This is something I have wanted to do for a while: Track a brand before and after pitching on Shark Tank.
I stumbled across a TikTok post from Curie in early March saying they have been selected to air on Friday, March 11th. This was a perfect opportunity to start tracking a brand before they aired on Shark Tank and see how the airing affects their website sales.
What is Curie?
Curie started as a natural deodorant that worked! Clean, aluminum-free deodorant. Their product line has expanded to full body deodorant spray, hydrating hand sanitizer, detox mask, whipped body wash, and more.
Shark Tank Tracking
In the 7 days leading up to the airing, Curie had received 135 orders. That’s an average of about 19 orders per day through their website. 10 hours after they aired on Shark Tank, they had received over 3600 orders. And within 3 days after their airing, they received in total just over 7500 orders.
Curie’s average order size is about $35. Before the Shark Tank airing, they were generating around $665 per day in sales through their website. In the 3 days after their airing, they generated over $260K in sales.
Sarah Moret’s (founder of Curie) Shark Tank Story
Sarah started Curie as a side hustle in 2018/2019. In her first year of business, she generated $125K in sales with zero digital ad spend. She grew the business organically through social media and influencer partnerships.
In February 2020, Sarah applied to be on Shark Tank but was eliminated in the first round. However, she was encouraged to apply again.
In 2020 she focused on Curie full-time and grew the sales to $700K. In February 2021, she reapplied to Shark Tank. This time she was accepted. Her taping date was set for late July. The night before her taping, she got a call from the producer. Due to weather, flights had been delayed, and as a result, she was bumped from the schedule. She was told that she might have a chance in September, but no guarantees.
September came around, and she was told that she was going to be a local standby. If someone dropped out or they had extra space, they would call her in at the last moment to come film her pitch.
One Saturday night in September (about halfway through the standby window), she went out for drinks and dinner. The next morning, slightly hungover, she decided to go for a hike with her fiancee. During the hike, she received 2 missed calls from the Shark Tank producer. Sarah called the producer back and was told that they were ahead of schedule filming today and could fit her in at 4pm. It was currently 2pm.
Sarah didn’t think she had enough time to leave from her hike, get ready, and make it to the production studio. However, after some convincing from her fiancee, she agreed to go give her pitch.
At the end of all pitch, all the Sharks opted not to invest. However, after Mark and Barbara heard her story of being told only 2 hours ago she would be pitching, they came back in and made her an offer of $300K for 10% equity (plus another 4% advisory shares).
Other Curie Financial Data
- At the beginning of 2020, Sarah raised $1M through a convertible note at a $5M cap
- Curie was on pace for over $2M in sales in 2021
- Gross Margins
- Stick Deodorant: Retail $12 Cost $2.70 (77% GM)
- Spray Deodorant: Retail $14 Cost $2.90 (79% GM)
- Body Care Products: 80% Gross Margin
Female Startup Club Podcast
I have recently become friends with Doone Roisin, the creator of the Female Startup Club and the host of the Female Startup Club Podcast. Doone had Sarah Moret on her podcast back in September:
This is a must listen to podcast episode. Here are my takeaways from it:
- Sarah started Curie with $12K in initial capital. $10K of that was used for the first production run and the other $2K was used for trademark, incorporating, and building the website
- Before her first production run, Sarah had it narrowed down to 5 scents she wanted to go with. However, she could only afford 1 scent to start. Rather than just going with her own opinion, Sarah went to a local mall and asked random women to smell the scents and ask for their opinions. The most popular scent would be the one she would use for the first production run (White Tea won and it is still their top seller today).
- Sarah built a core customer base through organic means over a couple of years before introducing a new product line to them. She credited this to her explosive growth when they launched their hand sanitizer in 2020 (and yes, timing also mattered as it was in the start of the pandemic).
- Influencers have been a big driver of growth for them. However, rather than just make the relationship transactional, Sarah would go to lunch with these influencers, work out with the influencers, become friends with these influencers. Building these relationships went a long way when the influencer promoted her product.
- As of August 2021, Curie struggled to profitably acquire customers through Facebook (Today, they only have 2 active ads on Facebook. I have to believe that Facebook advertising is not a huge driver of growth for them).
- In July 2021, 30% of Curie’s revenue came from TikTok.
- In August 2021, Curie was launched in all Soul Cycle gyms. This offered Curie exposure to their ideal audience and allowed them to try out the product for themselves. This partnership was supposed to launch in April 2020 but because of covid this was delayed over a year.
- Another big growth driver for Curie was being on QVC. The timing matched up perfectly as QVC was starting QVC Clean (products made with clean materials)
- Sarah prioritizes building her network. The opportunities for Soul Cycle and QVC came because of people in her network who could make introductions for her.
Is the Shark Tank Bump A One Time Event, Or Is There Sustainable Growth From The Exposure?
The answer to this question will come in time. When I tracked MuddyBites, and they had a surge of sales because of a viral exposure, I thought they would see increased sales long after the event. However, their sales returned back down to the same level as they were before the viral event.
Will Curie’s website sales return back down to where they were pre-Shark Tank airing or will they see continued growth from this exposure? I will continue to track them to find out!