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Mensch on a Bench

mensch on a benchFormer toy marketing executive turned entrepreneur, Neal Hoffman, pitches the Jewish answer to the Elf on a Shelf – Mensch on a Bench – in episode 614, the season six Shark Tank Holiday special. Hoffman successfully raised over $22,000 on Kickstarter in May 2013 to produce the first production run of 500 units. He quickly sold all his stock of product last holiday season.

The idea for Mensch on a Bench came from the Elf on a Shelf. Hoffman’s son wanted one, but it didn’t reflect their Jewish faith. Mr. Hoffman came up with the idea for Moshe the Mensch (Mensch means ‘honorable person’ in Yiddish), a plush toy sold with an accompanying book that explains the traditions of Hanukkah. All he wanted to do was put a little “Funukkah” in Hanukkah; it worked: the product was an instant hit!

This Holiday season, Hoffman shouldn’t sell out of the Mensch on a Bench. It’s widely available on Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Michael’s, Barnes & Noble, Toys”R”Us, and Target. Hoffman likely wants a Shark’s help with cash for filling large orders. Will the Sharks be Mensches or will they Scrooge out on Mr. Hoffman?

Mensch on a Bench Shark Tank Recap

Neal enters seeking . He opens a curtain and puts the “Funukkah into Hanukkah” while showing off the Mensch on a Bench. The Sharks are amused as Neal tells the story behind Mensch on a Bench.

He explains how he manages inventory by having the stores accept delivery direct from the factory. Neal says they cost $7.45 to make and he’ll do over  $900, 000 this year. Kevin questions being able to grow the product into a brand. Neal wants to “expand the IP” in the Jewish community. Kevin curses Neal with the “it’s a hobby” argument; he’s out.

Mark says Neal is going to grow into bankruptcy; he’s out. Robert wants to maximize the holiday sales, Lori likes the idea to and they team up to offer $150K for 30%. Neal waffles and Robert explains the risk. Neal counters $150K for 15% with a three-year personal guarantee on the money. Barbara says “hold on Neal, I’m gonna give you a better offer.

After a break, Barbara offers $150K for 20% with one contingency: she wants to make Moshe “cuter.” Barbara wants to rewrite part of the book, too. Lori and Robert accept Neal’s counter and they do the deal.

RESULT: DEAL with Robert and Lori for $150,000 for 15% with a three-year personal guarantee on the investment from Neal.

Mensch on a Bench Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. Neal announced a Mensch on a Bench clothing line in October, 2015. Mensch on a Bench gets an update segment in episode 711.

In the update, Neal and Lori appear in a Bed Bath and Beyond store where the Mensch has its own display in over 1000 stores. Since airing, they’ve sold over $1 million in product! New products in development include a singing menorah and next year’s new Hanukkah themed toy: Hanna the Hanukkah Hero.

Neal has more ideas up his sleeve, and he reveals them in Beyond the Tank episode 203. After the Beyond the Tank piece, Neal added Mitzvah Moose, Imam Adam and a plush Dreidel to the line. He also has an inflatable Mensch and a talking version. Other talking toys include Ask Bubbe, a talking Jewish grandma and her male counterpart Ask Papa. The company continues to see strong seasonal sales.

In October, 2021, Neal purchased a company called Metallic Dice Games after it made a big splash on Kickstarter. As of February, 2023, annual revenue is $1.3 million.

Posts About Mensch on a Bench on Shark Tank Blog

Hanukkah Plush Toy

Neal Hoffman Interview – Mensch on a Bench

Mensch on a Bench Company Information

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