FidgetLand Before Shark Tank
Jason Burns from Calabasas, California, struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at school, and because he was unable to concentrate he was told by teachers that he should look for a career that wouldn’t require any educational qualifications. Fortunately, Jason received the right kind of medication to enable him to overcome the disorder, and he later graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in business.
Jason went on to work in the entertainment industry for over 20 years, but during that time his ADD never went away. A keen amateur inventor, Jason eventually created his first fidgeting device with some key rings and a bike chain, and he found that using it helped get rid of his excess energy, and enabled him to concentrate far more.
The Fidget spinner craze exploded in 2017, it created a surge in the toy market that was worth over $1 billion annually, but fidget spinners were originally created for exactly the same reason, to help kids with ADD and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) deal with their disorders, and to help them concentrate. ADD and ADHD affect 1 in 20 people Worldwide, and the fidgeting craze was hugely successful not only because of a large number of people with attention disorders, but also because the products were simple and cheap to make, and with a huge profit margin.
Jason Burns began selling his fidgeting devices a few at a time on eBay, and by the time he came to the Shark Tank in October 2017, he had made half a million dollars in sales, but he needed a Shark partner to help him tap into the huge profits that were available in the profitable market that the fidget spinner craze had created.
FidgetLand On Shark Tank
When Jason first introduced himself to the sharks, it was clear that he was a man with a lot of energy. He talked fast and thought fast, and after announcing that he was looking for an investment of $50,000 in exchange for 10% of the FidgetLand business, he told the sharks about his lifelong struggle with ADD.
Jason explained that his disorder meant that he was constantly tapping his fingers and legs, and not only did he have trouble concentrating, but his habit of constantly moving drove other people crazy. A fidgeting device helped sufferers of attention deficit disorders use up all that excess energy in a discreet way, in fact, Jason revealed that all the time he had been making his pitch he had been fidgeting with one of his fidget rings without the sharks even noticing. He explained that his devices helped people with not only ADHD and ADD, but also assisted those with Tourette’s Syndrome, autism, and Asperger’s Syndromes they would even help with nail-biting and other nervous habits. His products were not only therapeutic for people with disorders, they were a simple way to reduce stress and anxiety for anybody who needed help relaxing.
Jason handed out samples of his fidget rings to the sharks, while he explained how he had originally developed the fidget devices to help with his own excessive energy. Mark Cuban asked when Jason had begun making his products, and Jason confirmed that the first one had been developed back in 2007. Kevin O’Leary asked how many he had sold since then, and Jason revealed that in ten years he had sold over 50,000 units, with total sales of half a million dollars.
The sharks were impressed at the sales figures, and Kevin inquired how many units Jason was expecting to sell in the next year. Jason estimated that he would sell in excess of 500,000 units in the following year, and Mark Cuban commented ‘Fidgets are hot right now’. Jason explained that originally he had made the fidget devices in his garage. He sold a few on eBay and had given a few away to friends, and year-on-year sales had just kept increasing. Lori Greiner asked Jason if he was now working full-time in the business and he confirmed he was, explaining that he had quit his career in the entertainment industry when sales had begun to take off, and he’d been the ‘Fidget man from FidgetLand ever since’.
The sharks were obviously impressed with Jason’s performance in the tank so far, he had all the answers at his fingertips, and he radiated pure energy and enthusiasm. The high demand for fidget devices appeared to be a revelation for several of the sharks, but would they be interested enough to make an offer?
Robert Herjavec asked Jason what the retail price of his devices was. The fidget man was offering a variety of devices on his website, and costs ranged from $8 to $15. Before the sharks could get another word in Jason revealed that costs to manufacture the devices were from $1.35 to $2.69, leaving him with a healthy average profit margin of 80% across his range of products.
Mark Cuban asked about competitors, and Jason agreed that the fidget spinner/fidget device market was hugely competitive and he did face stiff competition. Robert admitted that he found the FidgetLand device very soothing, but he wanted to know how Jason planned to sell 500,000 units in the next year. Jason explained that currently, he was making about 85% of his sales online, through his website and Amazon. In his first year working full-time he had made $88,000 in sales, and since then sales had been $371,000 in total. Mark wanted to know how customers found FidgetLand, and Jason confirmed that although he hadn’t advertised previously, he had now hired a marketing company to promote his product in the competitive market of fidget devices.
Mark asked what net profit Jason expected to make in the next year, Jason confirmed he expected to make $175,000, but Mark queried that, remarking that expected sales of $500,000 with a profit margin of 80% should achieve greater profits, but Kevin pointed out that Jason would be spending profits on advertising in the following year. Mark admitted that what Jason had accomplished so far was amazing, but he thought that fidget devices were a specialty market and didn’t see how he could help convert that to a wider customer base. He told Jason the business didn’t play to his strengths, and for that reason, he was out.
