every startup that went on the show and pitched and knew the outcomes. I also THOUGHT I knew WHY each deal was done or not done. Kevin O'Leary is the guy who loves giving everyone a hard time. Robert Herjavec is the nice guy. Lori Greiner always loves the QVC angle. Barbara Corcoran was a true shark, Daymond John wanted to invest in cool even though he said he didn't and Mark Cuban, well I could never figure out Mark.

I went on Shark Tank thinking Daymond and Mark were going to both fall in love with our customized slide sandals and decide to go in together. If they didn't go in together, then I was going to ask them to as part the deal. It was surreal and crazy walking down to the stage. They have you stand in one spot for about 30 seconds to set the moment. Here I am looking at the Sharks and the Sharks are staring back at me. No one says anything and there are 400 cameras everywhere.

Finally, I hear someone yell “3…. 2....1....” and then I begin. "Hello Sharks, my name is....." And we are off and running. I thought the opening pitch went really well. I passed out the samples to each shark and they loved them. We had a pair of slides personalized for each Shark. They each took them out of the box and a few tried them on, walked around in them, and commented on how comfy they were to wear.

Shark Tank ISlide Deal Valuation

I knew valuation was going to be an issue. It is with every single company. ISlide was going to be no different.


I asked for $500k for 5% of the company.


I fought through a few of those questions with Kevin and Lori going out. Robert wanted something cool and I think footwear intrigued him as well. This was perfect. Robert then countered with $500k for 20%.


Way too much.

Robert Herjavec Mark Cuban Daymond John Lori Greiner Mr Wonderful

 

Now, I knew this going into the show but when it happens on TV and there is no going back, all your practice goes out the window. Then Daymond goes out. And then Mark goes out.


Crushed.


Now Barbara goes out. I wanted to do a deal. I wanted to do it to validate myself and the hard work of my team that brought us to this moment. At the time, I thought that was the only way to show the world proof.

I countered Robert at $500k for 10%. He really wanted me to reconsider and told me that we needed him to get us all these really difficult licenses if we wanted to grow. As I inched closer to saying yes, it all stopped. We have a good friend and investor who did exactly this for a living. I knew at that exact moment we were going to be alright, both in saying no and the future of the company. I knew I was going to walk away.


Holy Shit, I was going to walk away.........


When I called and told the team, I had no idea how they were going to take the news of no deal. I couldn't believe that I said no. The best feeling in the world was when I called the office and told them the story. Talk about going from being the most stressed to utter relief. They laughed and said, “you better not have taken that deal.” A full level of relief went through me........


And the rest is history......check out some of our Best Sellers here.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers, Justin Kittredge, ISlide, Shark Tank
Stand In What You Stand For - JK


16 Responses

Charlene Nickolan
Charlene Nickolan

November 03, 2020

Hi I just saw the replay of your episode and recognized your slides right away!! We pre-ordered them when our boys went to the Gronk camp last year in Mass. The quality is amazing and yes the boys say they’re comfy and we loved surprising them at camp. Good luck and it takes guts to walk away from Shark Tank!!! You’ll be fine.

Marcus G
Marcus G

March 27, 2020

The create your own function is hard to use in my opinion, also a nfl licensing would be sick.

CJ
CJ

August 16, 2019

I’m re-watching some of the Shark Tank episodes. I remember you from 2 years ago. You should’ve taken Robert’s deal. By now, your company would be into many millions of dollars. First, your website does not look anything like one to order products; a shark would’ve fixed that issue. Second, nobody hears about you now. Third, you would’ve gotten license deals and helped grow the product even more. Your attempt to remain greedy to keep that extra 10% and only offer Robert ten percent for what he brings to the table was silly. You can believe in a product and still allow others to move it forward.

Steph Thompson
Steph Thompson

July 25, 2019

The problem was (& why I believe you should’ve taken Robert’s deal) you were valuing its potential AFTER a shark hops on board puts in their hard work to help it get there. Why would you expect them to pay you both to work for you & for a hypothetical value that their connections & expertise would play a massive role in creating? You presented no real tangible scale strategy & your numbers, as they were, made the 10M valuation absolutely offensive to anyone with even an elementary business sense/acumen.

