The GameFace Company Before Shark Tank – A Dream of Success.
Doug Marshal had always had an inventive streak when he was growing up in Tyler, Texas. He noted down endless ideas in high school, such as a dog leash with a flash-light attached. He was always dreaming of creating new things.
After graduating from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Doug settled down into a life in finance. First of all he returned home to Tyler and got a job at a large finance company. Within only a year or so, Doug was unsatisfied with his career, finding it unchallenging and lacklustre, he wanted adventure and a change.
When he was 25 he was given the chance to do something more exciting, the opportunity to move to Taiwan presented itself and he welcomed it with open arms.
Doug spent just over a year there, during which time he gained knowledge and experience in the areas of manufacturing and product development, he would find them both invaluable in the future of his own business. He spent much of that year as the only American employee developing new products in the Taiwanese office of a large multinational retailer. As often happens in large companies, because he fitted a need of the business, he subsequently ended up as the main line of communication between Chinese production facilities and American retail outlets.
When he returned to Dallas he worked in various roles that gave him the opportunity to develop his knowledge of product development further, including several sales manager jobs at manufacturing companies and a product development position in an import company.
The years passed and Doug got married and had two children. He remained in steady and reliable employment in order to provide his family with the most stable and secure environment he could. But Doug’s ideas of product creation and the development of his own products were still not forgotten.
Like other Shark Tank contestants before him, it all started for Doug with a dream. His dream consisted of the clear and vivid image of two fans at a football game, their faces were covered in face-paint that was messily running under the blaring Texas sun, staining their team shirts. The dreaming Doug woke from his sleep the next day and was already thinking of a solution for the problem of messy face paint.
Over the next year Doug developed ‘The GameFace’ a full-face temporary transfer that eliminated the need for paint entirely. He acquired a patent for his new invention and opened The GameFace Company for business in October 2007, the company grew at a steady but slow rate. The product range was expanded to include the CostumeFace. Aimed at the lucrative Halloween market, the new product was unveiled at the Halloween and Party Expo in Houston in 2009 and quickly gained business from it.
The business however, needed an injection of money and exposure in order to take it to the level that Doug dreamed of taking it. After some consideration he auditioned for an appearance on Shark Tank in 2012 and appeared on the show early the next year.
The GameFace Company on Shark Tank – A Million Dollar Offer.
When Doug came before the sharks he announced was looking for a $450,000 investment in exchange for 25% equity in The GameFace business.
Doug had arrived wearing his own GameFace product, he had the Old Glory emblazoned across his features and explained that he was wearing the ‘Patriot Face’. He brought along his son and daughter to model other designs, they were wearing a sports face and a butterfly face respectively. Doug showed how easy the mask was to peel off and demonstrated how safe the product was by chewing and swallowing some of his own peeled off mask. He explained that his was a patented product that revolutionized face masks for sports fans, children at Halloween and a wealth of other areas where they were used.
The business was only a part-time undertaking for Doug and his wife at the moment and they were operating out of a garage attached to their home. In the first year of business the company had made $6,700. After five years the sales had been $102,000 in the year prior to the show. Doug’s pitch had been short and effective. The sharks looked interested, but cautious.
Kevin queried the valuation of the company at almost two million dollars and asked Doug to explain it. Doug detailed how the business had approximately four hundred regular retail outlets, mainly small family-owned businesses. It also had a licensing deal locally, but he didn’t explain the valuation.
Mark Cuban saved Doug from further questions about the valuation for a while, he wanted to know what the cost of the product was. Doug explained that he sold each unit wholesale for $2.50, but they retailed for $5. The cost of each unit was between 25 and 60 cents.
Robert Herjavec asked how much profit Doug had made from the previous years sales of $102,000. Doug told him he had made $32,000. Robert looked slightly doubtful and commented ‘The numbers just don’t add up.’.
Kevin then asked Doug’s children, who had assisted him with his pitch, to leave the tank. ‘This could get very ugly.’ he opined, somewhat ominously.
Daymond John asked if there were any competitors to the business, Doug confirmed that he had the patent for a full-face peel-able mask and there would be no competition.
Mark Cuban asked why Doug had not given up his employment to begin giving The GameFace Company a full time commitment. Doug explained that as a husband and father, with a large mortgage, he had to ensure a secure environment and future for his family as his main priority.
Kevin O’Leary still wasn’t satisfied about the valuation of the company. He got back to the question of what the $450,000 investment would be used for. Doug admitted, somewhat reluctantly, that $300,000 of the investment was for him to draw a salary for three years, the other $150,000 was to help with licence acquisitions.
