Goga Goat Yoga: A Headbutt to Get You Going!
Entrepreneurship can lead to two entirely unique things being molded together into one unorthodox combination in the form of a business. For instance, Sports Clips, a company founded in the 90s’ and still successfully operating today, molded together the unlikely combo of haircuts and sports-watching. Founder, Gordon B. Logan, is reaping major benefits from his sports-themed business, although it may have seemed silly or out-of-left-field prior to launching.
Similarly, the Austin, TX, company Goga Goat Yoga is selling an authentic experience centered around the uncanny combination of baby goats and yoga. Entrepreneurs Trey Kitchen and Rachael Phillips entered the tank with nothing on-stage but a dull flat-screen to present for the Sharks. After a few lighthearted jokes like, “Sometimes that downward dog gets downright boring,” the room erupted with life when Philips’ signaled for six baby goats to be brought in the tank. Bleats from the small goats and hoots of amusement from the Sharks festered throughout the room throughout the presentation.
Robert then trialed some exercises that are taught at Goga facilities, which involved holding or balancing the baby goat on your body while maintaining a yoga pose. They claimed the benefit of having the baby goats present during yoga is rooted in how, as Philips puts it, “Animals naturally bring you to the present and they are very therapeutic. So a lot of the times, we have people come to our classes and say, ‘This is exactly what I needed after a stressful week,’ or ‘I just had a death in the family, and this really helped me cope with that.’”
However, the entrepreneurs were also adamant on Goga being a fun company, as well as therapeutic, by centering their business around team building activities and bachelorette parties. Kitchen and Philips solidly executed their presentation and seemed destined to get the Sharks to bite on a deal. They were seeking $50k in exchange for 15% equity stake in Goga Goat Yoga.
During the Q&A between the contestants and the Sharks, they explained how they initially started Goga Goat Yoga to raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Austin, TX. They also explained how the baby goats came from Kitchen’s mother —on-stage helping with the baby goats—who is a goat breeder who sells them as pets.
Mr. Wonderful suddenly broke into the conversation with one of his elaborate tales and offered a supplementary income stream for Goga. He told them about how Cypriot people held rituals where they would slaughter and barbecue a baby goat. He added how delicious he thought it was and the room flooded with cynical giggles from both the Sharks and entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, Phillips made sure to clarify that the breed of goat Goga uses is not good for producing meat or milk.
After that, the Sharks wanted to know more about the business. Kitchen and Phillips said they currently operate out of one studio as a temporary option and just secured a second location. They also hire yoga instructors and do not participate in teaching classes. Phillips said regular yoga classes cost between $20 and $25. The goat yoga costs $30 per person and for private events they charge $40 per person. Kitchen and Phillips came to the tank relatively early on in the growth stage of their company —which is apparent due to their scarcity of locations— and that may be a deal-breaker for the Sharks.
Nonetheless, the Sharks became enticed when Kitchen told them they had done $250k in revenue in the current year. Then, the pitch began to look more complicated when Goga revealed the competitive climate surrounding their business. They already had a competitor open up on their home turf in Austin, TX. However, they seek to differentiate themselves from the competition with a firm supply of baby goats —supplied by Kitchen’s mother— and by strictly using baby goats, unlike their competitors who also use full-sized goats and bigger breeds.
The waters soon started turning and it was time for Goga Goat Yoga to see if they could gain a strategic partner. Robert went out because of the experience he had when his wife started a fitness studio. He said the need to aggressively cycle through more and more classes to keep up with increasing rent and other fixed costs during growth was too much of a burden for him to get on board. Guest Shark, Alli Webb, went out because she didn’t trust how Kitchen and Phillips were heading the business without firm knowledge and experience with yoga as a practice. Mark went out on account of how Goga Goat Yoga seemed to niche or gimmicky to be investable or scalable. Lori went out because she was hesitant to go to battle in an industry as competitive as yoga. O’Leary was the last Shark left and like the slam of a guillotine, he looped back to his whimsical story from earlier, saying, “I’d rather eat goat than put it in my portfolio. I’m out.”
Unfortunately, Goga Goat Yoga landed ashore without a deal from the Sharks. The company seemed to come to the tank too early with a small number of locations and a loosely weaved concept that seems to be unraveling. Kitchen claimed Goga Goat Yoga recognizes the short time-frame in which customers will stop enjoying yoga alongside baby goats, and is reframing the business to do mostly regular yoga while still offering goat yoga every other weekend. He says this despite all of his $250k in sales is purely earned through goat yoga and they haven’t even conducted a regular yoga session. Therefore, how will they know if clients won’t go to their large wave of competitors, if they stop offering the one characteristic of their studio that differentiated themselves in the first place? Goga Goat Yoga may need to re-center themselves and decipher a strategic and profitable direction.