Enso Before Shark Tank
When Enso Rings founders, Brighton Jones and Aaron Daily, first appeared in the Shark Tank, they had a demonstration during their pitch that got at least one shark excited, but they faced a tough time trying to persuade the business moguls to invest in their confusingly-marketed business.
Enso Rings provides stylish and colorful silicone rings, which not also provide a cheap and fashionable alternative to traditional metal wedding rings, but they also have a very serious purpose, and if you don’t like the sight of blood, you might want to skip the next paragraph, and just believe me when I say that Enso rings are far safer than traditional wedding bands.
Ring avulsion is an injury that occurs when a metal ring gets caught on an object and damages the skin around a finger. In some cases, it even results in a finger being completely torn off, or injuries so severe that a finger has to be amputated. If you’re like me you won’t be able to resist checking out some ring avulsion injuries on Google images but be warned, they aren’t a pretty sight. Ring avulsion injuries are not that unusual either, more than 150,000 people a year are affected, and in 2015 Jimmy Fallon explained to The Tonight Show audience the reason behind his unscheduled two-week break, namely a ring avulsion injury that resulted in a broken finger and 10 days in intensive care. Jimmy managed to get some laughs from the story, but ring avulsion is no laughing matter.
Lifelong friends Brighton and Aaron, both from Salt Lake City, Utah, launched Enso rings in 2015 after Brighton almost lost his finger in a rock climbing accident while wearing his metal wedding band. After applying for Shark Tank three times they were finally accepted and appeared on the show on October 8th 2017.
Enso On Shark Tank
Brighton and Aaron entered the tank and announced they were looking for a $500,000 investment, in exchange for a 7.5 % stake in Enso Rings. The sharks looked dubious at the $6.5 million valuation of the business, but Aaron got into his pitch, explaining that Enso was ‘Disrupting’ the jewelry industry with their stylish and fashionable alternative to traditional wedding rings.
Brighton took over and told the sharks that the traditional wedding ring he held in his hand was actually an F.A.D. – A finger Amputation Device. Aaron told the sharks about ring avulsion, and the 150,000 people who suffered injuries every year, while Brighton told the sharks that Enso rings were made from a proprietary silicone that allowed people with an active lifestyle to wear them without risk of injury, they were the most stylish, and safest, alternative to traditional wedding rings.
Robert Herjavec glanced at his own wedding ring, slightly nervously, while Brighton suddenly pulled back a curtain to reveal, to everyone’s complete surprise, an award-winning bodybuilder called Gary. It was an unexpected move, but it livened up the pitch. Barbara Corcoran in particular suddenly seemed extremely interested in the 250-pound muscle-bound addition to the tank. The reason for Gary’s presence became clear when he demonstrated the effect of his 500 pounds of pulling power on a traditional metal band. The band was on the finger of a model hand, which quickly became a deformed hand after Gary had done his work.
The excitement wasn’t over yet, Gary was quickly joined by two new additions to the tank, the equally muscle-bound figures of Luke and Darnell. Barbara visibly slumped back in her seat. ‘What about this Lori?’ she asked, slightly breathlessly. Next, Brighton put an Enso ring on his own finger and advised ‘Don’t try this at home’ for any viewers who happened to have a contingent of hulks on hand, and the immense pulling power of the three body-builders gave an almighty tug on a rope attached to his ring. The Enso ring broke long before Brighton’s finger did, and he emerged unharmed from the demonstration, and that was that. Barbara wanted to see some more demonstrations of raw strength, but Aaron wisely sent the body-building components of the pitch out of the tank, to allow Barbara to concentrate on something other than biceps.
After the excitement of the pitch, Aaron handed out a selection of Enzo Rings to the sharks. Kevin O’Leary was the first to speak, asking the entrepreneurs how many people even knew about ring avulsion, and how many people worried about losing a finger because of a ring on a daily basis. Brighton admitted that no-one worried about it, and that was the problem. He repeated that 150,000 people a year, in the US alone, suffered from ring-related injuries, and he told the sharks about Jimmy Fallon’s experience with ring avulsion.
Brighton asserted that Enso Rings were a great choice not only for people with an active lifestyle, they were also perfect for nurses, firefighters, and people in the military, who were not allowed to wear metal rings. Lori asked how Enso Rings had originally been launched, and Brighton explained about his rock-climbing accident when his metal wedding ring had almost caused a ring avulsion injury, but Mark Cuban was skeptical, asking Brighton why he hadn’t just taken the ring off first. ‘I just didn’t think about it’ Brighton replied, but Mark asserted he always took his ring off before working out or playing sports.
The sharks appeared unconvinced, but they seemed more impressed when the talk got around to the numbers. Barbara asked how much the rings sold for, $11.99 to $39.99 was the answer. Aaron then revealed that they only cost from 70 cents to $4 to make, a great profit margin of around 90%. Robert Herjavec guessed that the pair made a ‘Ton’ of sales, and he was right. Aaron revealed that in the past 18 months Enso Rings had sold $3.8 million worth of rings, and in the next year they expected to achieve sales in excess of $5 million.
