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Nopalera

nopaleraSandra Velasquez pitches Nopalera, her line of skin care products derived from nopal, the prickly-pair cactus, in Shark Tank episode 1412. Nopalera is the second cactus based product to appear in the Tank. In season 13, Barbara did an on air deal with Pricklee, a cactus based beverage. The reason the prickly pear cactus is so good for you is it’s loaded with vitamins A and C and it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. The cactii are also one of the most sustainable crops on earth.

Velasquez, who is of Mexican heritage and has a background in sales, wanted to create a brand that celebrates her Latino heritage while creating clean, sustainable products. She started the business out of her Brooklyn apartment in November, 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are six products in the line: Cactus Soap, Moisturizing Botanical Bar, Cactus Flower Exfoliant, Cleanse + Scrub + Moisture Set, and Soap + Bar Duo. Prices range from $14 for a bar of soap to $71 for a set of different products.

The company got started selling direct to consumer through Facebook and Instagram ads in the southwestern USA where there is a large Latino population. She grew from there by acquiring emails and keeping in touch with her audience. Things got busy for her from there. She won numerous awards like the Target Takeoff Beauty Cohort, 2022, Latino Start Up Of The Year at Match-Up, 2022 and many more. The products are in over 600 boutiques and she launched in Nordstrom in March, 2022. In October, 2022 – after taping the Shark Tank segment – the company secured $2.7 million in seed funding from a variety of sources. Sandra likely wants a Shark’s help expanding her retail presence nationally.

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Nopalera Soap and Skincare

Nopalera Shark Tank Recap

Sandra enters the Shark Tank seeking $300,ooo for 5% of her company. She says she was born in southern California to Mexican immigrant parents and nopales were everywhere. Next, she talks about the versatility of the nopales. You can eat it, make textiles from it and use it on your skin and hair. She uses the nopal for her Mexican branded skin care products.

Kevin immediately asks about sales. She launched November, 2020 and made $19,000. In 2021, she had $607,000 in sales. 2022 sales were $335,000 at the time she taped (summer 2022) and she’s projecting $1 million in sales for the year. Sales are 50% direct to consumer and 50% wholesale. Wholesale accounts are Nordstrom, Credo Beauty, Free People and 350 independent boutiques nationwide.

Daniel is impressed by her sales, but he questions the $6 million valuation. Sandra says she has meetings with two top beauty retailers in the next 30 days and “the hockey stick moment is coming.” She also has international interest, but she’s not  set up operationally for it.

Daymond says he has two half Latina daughters and he loves what Sandra is doing but he’d have to ask for too much equity. Daymond goes out. Kevin wants to know if she’ll make money this year. Sandra says she will, but she doesn’t have an exact number. Lori says her mission is great, but it’s not investable for her; she’s out. Mark says the valuation is too high; he’s out.

Sandra turns to Daniel and they speak a little Spanish to each other. He says Sandra is very impressive, then he explains how he had a dead sea mineral soap business when he was fresh out of college. It didn’t go well for him so he’s out. Kevin is the last Shark left and he says the business is not worth $6 million. Kevin offers $300,000 for 30%. Daniel says if she’s going to consider an offer like that, he’s going to make her an offer.

Daniel offers $300,000 for 25%. Sandra says the business is about self worth and Kevin says 75% of the returns on his Shark Tank deal have come from companies run by women. Sandra counters with $600,000 for 10% – a $6 million valuation. Daymond calls her out on it and there’s some back and forth banter from the Sharks. Sandra won’t budge from her numbers and she leaves with no deal.

Nopalera Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. Just a few months after taping her segment, Sandra raised $2.7 million from  L’Attitude Ventures and six angel investors at a $10 million valuation. Sandra retains 60% of the business. The funds will be used for inventory, which had been a problem for Sandra. She continues to pursue national retailers like Sephora and projects $5 million in sales for 2023.

By December, 2023, sales for the year were approaching $6 million. The company also introduced cactus based shower gels and creams. Products are available at the company website, Nordstrom, Credo and Free People and on Amazon.

The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on Nopalera & Sandra Velasquez as more details become available.

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