Husband and wife team Irene and Noam Krasniansky hope to wipe up a deal for Bambooee, a bamboo paper towel substitute, in Shark Tank episode 517 on February 28. Bambooee is made of a rayon derived from bamboo plants. Since bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and gets re-harvested every year, it's a heck of a lot more sustainable than cutting down trees. Each roll of re-usable Bambooee has 20 towels; use them like paper towels, then wash them. Each individual towel can be washed up to 100 times – that replaces more than a dozen rolls of paper towels!
The Krasnianskys started the business in 2011 after Irene said she didn't want to use paper towels anymore. Noam set out to find a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional paper towels and Bambooee was launched. The product won accolades at kitchen shows and from green advocates everywhere. In addition to the paper towel substitutes, Bambooee sells “Swiffer style” sweeper pads. They also plant a tree for each roll of Bambooee they sell; to date they've planted over 50,000 trees!
Bambooee is doing big sales now, but they probably want some help from the Sharks getting wider distribution.
Bambooee Shark Tank Recap
Noam and Irene come into the Shark Tank offering 10% equity in return for $200,000. The pair claims that one roll of Bambooee replaces up to 256 rolls of paper towels. Noam's enthusiastic presentation gets some chuckles from the Sharks, but they are serious about the numbers.
In the first year, they sold $122,000. In their second year, sales rose to $300,000. Kevin O'Leary points out that bamboo cloth is not a new thing, and Noam explains that their manufacturing process is proprietary, with a patent pending. Total sales for the company in the previous year was $1.6 million, with a $900,000 profit.
With those numbers, the Sharks are convinced of the company's value, but Kevin O'Leary isn't buying the claims of a positive environmental impact from the reusable cleaning cloths, but Robert Herjavec points out that, in Europe, the use of cloth rather than paper towels is common.
The price is another sticking point. The average roll of paper towels costs between $1.50 and $3.50. A roll of reusable Bambooee towels averages $12.95 retail.
Kevin O'Leary doesn't find the product “compelling” because of the education necessary to get the product to market. He's willing to make an offer, but not at the 10% Noam and Irene are offering. He would loan them $200,000, with an 8% interest rate, in addition to the 10% equity. Barbara Corcoran calls him a “loan Shark.”
Lori Greiner makes an offer, for $200,000 for 10%, exactly what the couple asked for. Noam asks if any of the other Sharks want to make an offer, before the pair accept Lori's offer. They leave the Tank with a Shark deal.
Bambooee Shark Tank Update
Noam and Irene are still working to keep Bambooee moving forward, and put in up to 16 hours a day, traveling and selling Bambooee to new retailers around the world, while raising their children. They continue to push into new retail spaces, using Lori's contacts as a launchpad to get their product out to potential consumers.
The couple's hard work has paid off. Since their appearance on Shark Tank, the pair have cleared $3 million in sales. It looks as if Lori made an excellent investment with Bambooee.
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