Nearly three months ago, Rockford couple Tracie and Glen Burress confronted the Sharks on the ABC show Shark Tank to try to get one of them to invest in their product, Sock Tabs – and they almost walked out empty handed.
“When they take you to your spot and you walk down that hall, and the Sharks are on the side, you’re thinking, ‘this is just like television,’” said Glen of their experience. “And then those doors open and there’s five Sharks standing there looking at you like, ‘what do you want?’”
The couple says they were immediately grilled by the Sharks because of the way they pitched their product.
“It was a battle from the second we started,” said Tracie. “Because as you know, we had our sock puppets, Sal and Sally tube socks, who were madly in love and went in for their weekly wash, and unfortunately, both went in, but only Sal came out. And of course (the Sharks) were looking at us like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so silly.’”
The Burresses say they stood in front of the sharks for about an hour being questioned — all the while pushing to get someone to invest in Sock Tabs.
And one at a time, each Shark opted out.
“We were thinking that, oh my gosh, we’re about to leave here without a deal,” said Tracie.
That’s when Tracie says she took her pitch to the next level.
“So many people try out,” she said. “It’s like less than 2.02% of people that [audition] make it to be in front of the Sharks out of 45,000 applicants. So for the mere fact that we were there, I was going for it.”
Her last ditch effort paid off. Daymond John called them back at the last second — investing $50,000 for a 30% stake in their product.
“Some people wondered, they asked me, ‘Was that rehearsed? Was that planned, when he called you guys back?’ Nothing’s planned. We never even saw a Shark before we walked through those doors, so it was real,” said Glen.
As they were preparing for their episode to air on November 20th — the Burresses say ABC called to make sure they were ready for a big influx of orders.
“The night before it aired, ABC called and they were like, ‘Do you have your customer service department ready for all the calls you’re gonna get?’ We’re like…customer service department?! That’s us!” Glen said laughing.
The uptick in orders is all part of something called “The Shark Tank Effect”. An appearance on the program alone boosts orders because of the product’s exposure to millions of viewers.
And nearly three months after their appearance, Tracie and Glen say sales for Sock Tabs have been through the roof.
“We get orders every day from around the world,” said Glen. “And you watch them come off our label maker and you see Kansas, you see California, you see Canada, and then you see Norway, and then you see Washington D.C., the Netherlands…”
So what’s next for the busy couple? Customized Sock Tabs, more phone calls from Daymond John, and the re-airing of their Shark Tank episode on Sunday.
“It’s actually allowing people to tune into Shark Tank kind of after the Super Bowl, so that’s gonna give us a whole new audience, a whole new blood of consumers coming our way,” said Tracie.