GoodHangups Before Shark Tank
GoodHangups founder Leslie Pierson is a force of nature, and that’s not just me saying that, the sharks applied the label to the entrepreneurial mom first and with good reason. Leslie’s five year old was a budding artist, and like many moms Leslie was faced with an ever increasing number of potential masterpieces that her son produced and expected to be proudly displayed, she of course was more than willing to let her home become her artistic offsprings first gallery but she was less keen on the holes and damage to her walls that so many artworks would create, until she had a late night moment of inspiration.
Leslie conceived a method of using magnets inside stick on labels instead of tacks or pins, and in typically enthusiastic fashion she soon had created GoodHangups, to the admiration of her friends, who soon were requesting their own hang-ups so they too could re-arrange their own posters and artworks. Leslie set up a kickstarter campaign to raise funds, which was an enormous success and began production on a small scale. By 2015 Leslie was looking for a way to get featured on QVC and by accident, thinking she was filling out a QVC application form, she applied for the ‘Next Big Thing’ contest run between QVC and the Today show. To her amazement she wasn’t only selected to be a finalist, but she actually won the contest, and the prize of a slot on QVC.
Leslie’s QVC segment was a great success, and she was sold out in minutes, but in order to forge contacts with bigger retailers and grow her sales into the millions, she needed the strategic advantage of a shark behind her, and after applying to be on the show Leslie finally came into the tank in September 2016.
GoodHangups On Shark Tank
Leslie Pierson is one energetic lady, she burst into the tank full of smiles and greetings and announced that she was looking for a $100,000 investment in exchange for 10% of her GoodHangups business. She began her pitch by announcing a hang-up of her own, ‘Sharks, I have commitment issues…’, before continuing ‘…With decorating’. She told the story of her prolifically creative son and her reluctance to damage the walls of her home, before revealing GoodHangups, a ‘revolutionary’ new product that would turn any wall into a Magnet-board. She demonstrated the ease of use by quickly affixing a picture of Kevin O’Leary onto a board and blowing it a quick kiss for good measure, as well as giving it an affectionate stroke, and looking at it admiringly for just a second.
Leslie finished the pitch by explaining that the GoodHangups worked on any surface from brick to wood, and she handed out a sample pack to the sharks, who were still chuckling over the Kevin O’Leary portrait. Robert Herjavec was first with a question, and asked for confirmation that the GoodHangups could be used on any surface without causing any damage. Leslie confirmed that was true, and additionally her product could be re-used, she personally had re-used individual GoodHangups up to ten times. Kevin asked if she had a special adhesive she used, which Leslie confirmed she did, Kevin then asked if Leslie claimed that her product could be peeled off even a month later without causing any damage, but Leslie claimed a lot more, she told the shark that you could peel the labels off even a year later, and the wall would be stain and damage free.
Leslie’s enthusiasm and friendly nature was keeping the sharks sweet so far, but Kevin was ready to turn up the heat a notch and asked about sales next. Leslie revealed that in just over a year of business she had sales in excess of $450,000, which pleasantly surprised the sharks. After a quick ‘Thanks’ in reply to the chorus of ‘Good for you’ that came from the impressed sharks, Leslie went on to explain that over 50% of her sales had been from QVC, and Lori admitted that she had recognized the GoodHangups from their QVC appearances. Leslie was then questioned where the rest of the sales had come from, she confirmed that GoodHangups were being sold in over 100 retail locations, including The Paper Store, but in response to a question from Kevin she confirmed that no, she wasn’t in Staples yet, and that’s what she needed from the sharks, a strategic partner who could open doors with bigger retailers for her.
Mark Cuban asked about profit margins next, Leslie told the sharks the packs sold in four different sizes, 8, 16, 40 and 100 labels and for the 8 pack the cost was $2.25 with a retail price of $14.99, which evoked a long drawn out ‘Nice’ from Daymond John, clearly impressed with such a profitable mark-up. Leslie also revealed that the GoodHangups were made in the US with only American supplied parts and After Robert asked why she was in the tank she revealed that she was a big fan of the sharks and The Shark Tank. Leslie also disclosed that she already considered the Sharks her silent partners, and Mark joked ‘OK, enough sucking up’, but laughs aside Leslie was clear that she needed the strategic help of a Shark to get those big orders coming in.
