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Gently Soap

gently soapKristen Dunning hopes to clean up and snag an investment for Gently Soap, her line of herbal soaps that help fight eczema naturally, in Shark Tank episode 1501 – the season 15 premier. Dunning is a self described “eczema warrior” and “herb science lover” who suffered with eczema throughout her childhood. She used many topical prescription medications over the years, but found more relief from her grandmother’s herbal concoctions.

This led her to pursue studies in medicinal plants, their healing properties, and their effects on common skin conditions at the University of Georgia in 2018. She began making and testiing soaps and in October, 2020, she Launched Gently Soap. All the products are herbal, sustainably made, 100% natural, vegan, essential oil free, fragrance free, dye free, and palm-oil free.

She got her business going with $54,500 in a variety of startup business competitions including 2022 TiE Atlanta,  2022 Terry College of Business Student Startup Award, 2021 UGA Spring Quick Pitch, 2020 UGA Idea Accelerator and The University of Georgia Kickstart Fund. As a one woman business, she wears many hats, but her vision for the future is to expand. A Shark could help with that.

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Kristen Dunning: The Inventor Behind Gently Soaps

Gently Soap Shark Tank Recap

Kristen enters the Shark Tank seeking $75,000 for 10% equity in her company. She says nobody should be robbed of joy because of their sensitive skin. Kristen talks about having eczema her whole life and how bath products caused her extreme pain. She set out to make a joyful yet gentle bathing experience for people like her and spent 3 years studying horticulture to learn about the power of plants. Gently Soaps have no essential oils or harsh chemicals so people with sensitive skin can feel joy, but anybody can use the soaps.

The Sharks examine their samples and Lori likes the smell. Candace says she’s sensitive to fragrances but these soaps smell fresh. She has an undergraduate degree in horticulture and spent summers at her grandparents’ farm. She sells direct to consumer and is launching on Amazon in 2 weeks. Sales to date are $113,000. 2022 sales were $66,000. She started the business while still a full time student and managed to increase sales 3 times year over year. Repeat customers are at 78%. 60% of customers have some sort of skin issue like eczema. Profits on 2022 sales were $38,000. A bar of soap costs $2.38 landed with packaging and they sell for $11.

Who’s In?

71% of the population in the USA has some sort of sensitive skin issues and it’s a growing problem. Kevin is put off by the price, but the other Sharks defend it. Kristen gets upset talking about how she was bullied because of her skin. Lori loves what she’s done but can’t invest because of something else she’s working on; she’s out. Mark isn’t a luxurious soap person so he can’t connect to the product; he’s out. Daymond doesn’t think he can help her; he’s out.

Kevin wants to know about customer acquisition costs. She gets a customer for $5.83 and the average order value is over $40. Kevin says he smells a royalty. He offers $75,000 for 10% plus $1 a bar until he recoups $500,000 then it drops to 20 cents in perpetuity. Candace says Kristen is a passion driven entrepreneur. She offers $75,000 for 30%. The other Sharks scoff at that offer, but Candace says she thinks they can blow it up and get acquired. Kristen counters with 15% and Candace says no. She counters again at 20% and Candace says no again. When Kristen counters with 25%, Candace agrees.

Gently Soap Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. On show night, the company sold out its inventory. After the original air date, Kristen said of the on air deal with Candace: “We’re going to pitch to Target. We’re going to pitch to Walmart. And none of that is guaranteed, but it’s happening, and it is beyond what I thought I would be able to achieve at this point in the business.”

In December, 2023, both Kristen and Candace appeared on FOX 11 Los Angeles. Candace said she invested because of Kristen’s personal stake and passion in developing the product. In June, 2024, the company appears in Candace’s C2 Ventures portfolio.

The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on Gently Soap & Kristen Dunning as more details become available.