Shake It Pup Before Shark Tank
Dogs are our best friends, and good-tasting dog food is hard to find. Any dog owner would want to feed their dogs something healthy and delicious. That is why young entrepreneurs AJ Crook and Brett Maiolfi created Shake It Pup. Shake It Pup is healthy dog food seasoning packed in an easy-to-shake bottle. Just a few shakes of the product on any dog food would elevate the taste and happiness the dog would experience.
The co-founders, Crook and Maiolfi, had already created a dog-food business in 2016 called Snap Wag. The company made flavorful dog food that was nutritious and healthy. However, they felt that dogs would still get tired of eating the same dry food, even if it was made with flavor in mind. That was the inspiration behind their idea, Shake It Pup.
With plenty of background and experience in dog food, the entrepreneurs created Shake It Pup to become a staple in the dog food market. They believed their product would quickly gain traction and sell well paired with dog food. The company has ten Shake It Pup seasoning flavors, which include: Bae’con and Eggs, Peanut Butter and Belly, Slammin Salmon, Turkey Feast, and Pizza My Heart.
Shake It Pup ensures each seasoning bottle is healthy and nutritious. The company received overwhelming feedback on its product and decided it was time to expand. Shake It Pup wanted to expand to retail, but the co-founders believed they needed a shark’s help, experience, and connections to secure shelf space for their product. Crook and Maiolfi decided to go on Shark Tank to find an investor and a business partner to help the company flourish.
Shake It Pup on Shark Tank
AJ Crook and Brett Maiolfi appeared on season 11 of Shark Tank to pitch their company, Shake It Pup. They explained the need for their product and the benefits it provides. They then handed each shark a box of flavors as a sample. The sharks were interested in the idea. The co-founders said their main competitors are wet foods and freeze-dried dog food toppers.
Shake It Pup was seeking $100,000 for 20% of the company. The company had been in business for just over a year with $105,000 in annual sales. Shake It Pup started small; the co-founders produced everything in-house without the help of any manufacturer or co-packer. However, because of the nature of the early production methods the company used, Shake It Pup quickly had problems keeping up with demand and had inventory shortages.
The co-founders invested what they made back into the business to buy tools to help speed up production, but due to their lack of experience, they continued to struggle with manufacturing. Each Shake It Pup seasoning bottle costs $2.45 to produce and sells for $12.99. Each seasoning bottle lasts 30-60 meals. Kevin was impressed by the margins on the product. The company had $3,000 worth of bottles in inventory, which was expected to last 45 days.
The co-founders told the sharks their backstory: they were elementary-school best friends who loved dogs. They quickly bonded over their love of dogs, and once they grew up, they founded Snap Wag, a dog food company. Crook and Maiolfi had already looked into co-packers and believed the cost per bottle would drop to $2 with the right co-packer.
They claimed they wanted the help of a shark to have the buying power to partner with a co-packer. They were spending 37% of production costs on packaging and labeling, which is too much for any product.
Kevin O’Leary was interested in the idea because he knew people spend too much money on their dogs. However, he thought it would be difficult to market the product because the idea was very new. So he made Shake It Pup an offer: $100,000 for 50% of the company. The sharks were shocked by the large equity amount in Kevin’s deal.
Daymond John said the idea was genius but would be a nightmare to market. He believed the other sharks would have better offers, so he was out.
Maria Sharapova, a guest shark during that episode, believed the dog food market was very crowded and Shake It Pup is a very niche product, so she was out.
Lori Greiner thought the product would do very well, and the company could expand in the future to add more products to its line, such as cat food seasoning and more. She offered the co-founders $100,000 for a $1 royalty per unit until the $100,000 is recouped. The royalty would then go down to $0.25 in perpetuity, and she would get 3% equity.
Mark Cuban said he had already invested in an organic dog food company in Shark Tank called Wild Earth. Wild Earth has been doing very well because people care about their pet’s health, so Mark believed Shake It Pup would do very well paired with Wild Earth. As a result, he offered the company $100,000 for 25% of Shake It Pup.
AJ Crook and Brett Maiolfi eagerly accepted Mark Cuban’s offer. They believed Mark was the perfect business partner for their business.
Shake It Pup Now in 2024 – The After Shark Tank Update
Unfortunately, after the company’s appearance on Shark Tank, the deal with Mark Cuban did not close. Shake It Pup saw a massive boost in orders after the episode aired, but they were unable to fulfill all orders, which left customers furious. The company apologized to customers who had purchased from their website and updated their order to arrive many months later.
Even by the end of 2020, Shake It Pup couldn’t deliver the orders it had taken to the customers. Despite being unable to deliver on old orders, the company continued to take on new orders without delivering the product. Shake It Pup had poor customer support, and customers were unable to receive any updates regarding their already-paid-for orders.
Some upset customers even went so far as to publicly post Brett Maiolfi’s home address online. Any customer who had ordered since the episode aired had to file a claim with their bank to get their money back. Throughout all this, the company had been constantly posting promotional images on its Instagram page. The posts stopped in 2021 when AJ Crook left the company and Brett Maiolfi took over.
Brett rebranded Shake It Pup to Snap Wag, the dog food company he founded in 2016. However, even after the rebranding, Snap Wag never fulfilled any orders. After a few months, Snap Wag also went dark, shutting down the company completely. With thousands of furious customers who didn’t get the product they paid for, Shake It Pup and Snap Wag received many hateful comments online.
Neither Shake It Pup nor Snap Wag seems to be coming back anytime soon. It could be speculated the reason the company failed was that the deal with Mark Cuban fell, and Shake It Pup couldn’t get enough funding to fix its inventory shortage, which might have caused Shake It Pup to go bankrupt. The concept of dog food seasoning had fans looking forward to getting their hands on the product. Unfortunately, Shake It Pup shut down before it could profit off of its Shark Tank publicity.