‘Shark Tank’ gives Georgia’s SlumberPod entrepreneurs love
SHARK TANK - "1108" - A mother-daughter duo from Atlanta, Georgia, introduce the Sharks to their baby product that makes baby-travel less stressful by helping them sleep more restful. An entrepreneur from Mount Pleasant, Utah, introduces his cold-weather clothing line that keeps you warm, even when wet. While entrepreneurs from Happy Valley, Oregon, hope their portable transportation device will become the next multimillion-dollar hit. Finally, an entrepreneur from South Murrysville, Pennsylvania, pitches his genius innovation in window screens on "Shark Tank," SUNDAY, JAN. 5 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC/Eric McCandless) LOU CHILDS, KATY MALLORY
Entering the ABC show's studio during last June's taping, Columbus resident Lou Childs and her daughter Katy Mallory of Decatur sought $400,000 for 20 percent stake in their company from one of the Sharks.
Corcoran gave them exactly what they wanted after initially counter-offering $400,000 for 25 percent.
“I wanted to squeeze you on the money but you’re too nice,” Corcoran said as she hugged Childs and Mallory.
“It’s a dream come true” Mallory said afterwards. “We wanted a female Shark.”
Mallory a few years back was visiting her mom’s house and her daughter struggled to sleep because it wasn’t dark enough. “There weren’t good solutions out there so we decided to solve it ourselves,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “We held focus groups and there appeared to be market demand.” Abut two thirds of the folks they asked said their kids slept fine at home but not so great on the road.
So Childs and Mallory launched SlumberPod in the summer of 2018 and it quickly took off. Last year, they figured it would be a good time to go for that “Shark Tank” boost.
“We’ve been obsessed with the show since the beginning,” Childs said. “We never dreamed we’d have a product we could pitch them. But once we had some traction and people were benefiting from the product, we checked the casting call schedule and went to Dallas on a whim.”
By the time they got to the taping, they were already profitable and harbored no debt, both appealing to some of the Sharks. The company generated $2 million in sales last year in its first full year and the owners hope to double that this year.
Mallory said the SlumberPod “allows people to travel and maintain their lives. Having fun doesn’t stop when you have children. We’re able to provide this private sleeping space you can use in hotels or at your in-law’s house or a friend’s house to watch football without messing up a nap schedule or worrying about a room’s darkness.”
Their opening demonstration featured Oskar, an actual two year old who uses a SlumberPod regularly, and super fan mom Elizabeth Kurz, who raved about the product on her Instagram page. She'd place Oliver in places like a busy gymnasium or the airport in the SlumberPod.
“We thought it would be a great testament to our customer’s love by bringing someone who wasn’t a family member,” said Mallory.
The panel laughed uproariously because of Oliver was chipper - until the SlumberPod was placed on top of him. He cried a little. They said he sleeps in it all the time and Mallory chalked his reaction to stage anxiety.”
"Next time use a fake baby," joked Shark Mark Cuban.
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years.