‘Unbelievable’ remarked Barbara, and Robert exclaimed ‘I love this’. Kevin O’Leary wanted to know how a silicone ring could cost $4, and Aaron explained that the most expensive item, the Gold-effect ring, had flecks of real gold in it, to make it appear to be a genuine gold item. Kevin thought the sales figures spoke for themselves, and wanted to know where most of the sales were made. Brighton explained that 100% of sales were made online, and the business attracted new customers with an active social media campaign.
Mark Cuban understood that customer acquistion costs were Enso’s biggest expense. He asked what sales the business had made in the last month, $460,000 was the answer, Enso’s best month so far explained Aaron, but he admitted that acquisition costs averaged around 40% of sales. Mark Cuban believed that Enso Rings was actually a Marketing company that had found a product. They marketing the rings as a ‘Fear sale’, and although Mark didn’t think that was a bad thing, he didn’t believe it was a long-term business, and with that he dropped out.
Brighton began to explain that although they had originally sold rings using ‘fear marketing’, they were now focused on marketing their products as a fashionable trend, but Lori Greiner, probably the most suitable shark partner for Enso with her QVC connections, had other concerns. She explained that she was familiar with silicone products, and she knew it was a hugely competitive industry. She admitted the sales for Enso Rings were impressive, but she believed investing in the business would be too ‘Dicey’ due to the amount of competition in the market, and for that reason she was out too.
Barbara Corcoran, now completely recovered from the excitement of the pitch, was also unimpressed. She believed the marketing message was ‘Mixed-up’. Fashion and fear were wildly different selling points, and the business needed clarity to win customers. She advised Brighton and Aaron to think of their next business as fast as they could, and she quickly joined Mark and Lori in dropping out of the negotiations.
Robert agreed with Barbara that the marketing message was incredibly confusing, but he admitted that such great sales showed that customers were interested in the product, and there was a great message that could be used to promote the business, and because of that he was prepared to make an offer. Barbara was amazed, ‘You’re losing it Robert’ she remarked, but her fellow shark was prepared to pay the $500,000 investment in exchange for a 20% stake in Enso Rings.
Kevin O’Leary didn’t think Robert was losing it, in fact he had his own offer to make. Mr Wonderful loved the ring and was ‘Feeling the Love’, and he also remarked that he thought Robert was being greedy. Kevin told the entrepreneurs that he would pay the $500,000, but as a loan. He would take a $2 per order royalty until $1.5 million had been repaid, and take just 5% of the business, in exchange for being a banker and for using his millions of customers to help lower the customer acquisition costs.
Robert quickly remarked that he would be prepared to hear a counter offer, and Aaron suggested a 10% stake in exchange for the half a million dollars. Robert didn’t agree to that, but he did offer to split the difference and accept a 15% stake. Barbara advised Brighton and Aaron to ‘Take the money and run’, while Mark Cuban thought they would be crazy to take the offer. Robert explained that although he believed in the business, there was a lot of risks involved. Aaron countered again, suggesting a 12.5% stake, but Robert insisted he would need 15% in order to offset the potential risk.
Aaron asked if Robert and Kevin would be prepared to make a joint offer, but Kevin instead insisted that his offer was better if only they would ‘Think it through’. Robert admitted he didn’t want to ‘Play with Kevin’, and Brighton and Aaron began a quiet conference to discuss their options. Eventually, they thanked Kevin for his offer but confirmed they would partner with Robert Herjavec, taking $500,000 in exchange for 15% of the business.
Enso Now in 2018 – The After Shark Tank Update
After the show, Brighton explained why he and Aaron had accepted Robert’s deal. Although they believed Kevin’s offer may have worked out better financially in the long run, it was Robert’s passion for the business that had swayed them. Robert ‘Got it’, and since October 2017, when the episode first aired, the company has experienced several highs due to their appearance on the show.
The initial surge of interest immediately after Enso Rings appeared on Shark Tank resulted in over $2 million in sales from 60,000 orders. Projected sales for 2017 increased to $6 million due to the sudden increase in orders, and although sales have subsided since the initial boost from the Shark Tank appearance, the company is still processing around 500 orders a day, up from a few hundred a month before five million viewers saw them pitch to the sharks.
Aaron and Brighton insist that Enso Rings has always been intended to be a ‘Force for Good’, and that’s why they chose Robert Herjavec as a partner, and although that might be just their excellent marketing skills putting a positive spin on their fear-based sales approach, they have put their money where their mouths are on that one. In December 2017 the company donated 20% of sales to the ‘United Way’s Sub for Santa’ charity, which helps the needy during the holiday period, and they have launched a ‘Rings for a Reason’ collection, and donated a portion of profits to several different charitable organizations, including a breast cancer organization to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
As well as substantially increasing awareness of the potentially life-changing risk of ring avulsion, the increased publicity for Enso Rings has resulted in new customers who not only want a safer alternative to traditional metal rings but also customers looking for something fashionable and cheaper. The fastest growing sales sector is coming from pregnant women, who have discovered that Enso rings work perfectly with the sudden weight gain that comes from pregnancy, and they still fit after giving birth.
Enso Rings will be consolidating their administration and manufacturing locations into a new larger space in Lehi City, Utah, later in 2018, to cope with the increased sales. Since appearing on Shark Tank they have been featured in Forbes, the Associated Press and The Washington Post. You can keep up to date with the company on the Enso Rings website, or alternatively on Facebook, where customer queries appear to always be answered quickly and efficiently.