Nohbo Before Shark Tank
Nohbo is the innovative creation of sixteen-year-old entrepreneur, Benjamin Stern of Melbourne, Florida. Nohbo essentially is a small ball containing shampoo, conditioner or body wash contained within a dis-solvable membrane. Each ball has enough product for exactly one use meaning there is no waste and no by-products that can be harmful to the environment. The young man was first inspired to come up with a product like this when he was in ninth grade and he watched a video about the problem of plastic waste. After watching the video, Benjamin began to ponder various ideas and was once again inspired by the laundry pods his mother used. He began to think that surely you could put some shampoo, conditioner or body wash into a similar delivery system.
And so the idea for Nohbo was born. Benjamin was at a slight disadvantage being so young as he did not have disposable income that could help him translate his ideas into actual products. In an attempt to raise the funds needed to develop the product range, Benjamin tried to get funding using a Kickstarter campaign. Unfortunately, that was unsuccessful. However, Benjamin showed true entrepreneurial spirit and persevered with Nohbo. He borrowed money from friends and family, dipped into his college fund and got himself a part-time job. He managed to raise $20,000 and was able to get a chemist to develop the product.
The ultimate dream for Benjamin is to license his product to large companies but to do that he needs some help. Benjamin decided to take a trip to the shark tank in search of some additional capital as well as some business expertise and key business relationships the sharks could provide to get the product out on to the market. Will Benjamin impress the sharks with his young entrepreneurial mind and clean up in the shark tank?
Nohbo On Shark Tank
Benjamin enters the shark tank accompanied by who he describes as his number one supporter, his grandmother Lois. He introduces himself and Lois to the sharks and informs them that he is looking for $100,000 in return for a twenty per cent equity share in his company, Nohbo. Benjamin goes on to say that his product Nohbo is changing the way people wash their ‘shiny locks’. He adds that he is talking to Mr. Wonderful and Kevin’s fellow sharks are highly amused. Benjamin is a self-confessed environmentalist and informs the sharks that eighty per cent of people do not recycle any items from their bathroom. That equates to twelve entire football stadiums being filled each year from empty shampoo bottle waste that could be easily recycled. Benjamin goes on to explain that with the Nohbo balls there is absolutely no waste and what’s more no outside container to get rid of after use. Each little ball of Nohbo contains just the right around of shampoo, conditioner, body wash or shaving cream for one use. Another surprising piece of information that Benjamin reveals to the sharks is that Nohbo is actually cheaper than its bottled competition. The sharks all seem impressed so far and Benjamin goes on to say that he will demonstrate exactly how the Nohbo balls work. He wets Lois’ hair and then rubs the Nohbo shampoo ball between his wet hands thus dissolving it and creating a shampoo. Then just work the shampoo into the hair as normal before rinsing out and repeating the whole process with the Nohbo conditioner. After the demonstration, Benjamin tells the sharks that he needs their investment so he can license the Nohbo products to personal care products all over the world. Will the sharks get on board with this idea?
Mark is impressed and asks what grade Benjamin is in to which he replies he is in the eleventh grade and is just sixteen years old. The sharks take a closer look at the products. Benjamin explains that the inspiration for the shampoo and conditioner without their bottles came from the laundry tablets for a washing machine or a dishwasher. Robert wants to know more about when this idea occurred to Benjamin. Benjamin tells the sharks that he thought of this idea in January 2014 and has since spent two years working on perfecting the product. Benjamin also contacted a large hotel chain about a licensing deal who said they were interested in the product but not until it I patented. At present the patent for Nohbo is pending. The Hotel chain wanted samples of the Nohbo products and the sharks are all incredibly impressed by this. Unfortunately, Benjamin did not have adequate samples to send to the chain of Hotels and he is hoping the sharks can help him today with additional capital to get the Nohbo ball rolling.
Robert brings up the potential problem of larger companies going into competition but Benjamin believes that his product is truly the best out there on the market. Barbara thinks the aluminium foil makes the Nohbo balls look like candy which is of course misleading. Benjamin explains that the packaging is only temporary and he wants to use some eco-friendly packaging to keep the product in line with his environmental friendly vision.
Kevin wants to know if the products Benjamin has brought along today is the entire inventory of the Nohbo products to which Benjamin replies that unfortunately it is. Mark seems very enthusiastic about the product and asks if he can take a closer look at one of the boxes. Robert is interested in the name and asks where Nohbo came from. Benjamin replies that Nohbo is actually ‘no hair bottles shortened.