I don’t know how you’re doing now, but it’s been several years & I haven’t heard of your product until watching an episode of Shark Tank tonight. I’m not trying to knock you, but how you thought you could realistically strike a deal of 500K for 10% is beyond comprehension. Should’ve given Robert the 20% because, as Mark would say, “would you rather have 100% of a grape or 80% of a watermelon?” You were too focused on that equity, rather than the value he’d provide. Don’t you think if he helped increase your profits tenfold that it would make him deserving of & worth a measly 20% stake? 100% of 100K profit is still only 100k, whereas 80% or 10M would be 8M. I honestly couldn’t even believe he gave you the offer he did.

Just how a random viewer in America saw it play out. Take care.

Steph Thompson
Steph Thompson

July 25, 2019

The problem was (and why I believe you should’ve taken Robert’s deal) is you were valuing its potential AFTER a shark hops on board puts in work to help it get there. Why would you expect them to pay to work for you and a hypothetical value that their connections and expertise would play a massive role in creating? You presented no real tangible scale strategy to and your numbers as they were made the 10M valuation absolutely offensive to anyone with even an elementary business sense/acumen.

I don’t know how you’re doing now, but it’s been several years and I haven’t heard of your product until watching an episode of Shark Tank tonight. I’m not trying to knock you, but how you thought you could realistically get a deal of 500K for 10% is beyond comprehension. Should’ve given Robert the 20% because, as Mark would say, would you rather have 100% of a grape or 80% of a watermelon. You were too focused on equity rather than the value he’d provide. 100% of 100K profit is still only 100k, whereas 80% or 10M would be 8M.

Just how a random viewer in America saw it play out. Take care.

Keith Guyer
Keith Guyer

March 28, 2018

My take on the show’s outcome is exactly what we help clients do… Create BUZZ! You helped ISlide create buzz by being on Shark Tank #1 and #2 for saying thanks, but No Thanks! Way to go Justin & Team. I look forward to doing business with you down the line!

Marat
Marat

March 27, 2018

While I admire you staying true to yourself, you may have been better off taking the deal. I got a gift certificate 15 months ago, and just now ordered a pair. I was hoping and waiting for NHL licensing, but it never happened. I settled on something very generic, and ONLY because I had the gift certificate. Maybe Robert’s influence could’ve helped you nail down the NHL (and other) licenses.

Matt
Matt

March 22, 2018

Love the journey you are on! So great to watch as you keep breaking through walls.

Mike May
Mike May

March 22, 2018

Always follow your gut and I am certainly rooting fo you!

Armarni Johnson
Armarni Johnson

March 22, 2018

I’ve been following you guys on Instagram for what seems to be forever. I love how your product looks, just haven’t been able to order a pair because I have no idea what I want the design to be, but I’m working on it. Ive also watched enough of Shark Tank to know that not every business needs a deal. The fact that you’ve figured out that Shark Tank doesn’t make you certified means you see the value of your business & that’s all you need.

Jeff Knepp
Jeff Knepp

March 22, 2018

Great stuff, Justin. Love the product!

Joel Chariton
Joel Chariton

March 22, 2018

Thank you for the explanation. Never wanted to pry but always interested with your reason. I love your discipline and belief in your product.
Let’s do another commercial soon
Warmest regards
Joel
Dr. Joel Chariton

Mark Turcotte
Mark Turcotte

March 22, 2018

As a former Reebok employee myself, I am rooting for you!

Ted Yeschin
Ted Yeschin

March 22, 2018

Proud of you bud!

Cecelia Magargee
Cecelia Magargee

March 22, 2018

I love your story, Justin. Not just this blog, but your WHOLE story. We are all out here rooting for you!

Trevor
Trevor

March 21, 2018

👌🏾

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