Beverly Haines & Charlotte Clary started their business in their garage in Yelm, Washington. What began as a relatively small operation grew enough by 2012 to capture the attention of Shark Tank.
Their unique Ice Chips candy is made with an xylitol base, a natural substitute for real sugar. Xylitol studies have shown it can repair damaged enamel and is dentist recommended. Xylitol also kills germs and bacteria and freshens breath and this all natural, sweetened candy is also safe for diabetics.
1. In what year did your company begin operation? 2009
2. How long did your initial roll-out for the above product line take (months or years?) and how much did it cost? ($5,000? $20,000?) What kind of funding was available to you other than a Shark Tank investment? Did alternative funding materialize after your appearance on Shark Tank?
“In 2012, we were invited to audition for Shark Tank. In the first six months of 2012, we made $367,000 and after our segment aired on November 9, 2012, we sold well over a million dollars that year. We have doubled those sales every year since. Recently we moved into a 21,500 sq. ft. facility and employ more than 40 people. In our new facility we are striving to manufacture 50,000 tins of candy every day.”
The women did get the nod after an active bidding war among the Sharks and received an offer from Sharks Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran. The offer was ti invest a total of $250,000 in exchange for a 40 % stake in the company. Since they had not signed the Shark’s contract by the time their segment actually aired and had generated over $300,000 in sales, they never sold any part of their company.
The Shark Tank exposure stimulated substantial outside capital and investments.
3. Please describe the long term benefits and any drawbacks resulting from your Shark Tank appearance?
“We love Shark Tank and ABC! We went seriously seeking investment. It can be said at times the Sharks end up asking for additional percentages and fees. That complaint is heard often. But the show is amazing!”
“The deal did not go through in due diligence, but it was an amicable negotiation. Even without partnering with Mark and Barbara, Shark Tank is the gift that keeps on giving. There’s no such thing as bad press, but we got an eight minute ‘thumbs up’ from Shark Tank. We obviously got good exposure, we had a good edit, and the Sharks liked us and our product. It was a win/win/win.”
“People love to see other people grab the brass ring! So to this day America believes we got our deal. We remain friendly with the Sharks but ultimately we did not complete our Shark Tank deal. At the end of the day it is wonderful to keep every dollar that comes in as opposed to sending 40% to the Sharks.”
4. How do you define success? Are you there yet? Did the Shark Tank experience add to your success?
“We are on the beginning fringe (the bleeding edge) of success. Currently we are negotiating with nearly all of the Big Box stores. We have national and international sales teams. To us, success means our product is readily available to those who seek it and that we have done a good enough job of educating the public. They understand our higher price point and cannot wait to buy it.”
5. How do you define your “vision”? Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years?
“We have always been fans of natural and healthy foods and beauty products. Our vision is that children and diabetics can enjoy a vibrant and tasty treat and still know the product will love them right back. We are currently adding a few products to our line. In five or ten years we plan on Ice Chips being a household name.”
6. Please share your business approach with our readers.
“There are tricks and secrets when it comes to business. I think hard-working, passionate people succeed more than those who think up an idea or a product and pass it off to someone else to develop. When the person who invents a product stays with the project and brings it to reality, there is a better outcome.
We also believe having talented, successful people hook up with your dream makes a dream come true!
But when you have the right product, a product people trust and understand, a product they want, none of the financial problems caused by a bad economy apply. All the rules fly out the window. Create a product that is safe, tasty and healthy or a product that meets a need that has never been met before and people will line up to buy it.
And finally: Be fair; run a clean and happy factory. Trust your employees, your suppliers and your stores. Have a passion to make your product the best it can be.”
Beverly Vines-Haines and Charlotte Clary
P. O. Box 2401
Yelm, Washington 98597