Thursday, March 13, 2014

@ Squeeky Knees: The Faces Don't Match the Feedback

I know what you're thinking.

It doesn't make sense. Why do all the Sharks have huge smiles on their faces, and yet have such negative comments about this company?

Which pitch made the Sharks smile like never before and simultaneously receive such harsh criticism?

The answer is...

Squeeky Knees was created by Ivan Barnes and Lisa Evans, a young couple with two adorable children. After constantly repairing boo-boos on her kids' knees, Lisa took her mother's advice to come up with something that would prevent her kids' knees from getting scuffed up and bruised in the first place. And so, Squeeky Knees was born!

Squeeky Knees are soft, squeeky pants for the baby on the go. Each leg contains a squeaky knee pad which minimizes bruises, and maximizes awareness as to the kid's whereabouts. Ivan and Lisa came into the Shark Tank asking the Sharks for an $80,000 investment in exchange for 20% of their company. The problem was, none of them were interested in investing. Here's why:

1) Not enough sales. Lisa created Squeeky Knees three years ago, and has since sold only 500 sets, generating a measly $10,000 in revenue. That's less than $3,500 a year!

2) Not enough time. Ivan has a career other than Squeeky Knees which consumes most of his work time. And Lisa, although she doesn't have a career per se, she is a full-time-mom which requires lots of energy and dedication to each of her children's schedules which undoubtedly includes doing carpool runs, playdate pickups, and toy shopping! As Mark Cuban put it, as a business owner you have to work like there's someone working 24/7 to kick your butt. And with so many external responsibilities, it would just be too hard to keep up with the demand and stay ahead of the competition.

3) Not enough Tylenol. The sound of little kids squeak as they crawl around the house is adorable...for a few minutes. After that, one can only imagine the headache that follows. Just imagine being home all day listening to a continuous squeaky noise that doesn't stop until you put your child to bed. The Sharks were getting tired of the sound after squeezing it themselves a few times, let alone listening to it all day long.

These three reasons were more than enough to make each Shark say "I'm out" (and probably make them want to take a nap after listening to all that noise). So that explains the negative feedback. But what's with the enormous grins on each of their faces? Let me show you:

Now you're smiling too! Why? Because it's irresistible. Baby laughter is contagious and no matter how hard you try, it's almost impossible not to laugh along with. And the same way you found yourself smiling and laughing along with the babies in this video, the Sharks had the same reaction. Every single one of them chuckled and smiled like never before in the Shark Tank as they "awwwed" the undeniable cuteness being portrayed on the screen in front of them. And that's where Ivan and Lisa hit the nail on the head. Starting off their pitch with a video that lifted the Sharks' spirits and instantly put them in a good mood was the best way possible to start off their presentation. The only issue was that the hard facts and realizations that came after, had the opposite effect. The Sharks were in love with the video, not the product. And that explains their smiley faces and negative feedback.

shark tank squeeky knees


  1. Kids are messy. They are loud, at times annoying and like the "Sharks" egomaniacal. I wonder, why even bother with them? My product, according to the sharks would be so loud and annoying that no parent in their right mind would EVER want this on their kid all day....ummm sharks, have you been in a kids room lately? My son has a talking poster on his wall, every toy is battery operated and makes some type of noise, siren or worse tries to talk to you!! Seriously a little squeak is nothing after being in the "battle zone" of my sons room. Secondly, It might just be me but I don't know any parent that has only ONE pair of pants for his/her little one. That said, this product is not for everyone. That's fair and I completely respect that. Here is what I take issue with:

    1. I led wrong. Instead of stating that we have been in business for 3 years BUT... the first year was spent on legal-patents, trademarks, llc etc. The second (which never made it to air) was focused on finding the proper foam, sound devices etc... And finally the sales during the third year. I SHOULDA said we have been selling for almost one year. I TOTALLY blew it there.

    2. Oh my favorite....NOT ENOUGH TIME to start and run a business. There are ALWAYS excuses as to why you can't do something. Imagine the audacity of a mother claiming she CAN start and run a business while balancing her PERSONAL family life. HA! Is this what the financial elite, those who have "made it in America" think of us?! Is it psychological warfare? Tell 'em they can't balance work and family so they won't even try....Seriously?! I was raised to always try for something that you believe in. Never sit back and wait for someone else do something for you because you can. Do, do do! Try for something. So I did, we have all seen what became of that. Finding a way to keep up with the demand for a product is simple, HIRE SOMEONE.

    3. See above. Again, I get it this product is not for everyone. I totally respect that. I just wish I was shown the same respect.

    Thanks for reading my rant,

    1. Lisa, thanks for reading and being a good sport!

      I think your product is great, and am sure you have had a nice increase in sales since your airing on Shark Tank. I was rooting for you to get a deal, I thought maybe Lori would be able to work something out to get you on QVC, but she just didn't see it. I hear from ST entrepreneurs all the time about how the pitch that was aired sounded completely different than how it originally went. But obviously the reason for that is all to make good TV and get the highest ratings for the show as possible. That is always their ultimate goal.

      As for that whole dialogue you had with Mark in the Tank about being a mompreneur, Mark's strong belief is that to be successful you gotta work like there's someone working 24/7 to knock you down. To a certain extent I agree with this principle, because in our times it is so easy to start a business and find a way to compete even when there are patents in place. But at the same time, I don't think he needed to tell you this. I commend anyone who is able to start a business and take it as far as you have while being a full time mom. And I don't think being a mom and a business owner are in any way mutually exclusive. However I do think, that because your work-time is limited, Mark was not interested. He wants his partners working for him around the clock, and because he didn't think that this was feasible in your case, he went out. I hope you prove them all wrong. Good luck!

      (One more thing, if you'd like, send me a 250x250 ad and I'll gladly post it for your on the sidebar for a week or's on me ;))