All the sharks looked somewhat taken aback by this revelation. Daymond seemed the most put-off by it and was the first to speak. He pointed out that his own business hadn’t made him any personal profit for nine years. Implying Doug’s expectation of a $100,000 salary was unrealistic, Daymond wasted no more time and became the first shark to drop out of the negotiations.
Robert Herjavec was fully in agreement with Daymond about the salary, he revealed it had been several years before he received a salary of $100,000 from his own business and he considered Doug’s request for such a high sum unreasonable. As far as he was concerned, it wasn’t feasible considering the GameFace Company’s relatively low sales and low profile. With that, Robert also dropped out of the negotiations.
Kevin O’Leary wasn’t put off by the salary for Doug. He made an offer to Doug for the Full $450,000, but the $300,000 salary element would only be a loan to Doug. Kevin also wanted a 25 cent royalty of every unit sold until the investment was repaid.
Lori jumped in with an alternative offer, she was prepared to offer the full $450,000 without conditions, but she wanted 40% of the business, the deal was also conditional to Mark Cuban joining her.
All eyes turned to Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner was probably the shark with the biggest interest in and suitable business for the GameFace products.
Mark loved the idea, he knew all about the messy paint that covered the stadium after Mavericks games and he had an offer that nobody expected. He would give Doug one million dollars for the entire business, 100% of it. $400,000 of the million dollar investment would be used to provide Doug with an $80,000 salary for five years. Mark also asked if Lori would like to join his suggested deal and she agreed with little hesitation.
Kevin O’Leary had dropped out of negotiations but he still had something to say about Mark’s offer, ‘If you accept that, you gave away your future. You sold your soul, you own nothing.’ he told Doug dramatically. It was clearly a deal that Kevin didn’t want to see happen.
Mark Cuban stuck to the facts as he saw them, speaking to Doug he said ‘You my friend, become a millionaire.’. Doug seemed to be considering the offer deeply.
Kevin felt strongly about it and looked off into the distance. ‘I can see your soul drifting away, it could have been worth fifty million’. The effect was comic and Doug clowned about for a second, jumping for his unseen soul, but the warning Kevin was giving him was deadly serious.
Robert was also out but he joined Kevin in suggesting that to sell out now would be a bad decision for Doug.
Doug, looking fairly indecisive about the range of offers that he had received wanted to speak with his family at this point and left the tank to consult with them.
Kevin was still clearly unhappy at Mark’s offer. While Doug was gone, Kevin said ‘You’re stealing his American dream, he’s not going to sell his soul.’
Kevin was right, when Doug returned he confirmed he would not be accepting the million dollar offer from Mark and Lori, but he still wanted to work with them. Doug made a suggestion that they take 35% equity in exchange for the $450,000 investment.
Lori made a counter offer of 40% equity and looked to Mark Cuban to see if he agreed.
Mark said that Doug’s offer of 35% equity would be acceptable to him, if the deal could include a 10% royalty on each unit sold until the investment was repaid. As far as Mark saw it, it was just a question of how Doug valued the 5% equity difference in the offers.
Doug thought for a few moments, but ultimately considered Mark’s offer the better one. With a rousing cry to Lori and Mark of ‘Lets put our GameFaces on!’ he accepted the offer enthusiastically and all three shook on the deal. They actually high fived on the deal but that seemed entirely appropriate, throughout the negotiations Doug had still had the stripes from Old Glory over his nose.
The GameFace Company After Shark Tank – How is the Business Doing in 2016?
The GameFace company would likely have achieved considerable success even without an appearance on Shark Tank in the fullness of time. Doug’s patented peel-able full face mask gave him a monopoly on an innovative product that would inevitably become more prominent and profitable. With such an enormous market in sports franchises and Halloween, as well as licensing opportunities, the potential for the product was enormous. But Doug was a man who was going to progress in far greater leaps and bounds with the help and assistance of experienced business sharks behind him.
The GameFace Company has expanded far beyond the small part-time company that Doug ran from a garage attached to his home when he appeared on the show in 2013. GameFace has its own manufacturing facilities and can offer customized designs and shapes of masks. The range of designs it provides is huge and constantly growing. More licences have been acquired and the company presented the latest in their line of designs at the Halloween and Party Expo in New Orleans in January of 2016. They received the usual enthusiasm and interest from retailers and wholesalers.
The brand is gradually growing into a nationally recognised one, particularly in those two profitable areas, sports franchises and Halloween. The simple and mess-free mask business that Doug dreamed up has continued to show steady growth and an ever growing base of satisfied customers. Doug masked his feelings and refused a million dollars for his business, but he faces the future with far greater prospects, both in terms of money, and the business that he still controls.