Lori Greiner revealed that she wasn’t really enjoying the fidget experience. Jason replied that not everyone ‘Got it’ straight away, he even described himself as the ‘Fidget Whisperer’ while attempting to ignite Lori’s enthusiasm for his product. Although Lori admired Jason’s enthusiasm, she eventually admitted that she just wasn’t someone who would ever sit down and use the device, she didn’t fidget, and for that reason, she was out too.
Kevin O’Leary was enjoying the fidget device, he admitted he found it ‘Infectious’ but that was as enthusiastic as Mr. Wonderful was going to get. He expressed his admiration for Jason and thanked him for his presentation, but ultimately Kevin thought FidgetLand was just too small a proposition for him, and with that Kevin dropped out too. With only two sharks left Jason began to explain that there was a far bigger market out there that he was yet to take advantage of, but he didn’t get much further, Barbara Corcoran wanted to speak, and she was already sold on the idea.
Barbara explained that her daughter suffered from ADD, and she believed that many people with attention deficit disorders were geniuses if they could find the right slot to work in. She told Jason that of the top eight entrepreneurs she had invested in on Shark Tank, all but one of them had some form of attention disorder. Barbara explained that she had suffered herself in school as ‘The dumb kid’, and perhaps Jason didn’t know it, but Barbara learned that she was dyslexic when her son was diagnosed with it in the second grade. Since Barbara learned of her own disability, she has been a champion of people with learning disabilities, and she has spoken of her belief that they make people better problem solvers, more creative and more competitive. Barbara was ready to make a deal. She offered Jason the $50,000 investment, in exchange for 20% of his business, but she wanted her investment to be spent entirely on marketing costs, and she would work with Jason to make sure the money was well spent.
But Barbara wasn’t the only shark who felt a connection to Jason’s business. Robert Herjavec admitted that although ADD wasn’t diagnosed when he was at school, he was a habitual fidgeter himself. He admitted that he hadn’t been able to put the FidgetLand device down, and he thought it was a great idea. Robert improved on Barbara’s deal with an offer of $50,000 in exchange for only a 15% stake in the business.
Jason looked overjoyed, but Barbara tried to seal the deal before he could think the offers over. She described herself as the ‘Poster Child’ for kids with Learning difficulties who had succeeded and believed that although Robert understood the problems they faced, with her children also suffering from learning difficulties she was more ‘steeped’ in the business. Robert made his own appeal to Jason and said that although Barbara was more familiar with the problems facing people with attention disorders, he only wanted 15% of the FidgetLand business.
After a moments thought Jason asked Barbara if she would be prepared to reduce her stake to 15%, but she held firm and replied that she would need 20% of the business, and ultimately her passion for the product, and her understanding of the business was worth 5% of FidgetLand to Jason, as he quickly confirmed that he would love to do a deal with her.
FidgetLand Now in 2018 – The After Shark Tank Update
Jason left the Shark Tank overjoyed after making a deal with a like-minded shark, in fact, he was jumping for joy, quite literally. His enthusiasm for his business was clearly shared by Barbara Corcoran, and since the show first aired in October 2017, the new partners are beginning to turn FidgetLand into a far bigger business than it was before. In the penultimate episode of Season 9, aired on February 18th, 2018, viewers got an update on Fidgetland, and Jason and Barbara were clearly working well together in their new partnership. Jason revealed that in the previous three months he had sales totaling over $580,000, a greater amount than he had managed to sell on his own in the previous 10 years.
The fidget spinner market is huge. At the height of the craze, in May 2017, the top 20 best-selling toys on Amazon were either fidget spinners or some other form of fidget toy, and although the fad for fidget spinners has declined since then, they still remain the most popular selling toy Worldwide. Some estimates of the total number of fidget toys sold put the figure as high as 200 million units per month, and the craze has resulted in a huge amount of free publicity for the business. Now in mid-2018, Youtube has almost 7 million videos featuring content creators performing a variety of tricks with fidget toys, or simply showing off their collections. The fidget spinner fad has been compared to the early 1980’s craze for Rubix cubes, and they still sell in the millions even now, almost 40 years later.
Jason and Barbara’s strategy is to make Fidgetland more prominent in the huge market, boosting sales for the company into the millions, and that’s the next big challenge for their partnership. You can buy FidgetLand devices from the company website, or from Amazon, and the company now offers DIY Fidget Kits so that customers can create their own unique designs. The company also offers Classroom Created Fidgets, that are not only completely silent and unobtrusive in class, but they were also designed by a group of third graders in Mercer, Washington. 10% of profits from those are donated back to the Mercer school district by the company.
The FidgetLand update also showed Barbara taking Jason to her daughter’s school, so that he could share his story with the kids, and hopefully inspire the next generation of great problem solvers to create something amazing in the future. You can keep up to date with Jason’s latest innovations and activities on the FidgetLand Instagram page, or alternatively the company Facebook page, where Jason posts regularly with special offers and deals.