Shahira Marei founded her start-up business, Dirty Cookie, in 2015. Prior to creating her business, Shahira worked with S&S Enterprises. Her job there as a startup consultant, in which she helped guide new startup businesses with counseling before their business was kickstarted. This former job position came in handy when she moved forward with creating Dirty Cookie. Now, you may be asking yourself, what exactly is Dirty Cookie? It’s certainly a creative name for a company, but there’s more to know about it.
Dirty Cookie is an Orange County, California-based company that creates custom cookies in two different unique forms. They make what is essentially a shot glass made entirely out of cookies, and they make ooey gooey, stuffed cookies as well. They also sell an array of DIY cookie shot kits, gift, birthday, special occasion, and holiday boxes, and even some Dirty Cookie merch.
The cookie shot glasses are made out of soft, chewy cookies that are shaped and baked into a mold of a glass. Because any beverage put into the shot glass could soften the cookie and cause a mess, they then use chocolate to line the glass. This prevents that mess from happening. Depending on the age of the consumer, these cookie shots are filled with a variety of beverage choices. Anything from milk to Bailey’s. The Dirty Cookie stuffed cookies, on the other hand, are much more simple, yet still fun. These cookies are often stuffed with things like marshmallows and nutella, although there are other choices as well.
As for Shahira herself, she never thought that these cookies or even baking in general, would become her life. In fact, on her LinkedIn profile, she states that she “is the furthest person from your typical Betty Crocker”. Going from being an aerospace project manager at one time to the CEO of a cookie company is quite the change. Nonetheless, her story of how Dirty Cookie came to life is quite beautiful. She actually created it with the intention of making a small, yet meaningful business that would benefit many lives, including the lives of her employees.
When Shahira was just 10 years old, she had the opportunity to visit Egypt. While that must have been an incredible experience on its own, she couldn’t help but be drawn to the sight of the many homeless and hungry individuals. Young children living on the streets, being underprivileged and lonely, broke her heart. Thus leading her to turn to her father in hopes that he could give them some money. While he approved of helping them, he told Shahira about things that had stayed with her throughout her life and determined her to build her start-up. He said, “If you really want to help them, give them jobs, not money.”
Since Dirty Cookie launched in 2015, the company has become quite popular. Consumers loved the concept, as well as the unique design of the cookies. Aside from the cookies, Shahira has come up with a couple ways to continue helping those children in need. Every time someone orders a Dirty Cookie, Shahira then donates a percentage of it to organizations like Girl Who Code, Citizen Schools Organization, and The Freedom Story. With that, the company has also already invested $10 million into an education-based non-profit in hopes that it will further help underprivileged children with their education needs.
Although Shahira has been successful in running her business thus far, she is seeking some guidance from a shark. She hopes to receive an investment as well as some guidance towards selling her cookies in stores, which would require some sort of preservation. With that, it’s time to find out if Shahira can land a deal with a shark.
Dirty Cookie on Shark Tank
Shahira Marei, the CEO of Dirty Cookie, appears on Shark Tank in hopes of getting a deal of $500,000 for a 5% equity in her company. She starts pitching her company, while the sharks try their Dirty Cookie samples; a cookie in which they all seem to like. Shahira continues on to tell the sharks about her past work experiences and how she was led to creating Dirty Cookie. Following that, she presents the prices of the cookies, as well as a little bit of information about her cookie shot decorating kits.
After concluding her initial pitch, Shahira begins to explain the numbers to the sharks. She tells them that, after 3 years following her launch, her company saw $300,000 in sales. A year later, the company reached $345,000 in sales, which then got them up to $1.27 million in sales after another year. It was around this time when the pandemic hit, which tends to be a breaking point for start-ups; however. Shahira got lucky as the pandemic only made her company more popular. During said pandemic, Dirty Cookie made $2.6 million in sales.
As it appears that Shahira is doing quite well with her company, the sharks are intrigued to know what she needs their investment for. She’s explained that her personal profits seem low due to her business being solely handmade products. Given that, she’s been looking into a quicker, more efficient way of creating her cookies. She explains that she has found a machine that would be able to make about 4,000 cookies within each passing hour; however, the machine is $400,000. With a sharks investment, Shahira would easily be able to purchase the machine and increase the company’s production rate.
At this time, Robert Herjavec chimes in to ask Shahira about her company’s valuation. She responds by telling Robert that her recent sales of $2.6 million have been multiplied by 4. She then goes on to mention that she has started licensing agreements with 1-800 Flowers and FTD. With that, she hopes that she can reach around $6 million in sales by 2022. Unfortunately, Daymond John wasn’t too intrigued by these numbers. He said that he didn’t see much profit coming from her company, so he drops out with Robert following him in agreement. They both see too many flaws in her company.
The next shark to talk to was Lori Greiner. She states that she loves the idea of Dirty Cookie and the flaws don’t seem to bother her. She offers Shahira $250,000 for a 25% equity in Dirty Cookie, as well as a $250,000 loan with an 8% interest rate. To this offer, Shahira was about to make a counter-offer with Lori; however, Robert spoke up first. He told Shahira that he believed in her and that he would present her with an offer of $500,000 and a 30% equity in her company. Along with his offer, Robert added that his equity would be dropped by 15% as long as they were able to meet the $6 million goal in 2023. Lori likes the sound of that and adjusts her offer to match Robert’s.
Mark Cuban decides to drop out after presenting a few problems that he sees with Dirty Cookie. First of all, he believes that the overall business model could be better. He also states that there could be too much competition as there are a variety of other edible gifting services. Nonetheless, his main concern is with the efficiency of the company’s capital. Following Mark, Kevin O’Leary jumps straight to the point, mentioning that he hates the business model. Due to that and the prices of the cookies, Kevin goes out. At this point, there are no further offers and Shahira decides to accept Roberts offer of $500,000 and a 25% equity in Dirty Cookie, which would drop to 15% if $6 million in reached by 2023.
Dirty Cookie Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Since Shahira Marei received a deal with Robert Herjavec on Shark Tank, her company has been doing great and the deal with Robert has not yet been closed. The company had been promoted and their sales increased to 4 times what they were making at the time of the episode airing. Given that, their profits have increased and Shahira continues to donate a percentage of the profits to the non-profits for children’s education.
In the middle of 2021, Dirty Cookie took part in the Nuts ‘n More partnership, which is a company that had previously received an investment from Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban. Dirty Cookie has also been successfully featured on Good Morning America, Today, Forbes, and Food Network. Not only did this give the company more positive publicity, but it also increased their sales drastically. In fact, as of 2023, Dirty Cookie has a net worth of around $10 million. These cookies can be purchased on their official Dirty Cookie website or on Amazon.