Spretz Before Shark Tank
Tony Gauthier was hosting a fund raising event in his home town of Oakland, California when he began to feel the need to indulge in his secret vice. Tony was a secret smoker, and took the opportunity to pop outside for a quick fix, during a brief intermission in the event. Afterwards he realized that although he had gum to mask the smell of smoke on his breath, he had nothing that would make his hands smell fresh. Concerned about the amount of hand shaking he would be doing later that evening, Tony decided to spit on his hands, in a desperate attempt to disguise the smell with some minty saliva. It was in that slightly gross moment that he had a flash of inspiration.
Tony knew that not only smokers ended up with smelly hands and breath, it was also a common problem with garlic, coffee, cheese and fish, amongst other pungent products. He saw a need for a product that would eliminate unpleasant odors completely, from both breath and hands, and he embarked on the road to developing one. He joined forces with a certified chemist and after a research and development period, during which several variations of the idea were tested, the Spretz spray was eventually created.
Spretz on Shark Tank
Tony came into the tank, along with Creative Director Scott Hoag and consultant Wesley Osaze in January 2016, and was seeking a $100,000 investment in exchange for a 20% stake in the company.
The pitch was unusual, the three entrepreneurs formulated the whole of Tony’s story of sudden inspiration around a well rehearsed hip-hop style presentation. It was a fairly unique approach and it sounds a little cheesy, but the three must have rehearsed their lines long into the night on multiple occasions. The whole thing could have fallen flat but they somehow made it work. It finished up with them all holding out their Spretz sprays and chorusing ‘Welcome to the future of Fresh!’
Robert was impressed, ‘Boom!’ he exclaimed and Lori applauded, Mark Cuban wondered aloud how much practice the pitch had taken to get so perfect.
Samples of Spretz in both Peppermint and ‘Cinnamint’ were handed out to the sharks and they seemed to find it pleasant enough. Robert remarked it was strong, and Lori commented how nicely refreshing it was. But Kevin O’Leary found the packaging less refreshing.
He asked how a customer would know that Spretz was a dual purpose product for both hands and breath, the packaging wasn’t too clear on that point, it wasn’t too detailed about the use of the product at all. Kevin was keen to point out that the freshener threesome wouldn’t be available to do their hip hop routine in every store.
Wesley explained that the packaging would be redesigned in the future, to make the function of Spretz completely clear to consumers.
Mark Cuban inquired if the product was being sold already or if it was pre-sales. Tony replied that the product sales so far, of approximately 1,000 units, had been more of a proof of concept and test of the market, rather than a full launch of the product.
There was a moments silence as the Sharks digested the less than impressive sales history, eventually Robert Herjavec asked about the retail price of the spray. $3.95 confirmed Tony quickly, appearing quite eager to move on from the sales figures.
Kevin O’Leary, far from surprisingly, wanted to mull over the sales a little more. He asked for clarification that only 1,000 units had been sold. Tony confirmed that was true. Kevin asked ‘How many dollars is that?’ and Tony stumbled slightly, sensing an imminent explosion from Mr Wonderful, before finally confirming that total sales had been thirty five hundred Dollars. ‘Thirty Five Hundred’ repeated Kevin, emphasizing the word hundred and letting it sink into a suddenly awkward silence.
Tony found a voice to speak with eventually and explained that the company had spent no money on marketing or promotion at all so far. Lori asked how long the product had been on sale for. Tony confirmed that Spretz had been sold for only two months, and suddenly the sharks seemed a little less hostile.
Lori was interested, she asked Tony to conduct an experiment, she told him to spread some garlic over his hands, which he did. She then checked to see that his hands were suitably pungent and sprayed them to see if the aroma was masked. Tony proffered his hands but the Queen of QVC didn’t seem sure of the efficiency of the spray either way, she asked Tony to wait a few minutes before she concluded her testing.
Mark Cuban spoke about the use of the product, he thought it was a potentially good idea, but it was a new one, most people in need of Spretz would usually just wash their hands instead. In order to market the product it would take a million dollars at the very least. Mark was unable to see a future for the business, and he was out.
Tony made a spirited defense of the commitment that he and his partners had, he made a heartfelt and well articulated speech asserting the belief that they all had in Spretz, and the belief that they could make it a success with hard work and determination.
Kevin O’Leary wasn’t one to get misty eyed if he didn’t believe in a business, and he didn’t believe in Tony’s strategy for the future of Spretz. He said ‘Great Passion, but we have to deal with the economic realities’. He then asserted that he was in agreement with Mark Cuban, $100,000 was just not enough to market the product. With that, Kevin joined Mark in dropping out of the negotiations.
Barbara Corcoran had been silent to this point, and now she had good and bad news for the Spretz businessmen. She thought the product could be marketed for as little as $250,000, if the money was used wisely. Kevin O’Leary asked her if she was going to invest a quarter of a million in the business. Barbarta waved at him to be quiet and continued speaking. She admired the passion of Tony and his attitude to business, but she didn’t think he was wise to put all his faith in the Spretz spray. Barbara saved the bad news for last and asserted that although she believed in the three entrepreneurs, she didn’t believe in Spretz, and she was out too.
Robert Herjavec spoke up next. He essentially echoed Barbara’s sentiments as he dropped out too. The enthusiasm, passion and commitment of the Spretz three had impressed him greatly, but he couldn’t see any real future for the Spretz spray itself.
Lori Greiner was the only shark left, she called Tony over and asked to smell his hands again. There was a brief moment when things seemed suddenly more optimistic for Tony as Lori exclaimed ‘The garlic is gone, it works!’, and Tony pumped his fists in celebration.
‘Come on Lori!’ he urged her, almost shaking in anticipation.
Unfortunately for Tony, and the Spretz business, Lori wasn’t going to ‘Come on’, but her assessment of Tony and his colleagues was about as glowing as it could be. She described them as ‘amazing’ and asserted how much she believed in them, but she hit the nail on the head when she explained that there wasn’t a great need for a hand freshening spray. She believed that most people would simply wash their hands, or use a hand sanitizer, if unclean hands were a problem for them. She urged Tony and his colleagues to ‘Grind’ away on other problems until they came up with a better product. With that, Lori dropped out too, leaving Toni, Scott, Wesley and Spretz without a deal, but she left them with a good chunk of inspiration too, and it didn’t cost them a penny or a percentage of their equity.
Spretz Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
While Spretz interested some of the sharks, many were concerned about the product’s marketability and potential profitability. Because of this, they weren’t able to secure a deal on the show.
However, not all was lost for Spretz after Shark Tank. For one thing, the exposure that they received from being on the show gave them a huge boost in recognition and credibility.
Before long, the company had begun to receive numerous online orders and saw an increase in retail inquiries. Shoppers were evidently intrigued by the convenience of having a two-in-one product that not only freshened their breath but also sanitized their hands.
Not only that but they also expanded their product line. More specifically, the company introduced new flavors to its range, providing more options for consumers and catering to a broader range of preferences.
In addition to that, they made efforts to improve their online presence. For one thing, they gave their website a more user-friendly interface, which made it easier for customers to browse products, read about the brand, and make purchases.
They also improved their packaging design for better appeal and functionality. The size of the product has been slightly adjusted to fit more comfortably in pockets and small bags, proving that Spretz is committed to providing convenience and value.
Despite all that, however, the website went down sometime in 2022. As of 2023, their URL remains inactive. If anything, it seems like they have shut their doors for good.