Lori thought the ease of using the GoodHangups was the biggest challenge facing Leslie, and Robert also thought the packaging wasn’t clear about how easy the product was to use. Leslie agreed that she needed the sharks for help in that area too and was open to all ideas. All the sharks were impressed and Leslie had given a good solid performance in the tank, but were any of the sharks going to bite?
Mark Cuban unfortunately wasn’t, he described Leslie as a force of nature, but also thought turning a force of nature into a business was not something that was always easy to achieve. He didn’t think he was the best partner for Leslie, and for that reason Mark was out. Robert Herjavec was quick to echo the force of nature description, he praised Leslie’s fantastic personality and infectious enthusiasm, but after revealing that he just wasn’t an ‘arts and crafts guy’ he too was going to drop out.
Lori compared Leslie’s ‘Crazy drive’ to her own level of enthusiasm and commitment, and she also believed that there was no force equal to a committed woman determined to rise, and so she had an offer. Lori would provide the $100,000 in exchange for a 20% stake in the GoodHangups business, and in return she believed she could get the product into Staples and Bed Bath & Beyond and other big retailers. Leslie looked pleased to have her first offer, but also stated that she’d hoped she could get a super team together, clearly inviting further offers. Several sharks spoke at once but Lori was keen to close the deal down, she told Leslie she wanted an answer now. Kevin wasn’t letting his fellow shark put too much pressure on and told Leslie to hold on for ‘leverage’. Lori stressed how helpful she could be with packaging and once again insisted on an immediate answer, but Leslie had a tactical response that was brilliant.
Leslie told Lori that she didn’t want her potential new partner to think that she was the sort of person that would make a rash decision, ‘when we’re partners’, which drew shouts of appreciation from the sharks. ‘Sweet-talker’ called Mark, and ‘She’s good’ was Robert’s response, even Lori, trying to play the hard-nosed shark couldn’t resist an admiring smile. Daymond John suddenly had another offer, he would supply the $100,000, but in exchange for just 15%, even though he admitted that Lori was probably the ideal partner for Leslie. Kevin O’Leary couldn’t resist becoming another obstacle for Lori, he too believed that Leslie should partner with Lori, but purely in order to give Leslie leverage to push Lori’s stake down, he would offer exactly what Leslie was asking for, $100,000 for just a 10% stake.
Leslie wondered again about the possibility of a shark team, but Lori was quick to confirm she just didn’t need anyone else on this deal, and Kevin and Daymond both agreed that all three of them could help Leslie’s business, but none of them needed the other. Kevin got to the point as he saw it, ‘I’ve given you leverage to squeeze Lori, now squeeze her’, so Leslie finally came up with an alternative propsal for Lori. She countered with the suggestion of a $100,000 loan from Lori in exchange for $10 equity, and if the loan wasn’t repaid within a year she would make Lori’s stake 20%. It was a good offer, perfectly in keeping with Leslie’s resounding strategy in the tank. Lori accepted without much hesitation saying ‘You got it’, and Leslie sealed the deal with ‘Done’. You could see Lori and Leslie were going to be a great team, and Leslie danced out of the tank in joy, yes she literally danced.
GoodHangups Now in 2018 – The After Shark Tank Update
Leslie’s great performance in the tank left her dancing out of the tank, and the huge publicity from her Shark Tank appearance has left her dancing all the way to the bank. It was clear that Lori’s enthusiasm and positivity were a perfect match for the GoodHangups founder, and in the year since the segment first aired the retail outlets supplying Leslie’s innovative product have expanded enormously. A quick visit to Goodhangups.com reveals that within 100 miles of Leslie’s home city of Seattle there are 24 outlets supplying them, but as yet Bed Bath & Beyond and Staples are not on the list.
A re-airing of the GoodHangups segment on December 16th 2016 was great timing for the holiday season and Leslie has seen sales grow consistently month-on-month since she first appeared on the show. Although the packaging is still lacking some clarity, the company website has a far simpler and easy to understand method of showing how easy GoodHangups are to use, there’s even a video that shows the application of the labels in seconds. Amazon Prime is doing a roaring trade in the product and Leslie is currently getting through the enormous workload that a shift into mass-production brings, a process that can take a considerable amount of time. It’s highly likely that the only way is up for GoodHangups and Leslie Pierson, and as the GoodHangups founder who’s a Force of Nature with the negotiating and diplomacy skills of a natural shark, she has proven in the tank that when it comes to pressure in business negotiations, she can sweet talk anyone, even a bunch of the toughest sharks there are.