Irina Blok comes into the Shark Tank in Episode 105 with her idea for novelty surgical masks. Blok comes from a family of engineers. She came to the United States at age 18, to pursue her dream of becoming a designer. She began her career with Landor Associates, and was involved in the designs for FedEx, Apple, Yahoo, and Adobe, among others.
With the outbreak of swine flu, Blok felt a need for a more whimsical approach to the surgical masks that suddenly became a common sight. She felt that a designer's approach to the medical equipment would lighten the mood in serious situations and provide patients and doctors an opportunity to smile when the situation seemed grim.
Face Blok Shark Tank Recap
Blok enters the Shark Tank wearing one of her own designs, a white mask with the word “oink” emblazoned across the front. She explains that she's seeking a $50,000 investment, in exchange for 30% of her company. She reveals a series of mannequins wearing her masks. Barbara Corcoran is visibly amused, and slightly disturbed, by one that features a stylized skull. Blok offers the Sharks each their own mask. Corcoran passes on the chance to try one on. Kevin O'Leary dons one with a whimsical pig's snout, while Robert Herjavec tried on the skull mask. Daymond John turned his beard mask into a toupe, earning laughter from the other Sharks.
The Sharks chuckles don't last. Kevin O'Leary brings them back to serious business by asking if Blok has any interest or orders. She responds that when the masks were featured on Fox and the Sydney Morning Herald, her website got over 700,000 hits, and she got a call from a major Pediatric hospital. Her sales, however, were less impressive. She sold only 200 Face Blok masks. The Sharks are clearly dismayed by the low sales and news that there are no standing orders for the masks.
Kevin O'Leary says Face Blok is a “novelty item”. Robert Herjavec points out that there is no business yet, that what Blok has is an idea. O'Leary questions whether it's a “good” idea. Corcoran says the masks are “freaky” and drops out. Kevin Harrington says the masks are a “novelty item, not a serious item”, and declines to offer a deal. Daymond John agrees with Kevin, and drops out. Robert Herjavec tells her to keep going with her idea, but as a “side job”. He's out. Kevin O'Leary calls the masks a “unique idea”, but says “as an investable concept, it's not there.” With that, the final Shark turns Blok down, and she leaves the Shark Tank with no deal.
Face Blok Shark Tank Update
Not all the products that enter the Shark Tank are picked up. The Face Blok masks enjoyed a flash in the pan of attention due to the outbreak of swine flu, but the Sharks weren't convinced that they could sustain interest and sales long enough to turn a profit. Even the possibility of sales to pediatric wards isn't strong enough to keep the Sharks interested. They just don't feel the profit potential is there on the Face Blok masks.
Although the Sharks didn't bite on Blok's mask idea, she was able to promote the masks as part of her design portfolio on her website. She's pursued other endeavors in the design field, and continues to create logos and other graphic art.