CoyoteVest: Dogs, Coyotes, and Sharks, Oh My!

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When taking your dog for a walk, can you imagine a wild coyote appearing from the brush to bite into your furry friend and drag him away? This is the experience Paul and Pamela Mott endured to conjure up the inspiration for their new product, CoyoteVest.

Coming from San Diego, California, Paul and Pamela told a personal story in which their dog, Buffy, was playing in the dog park when suddenly a wild coyote appeared. Buffy let out a yelp but it was too late; the coyote was already running at full speed with its new meal. Devastated by this horrific event, Paul and Pamela designed a special vest for dogs, made to protect them from coyotes, other dogs, and even birds of prey. Seeking 250,000 for a 10% equity stake, the couple hopes for a shark to bite down on the deal.

Suddenly, dogs are released into the Tank!

Delighting the sharks with frantic licking and furry faces, the dogs are also showing off their CoyoteVests. Each CoyoteVest features one of two different types of detachable stab-resistant features, designed to slow down or prevent a potential attack. Known for their infamous porcupine-like design, CoyoteWhiskers are bright nylon bristles on the back of the CoyoteVest that are meant to intimidate a predator, causing them to hesitate and retreat. The other body armor feature is the SpikeVest, which is built with metal spikes all around the armor that attach with wide velcro flaps. According to Paul and Pamela, if an animal feels the spike touch against the roof of their mouth, they will simply stop the attack.

After raising concerns about the product not thriving due to a narrow, niche market limited to only coyote attacks, Kevin proposes a “zapping” idea, in which the attacker gets an electric shock delivered upon biting the vest, rather than dangerous-looking spikes. Elated of this mention, the couple introduces another design, the CoyoteZapper. The CoyoteZapper does just what Kevin requested, powered by a remote control which delivers an electric shock on under the dog owner’s control.

Robert Herjavec stands up to touch the vest as the shock is administered. He lets out a loud squeal and the other sharks laugh in unison. “Robert, can your screams get any more high-pitched?” Mark Cuban adds humorously.

Financials and Response

CoyoteVest began its journey 2 ½ years prior to its appearance on Shark Tank, yielding $570,000 in sales. Their year-to-date earnings stand at $260,000, solely by selling directly through their website. Produced in the United States out of the entrepreneurs’ own miniature factory, one CoyoteVest costs $30 to make, and is currently being sold at $120.

After hearing the company’s financials, Daymond John raises his concern about the miniature factory, asking if they would be willing to get to a point of scale and introduce the opportunity for other factories handle the production. The couple responds that they do have a manufacturer now, and are ready to scale. Upon hearing this, Mark becomes concerned that they have not yet encountered the problems that he expects the company to face in manufacturing. More importantly, he is concerned that the CoyoteVest’s design poses a danger to young children that he does not feel is worth the effort. He states, “It’s going to be a challenge for families and the risk that’s involved there. It’s going to take a lot of hand holding and personal attention that I dont think Im quite the right person to do. So for those reasons, I’m out”

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Kevin O’Leary is next to take a swift step out of the deal, stating that CoyoteVest is a small business that is not worth their 2.5 million dollar claimed valuation. He sees the entrepreneurs making no money yet because they must still have something to pay themselves. Lori Greiner takes her opportunity to step out as well, stating that she simply does not feel strongly enough about the product, although it was funny and memorable nevertheless. Robert remarks that not every business needs an investor, or is investable yet. With that being said, he states that he doesn’t see himself on this journey. He steps out.

Daymond John is the last Shark standing, with a good level of interest in the product. Despite his fondness of the product, he feels that because CoyoteVest has not gone into large retail yet, and still on the transition between personal factory to new vendor, the product is still at a pivotal point that is too risky for him. He steps out.

Having no Sharks biting down on their CoyoteVest offer, Paul and Pamela Mott exit the Tank.

Takeaway

Failing to receive an offer from the sharks does not mark the end of CoyoteVest’s journey. Today CoyoteVest is still available for sale on its home website, and yields a 4.9 star customer satisfaction rating based on their Facebook page.

Following the tragedy the couple had to experience, it’s clear to see the deep concern and level of passion that Paul and Pamela Mott must have felt to create their product. Aiming to save beloved dogs from future tragedies, I do believe consumers will continue to see the value and worth of the CoyoteVest.

The product may struggle however, in urban areas where the thought of a coyote or carnivorous bird appearing is remote and unimaginable. Because of this, I feel the company should expand their message to stress the benefit it would hold when it comes to fellow dogs. Even in an urban dog park, fighting between pets can turn brutal very quickly. For those circumstances, a CoyoteVest stands as a super useful and much-needed armour for smaller and more fragile dogs.

In addition, Mark brought up a good point in the episode stating that consumers may worry about the threat the product poses to small children and perhaps other playful animals that may get injured as a result of such large metal spikes. I agree with this point and feel that even with reassurances of safety, it simply does not appear to be a safe enough product to have around children. For this reason, dogs wearing CoyoteVests would need to be very closely monitored. A child-friendly design should also be considered, to avoid any uncontrollable mistakes.

Nevertheless, for those in areas where the threat of Coyotes and other large animals is a pensive concern, I would highly recommend CoyoteVest as it appears to be a very durable and useful product that can even be customized. And who wouldn’t love to see their dog wearing adorable, colorful life jackets!