The Real Elf Before Shark Tank
The Real Elf, also known as Tommy Holl, is an individual who dresses up as a life-size elf on the shelf and provides Christmas services in order to spread Christmas cheer. The Real Elf offers services for corporate events, digital messages, and he’ll even make an appearance at parties. As it seems, the Elf Gram digital messages are the most well-known service that The Real Elf does. This service costs $50 and can be personalized for The Real Elf to say whatever the customer wants. Additionally, the website has The Real Elf-themed merchandise such as hoodies, pillows, blankets, face masks, and even mugs.
Tommy Holl grew up in Clarendon, Illinois, and has loved Christmas, and other holidays, since he could remember. Before starting his services as The Real Elf, Tommy studied at Columbia College, where he focused most on Broadcast Journalism. After he graduated, he went on to work as an intern for NBC5 News. After that, Tommy moved on to a variety of jobs like being an Administrative Assistant, a Social Media Consultant, and a Production Assistant. Then, in 2016, he started working with a TV show called The Carbonaro Effect, where he had the responsibility of being the casting coordinator. Tommy’s idea for creating The Real Elf came to him in 2012 and it was inspired by his friends. His friends would often tell him that, had he dressed in a red onesie and a hat, he would look exactly like an elf on the shelf. The founder took those words straight to heart and decided to search for an elf costume to wear for Christmas card photos.
Unfortunately, in 2013, Tommy saw a doctor and was diagnosed with a rare genus of cancer called Epithelioid Sarcoma. The good news is, he fought strong and beat the cancer; however, he did lose a finger due to it. Nonetheless, this condition didn’t put a stop to Tommy loving to spread Christmas cheer. In fact, it gained him a new outlook on life and encouraged him to continue doing it as spreading love and joy is what he is passionate about. Given that, the founder set out to perfect his elf costume; he even made his own collar, and he includes Christmas socks in his wardrobe as well. Aside from his time as The Real Elf, Tommy also works at a digital ad agency called Publicis Media, where he is a Chief Global Growth Officer.
Since launching The Real Elf in 2012, the service has blown up in popularity quite fast. Although this elf only operates within areas in Chicago, he has already done $20,000 in sales during the Christmas season from customers wanting to take an “Elfie” with him or receive a custom message. Tommy has made appearances at events where celebrities were present, leading him to an increase in his social media presence. He was also included on a previous show called Santa’s in the Barn. Nonetheless, this fame has not taken over, The Real Elf remains to be considered a laid-back individual who just likes to spread happiness.
Furthermore, The Real Elf enjoys visiting cancer hospitals so that he can bring some love, light, and cheer to those who may be struggling. Due to his experience with Epithelioid Sarcoma, this elf does an outstanding job at making the children feel seen and heard in their time of need. Tommy has worked with a few organizations for this reason, some being the Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Department of Aviation, and the Lurie Children’s Hospital. As an Imerman Angel himself, The Real Elf strives to help many in having a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday, even if they can’t come see him themselves. Now, The Real Elf has been chosen to appear on Shark Tank. Though, it’s unclear if he is seeking sharks help with his business or if he’s been chosen solely for spreading happiness.
The Real Elf on Shark Tank
Tommy Holl, The Real Elf shows up to Shark Tank in his red onesie and little hat. He begins by acting out a little Elf Gram with Santa Claus, leading him up to telling the sharks about his Elf Gram service. Following this, he reveals that he is seeking a deal for $125,000 for a 25% cut of his business as The Real Elf. Throughout his pitch, he talks about many things, from his Elf Grams to the events he’s attended and the social media presence he’s gained along the way. However, once he says that he currently has 10,000 followers total across multiple social media platforms, Kevin O’Leary speaks up to state that he will need to broaden that number. He then mentions that, if a shark invests, he will use the money to grow his services further. He wants to launch an app and he’s hoping he’ll be able to launch more characters soon.
Tommy mentions that, just from his Elf Grams, he makes anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 in a Christmas season. He then shows the sharks his custom-made Elf Gram presented for them and then begins talking about his secondary job as Publicis Media. Mark Cuban speaks up, stating that he doesn’t understand it and that he has some concerns about the time and money Tommy has put into this service. With that, he drops out. Lori Greiner backs out of the deal next, after telling Tommy that this business just isn’t for her. The last shark to leave is Daymond John. He backed out because he felt that The Real Elf didn’t need an investor.
Ultimately, Barbara Corcoran was the only shark left in on the deal. Before making the founder an offer, Barbara makes a remark about the cancer charity that Tommy mentioned earlier in his pitch. He then speaks up about his experience with cancer and how donating to these charities makes him happy. It seems Barbara didn’t need to hear anymore as she presents Tommy with a cash offer of $50,000, along with a $75,000 loan in exchange for 35% of the business. She then added in that she would like half of all the sales to go straight to the cancer charities, though Tommy gets to choose which organizations. Tommy accepts and The Real Elf leaves with a deal with Barbara Corcoran.
The Real Elf Now in 2024 – The After Shark Tank Update
As of 2024, there hasn’t been any mention as to whether to deal with Barbara Corcoran has closed; however, The Real Elf is still in business and seems to be doing well. Unfortunately, there is no new information regarding this elf, but given that the website is still up and running, it may be safe to say that Tommy Holl could just be busy. Nonetheless, it does appear that his Elf Grams still cost $50, but customers do have to contact The Real Elf directly if they’re interested in hiring him for his other services around the Chicago area.