The Mad Optimist – Personalized Soaps and Skin Care

mad optimistMohammed M. Mahdi, Mohammed A. Mahdi and Anthony Duncan had a lot of help when they started The Mad Optimist. They incubated their business with grants valued at $300,000 at a Cincinnati area small business incubator called The Brandery. They also got free office space for a year and free consultations with executives from companies like Proctor and Gamble and Kroger. That’s a pretty good way to get started!

The original company name was The Soapy Soap Company, but they sell more than soap now. The reason they started the business was actually religious. All three men are Muslim and when they found out soap was made from animal fats, they wanted a more “halal” friendly product, so they made one. All their products are halal and vegan. The cool thing is customers design their own ingredients, label and they even decide how much they want to pay on a sliding scale.

When you got to their website and you want to buy a bar of soap, you click through a series of menus and literally add the ingredients as you go. When it’s time to order, it says $10, but you can move the slider down to $6 or up to $16. Customers get their soap quickly, too as they’ve developed a process that cures the soap in one day instead of 30 days.

People rave about their products and seem to enjoy the quirkiness of the company and their approach to the business. While having a lot of help getting started was good for them, they’re hoping a Shark will come on board and help get them to the next level.

My Take on The Mad Optimist

We have a little town about an hour and a half north of us called Tarpon Springs. It’s known as “the sponge capital of the world.” It’s a Greek community and one of its major industries is harvesting sea sponges. Every day, the boats come in with their “catch” to the delight of the many tourists. In addition to sponges, there are great Greek restaurants and many soap makers. Whenever we visit, we buy fancy soaps made fro Shea butter and goat milk. I never was a “fancy soap” kind of guy until I got some of these soaps.

The reason I tell this story is I will likely buy some of these guys soaps. The personalized labels make them great gifts, too. Imagine getting a soap with your name on the label, what fun! I like the website too, it was an engaging experience. I think they are going to kill it.

Will Sharks Get Lathered Up and Bid?

Like I said in another post, EVERYONE is getting a deal tonight. These guys look fun and they are all smart, that’s a good combination in the Tank. Lori already has a soap business so she may have to bow out, but the other Sharks are going to go in.

This would fit well with Kevin’s “something wonderful” platform. He has a good lock on the wedding market and these would be perfect for that. Daniel and Robert could bid, as could Mark. We may even see a two Shark deal.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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