Henry Miller has a sweet and spicy treat in store when he pitches Henry's Humdingers, his line of spicy honey, in Shark Tank episode 516 – The Young Entrepreneurs Special. When Henry was 12, he asked his mom for a beehive for his birthday. Before he knew it, he had more honey than he knew what to do with, so he started mixing spices with it.
Four years later, Henry's business is going nationwide. Henry's Humdingers is in over 100 store in 31 states with distribution through smaller, regional supermarkets and natural food stores. He found success attracting wholesale customers for his raw honey at natural food expos – raw honey is popular with the natural foods crowd.
The business is a real family affair. Mom and Henry focus on product development and dad goes on the road to trade shows, helping Henry with marketing. When he's not making honey, Henry is involved with competitive gymnastics. He wants to go to college and continue to grow his business.
His flavored honey, with funky names like Grumpy Grandpa, Phoebe's Fireball, and Naughty Nana, can be purchased from Amazon. Henry probably wants a Shark's help to amp up production for growing demand and for help with Big Box and national chain distribution.
Henry's Humdingers Shark Tank Recap
Henry buzzes into the Shark Tank seeking out an investment of $150,000 in exchange for a 25% stake in the business. He explains that if bees were to disappear from the world, the food chain would collapse, and the “unthinkable would happen. Mr. Wonderful, you wouldn't be able to make any more money,” earning a chuckle from the Sharks.
Henry has a confident, charming presentation. He removes his beekeeper's protective suit to reveal a business suit, and hands out samples of his spiced honey. The Sharks are impressed. In 3 years, he's managed to do $67,000 in sales, with $50,000 in the past 12 months. He's in 300 stores in 30 states, including a large distributor. His lack of capital has made it difficult to increase production and distribution. His family has already invested $150,000 into the business.
Kevin O'Leary doesn't believe there's a large market for the product. He also thinks that the large honey distributors will take over the niche the minute he shows that it can become successful. He's out.
Mark Cuban wants to know about Henry's marketing strategy. He goes to food trade shows, and has landed an account with Wegmans, an impressive connection.
Lori Greiner is impressed with Henry's dedication to ecology and bee preservation, but she doesn't believe that there's necessarily a market for “spicy” honey. She doesn't think she'd get her investment back, so she goes out.
Barbara Corcoran believes Henry is charming and intelligent, and that he would do well with online crowdfunding. She likes him, but she doesn't believe he “needs” a Shark partner. She's out.
Robert Herjavec has a connection with one of the largest distributors of honey in Canada, but he's not certain that Henry's product would be a good fit with their distribution. Before he can go out, though, Mark Cuban makes a proposal. He asks Robert if he would be willing to go in on a deal. He's willing to offer $300,000, in return for a majority share- 60%, because it would be creating a new category that would have to be created.
Herjavec argues that the value isn't enough for the investment and work involved. He ups the offer to 75% for $300,000. They would take it over, and build it up, allowing Henry to keep equity, but taking over the development. Henry asks for a moment to think it over, but he accepts the offer, and leaves the stage with a Shark deal.
Henry’s Humdingers Shark Tank Update
Although Henry's bees advised him to accept the deal in order to repay his parents their $150,000 investment, he eventually turned down the Shark's offer, keeping the business in the family. Now 18, Henry feels he made the right decision. His business enjoyed a 300% increase after his appearance on Shark Tank, and his distribution has increased. He's in talks with a major yogurt chain interested in using his Henry's Humdingers as a topping, and has made contact with Target stores. The business continues to expand, still supported by his parents' efforts. In June 2015, new flavors were rolled out during a QVC segment.
Henry himself intends to attend Washington State University to study economics and entrepreneurship. Mark Cuban, far from being disappointed in losing the deal, has offered to be a reference for Henry and checks in periodically to see how the young entrepreneur is doing. Henry's bees have served up a sweet deal, and the future looks golden for this young man and his family.
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