Mark wants to talk numbers and Benjamin explains that it costs about six cents to make a Nohbo ball at present. He wants to drive down the price to about four cents per Nohbo ball. He maintains that if the cost was reduced to four cents then he could sell the Nohbo balls for twelve cents. Benjamin seems adamant that he wants the Nohbo products in hotels all around the United States and beyond however Mark points out a problem. When guests stay in hotels they expect to see bottles of shampoo and conditioner so there would be an element of having to explain how exactly the use the Nohbo balls to the guests. This may be a disadvantage from the hotel’s point of view.
Lori tells Benjamin that he is truly amazing and has impressed each of the sharks. She goes on to give him some advice saying never to sell a product unless it is exactly ready. For Lori, it is too early for her to get involved in the production and development of Nohbo so for that reason, she declares herself out.
Kevin agrees with Lori and acknowledges that the process of getting Nohbo onto the market will be a long one. The personal care market is a multi-million-dollar industry but there is an element of brand loyalty with some customers also. Kevin also decides to declare himself out.
Robert is very impressed with Nohbo but is concerned that without the patent the product will not take off. He makes an offer of the $100,000 in return for a twenty per cent equity share but he says the patent must be confirmed before the deal is done. Once that happens he will set up a licensing arrangement. Robert says his offer is just an option and encourages Benjamin to think about it.
Mark is eagerly awaiting his turn to speak and exclaims that he loves the product. Mark says that Benjamin remind him a lot of a young version of himself and he is absolutely willing to make an offer. Mark goes on to say that he has a team of lawyers that work for him that will be able to help with the patent. Further to that, Mark has a shampoo company so he knows the industry and the market. As if that was not enough, he has a team that could work on the numbers and keep everything ticking over for Nohbo so Benjamin would not have to worry about that aspect of the company either. For all that, Mark is willing to offer the $100,000 in return for a twenty-five per cent equity share of the company. Benjamin is quite visibly thrilled that he has received two offers from such successful entrepreneurs.
Robert is keen for Benjamin to reconsider his offer but Barbara wants a piece of the action too. She offers the $100,000 in return for a twenty per cent equity share in the company. She goes on to say that she would introduce Benjamin to the cosmetics brand Estée Lauder and if he did the deal with them, he could keep the $100,000 investment. Benjamin is clearly delighted and asks if any of the sharks would consider joining forces to which they all agree not to on this particular product.
Benjamin thanks each of the sharks for the offers but decides to accept Mark’s offer. Both Benjamin and Mark seem delighted that a deal has been done. Benjamin and his grandmother leave the shark tank overwhelmed that they have walked away with a successful deal. Benjamin describes it as winning the lottery except that he has earned it. Another successful deal to come out of the shark tank!
Nohbo Now In 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
The company saw a huge increase in sales after appearing on Shark Tank. However, that only lasted for a while. Despite his best efforts, Stern was unable to bring the Nohbo Balls to market. Not only that, but some customers also complained about the products’ shape. There were frequent shipping delays as well.
At the end of the day, they had to reinvent the product. Working with a team of chemists, they eventually came up with Nohbo Drops – single-use drops containing shampoo, body wash, conditioner, or shaving cream – that dissolve in water, and like its predecessor, they do not contain any parabens, sulfates, or other harsh chemicals.
Since then, they’ve landed a partnership deal with European distributor Bunzel, which inked a 76 million-unit purchase commitment. If anything, Mark seems quite proud of the now 20-year-old’s achievements.
More recently in 2020, Stern’s company, Nohbo Inc., landed a $3.6 million investment from Boston-based VC fund, Material Impact; this has allowed them to open up a new integrated facility in Central Florida. Not only that, but they’ve also been able to engage with large partners and advance R&D. They’ve also been issued three patents for their products, with multiple others pending, and have launched a direct-to-consumer brand called Sunrise Session.
Asked about their goals for 2022, they plan on expanding in hotels and running pilots for large groups, both of which will allow them to make a bigger impact on plastic waste reduction. They also plan on launching a new technology called Hydrofills, which will form a 7 oz container of shampoo, conditioner, or body wash, when mixed with 6 oz with water.
Not everything has been positive, however. While working to reinvent the product, Stern lost his grandmother- who had appeared on Shark Tank with him- to cancer. The update also seemed to touch Lori, who tweeted, “I know your Bubbe is so proud.”
As of 2023, they offer Revive Shampoo Drops ($20), Restore Conditioner Drops ($22), Coconut Milk Soap Slips ($3.50), and Detox Body Wash Drops ($18). Not only that, but they also have various kits that come with different products. For example, you can get a Collection Kit that includes drops, slips, a loofah, as well as a travel case for $140. You can also get the Coconut Milk Soap Slip Bundle, which comes with 6 boxes of 60 slips.
For those who are interested in making a purchase, you can check out their official website here. They currently ship to customers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. However, they plan on shipping worldwide sometime in the near future.