Flip-it! Cap Before Shark Tank
Bottles are an everyday part of our lives; be it sauces, cleaning products, or even beauty products. All of these items use bottles as packaging. However, the issue with bottles is that sometimes it’s difficult to pour out the remains at the bottom. Steve Epstein realized the need for a solution. As a result, he invented Flip-it! Cap.
Flip-it! Cap was founded in 2014 by entrepreneur and manufacturing expert Steve Epstein from Tenafly, New Jersey. Flip-it! Cap specializes in the manufacturing of its flagship product: The aptly named, Flip-it! caps.
The Flip-it! cap is a product almost everyone needs but most don’t know it exists. The cap aims to alleviate the common frustration of not being able to get that last bit of lotion, shampoo, ketchup, or whichever container-bound liquid out of the bottle. Although it was a simple concept, no one endeavored to realize it until Epstein decided he wanted to use his manufacturing expertise to innovate for the sake of the environment.
Epstein believes that pollution is one of the biggest problems facing humanity these days, and he believes that his product will help reduce waste and help people around the world save time and money. He claims that roughly 15% of kitchen products, as well as 25% of beauty products, are wasted just because they are stuck at the bottom of the bottle.
The idea of the product itself is quite simple, though ingenious. Epstein employed his knowledge in the field of manufacturing to come up with a handful of designs for the product. The designs were plastic caps that varied in size and shape but fit most product bottles available on the market. The designs also included three legs for support and a fail-safe feature to prevent the bottle from standing on its head if the cap is not mounted properly. Each Flip-it! cap is made of BPA-free, food-grade plastic. The caps are also washable and reusable, thus making them healthier for the environment and the customer’s wallet.
Concerning the environment, one thing to consider is that bottles with liquid in them are harder to recycle efficiently. As a result, they often end up being discarded by recycling firms into landfill sites, where the remaining bits of product and the plastic bottle itself end up causing more pollution than necessary. As such, the Flip-it! cap could potentially help recycling efforts around the globe, thus alleviating the problem of waste management to some extent.
Steve Epstein believed in Flip-it! Cap‘s potential in the market. In an effort to help him expand his company and reduce environmental pollution, he decided to go on Shark Tank to find an investor and business partner willing to help his company solidify its place in the market.
Flip-it! Cap on Shark Tank
After four and a half years of founding his company, Flip-it! Cap, Steve Epstein appeared on season 10 of Shark Tank hoping to find an investor. Epstein started strong on a positive note and adequately emphasized the altruistic appeal a project like his might have. He started his pitch by establishing his product as being for men and women regardless of age and nationality, as well as having the potential to reduce global pollution. Epstein even brought a globe on stage to drive his point home. However, the business-minded sharks weren’t easy to convince.
Epstein gave each shark a sample of the product. When the sharks inspected the caps, however, criticisms soon followed. First of said criticisms came from Kevin O’Leary, who made the observation that many manufacturers have already started to design their containers to include large, flat caps that allow said containers to be stored upside down; a manufacturing trend that could potentially render the product obsolete. Epstein responded by saying that those bottles tend to be smaller and more expensive per ounce.
At this point, the Sharks have started to notice Epstein’s knowledge in the field of manufacturing and have moved on to asking him questions about the business side of his endeavor. They proceeded to ask him about the market response to the product, to which Epstein replied that the market was “receptive” towards the product. Flip-it! caps had made 2.5 million USD in revenue at the time of filming the episode, though, upon further questioning, things started falling apart rapidly.
Steven Epstein was seeking $500,000 for 10% of his Flip-it! Cap. The company’s annual sales, year by year, were as follows: 177k USD for the first year, 650k for the second, 744k for the third, 655k for the fourth, and (at the time of filming) 305k for the current year. The sales were on a downward trajectory; in other words, the product was in decline. Epstein, upon having this fact pointed out to him, tried to explain it away by saying that the company was having “too much customer concentration from [being featured on] QVC”. The Sharks were not impressed, especially after being told that the product had been featured on QVC on 65 occasions.
The problem to them was apparent; Epstein, upon being asked about his margins, explained that each cap costs him 96 cents landed and is sold on his website for 6 dollars. He believed that increasing the margins will revive the company’s sales and explains that he plans to accomplish that by using the 500k dollar investment to install larger cavitation molds to process bulk orders and cut down the cost of production. The Sharks, however, seemed to strongly disagree with Epstein. The Sharks’ interest in the product quickly turned to ridicule as they began to drop out.
Kevin O’Leary made it very clear to Epstein that the market was not at all as receptive to the product as Epstein had claimed, so he was out.
Mark Cuban followed Kevin, believing it was a bad idea to invest in the company and was out.
When Epstein told the Sharks, reluctantly, that he had $500,000 worth in inventory, the Sharks’ disappointment intensified to a critical point, and they were convinced that Epstein appeared on Shark Tank as a last-ditch effort to bring his company back from the brink of disaster.
Rohan Oza explained that “Coming onto Shark Tank is not a business plan. You need to come onto Shark Tank with a business plan”. He suggested that Epstein re-think his plans instead of trying to win over investors. For these reasons, Rohan Oza was out.
Lori Greiner was next to drop out, citing recent manufacturing trends as a reason why the product was starting to become “outmoded”.
Barbara Corcoran observed that the product had demonstrated its success on the market and suggested that Epstein should have focused his efforts more on informative advertising and on playing to the strengths of the product. She then proceeded to cite Epstein’s “lack of interest” as a reason for his perceived indecision.
Epstein could not offer a clear, business-minded response to the Sharks, and received a strong and resounding “no” from each of them, causing him to leave the tank empty-handed.
Flip-it! Cap Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Despite failing to impress the Sharks, appearing on Shark Tank did seem to have a positive impact on Flip-it! Cap’s future. The company did not fail as the Sharks had predicted. It seems that Epstein, despite the discouragement with which he was met, managed to make the best of the Sharks’ advice and flip the odds around. The company had started, at some point after the filming of the episode, working with large retail store chains, including Sally Beauty and ACE Hardware. Flip-it! Cap had carved out a substantial space for itself on Amazon. In addition, the company produced videos and infomercials about the product on social media.
It seems that Epstein realized that his own sales pitch: “The product you knew you needed but didn’t know existed,” may point to the issues holding back the sales for his product.
At the time of filming, Epstein’s company had a net worth of $800,000. Now in 2023, Flip-it! Cap is worth about $1,500,000, with a yearly revenue of $1,000,000. The company has grown, albeit slowly, and will continue to grow simply because of the practical utility and clever design of the Flip-it! cap.
Flip-it! Cap has a strong idea to work with and a solid foundation to build upon. Despite the recent manufacturing trends, it’s quite possible that the product will come to dominate the market and cement itself as a household necessity if the company can navigate the waters of marketing and sales with discretion. For more information and updates about the company, visit Flip-it! Cap’s website here.