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
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

‘Shark Tank’ gives Georgia’s SlumberPod entrepreneurs love

Originally posted Wednesday, January 7, 2020 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” this past Sunday embraced an ingenious way a Georgia mom and daughter solved the issue of getting young children to sleep better on the road.

Called the SlumberPod, their invention is a special tent for babies and toddlers to sleep in the dark no matter where they are. It’s available on Amazon,Buy Buy Baby and Bed, Bath & Beyond websites and apps. Made with breathable fabric, it takes only a couple of minutes to put together and is compact enough to place in carry-on luggage.

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.

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Convo with our Shark Tank models

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Shark Lori Greiner said they were doing so well, they didn’t even need her help, which was a compliment.

O’Leary offered a loan for $400,000 but they opted for Corcoran’s equity bid.

The SlumberPod gets solid reviews on Amazon: 4.7 stars out of 5 with 93 percent giving it 4 to 5 stars out of 5. The retail price is steep up front at $154.90 but many parents now live by it, even at home. Well-rested kids means well-rested parents as well, Mallory said. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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