Thrown to the Sharks
Abe Geary, the founder of PetPaint, a high quality colored fur spray that is specially formulated, dog safe and veterinarian approved, recently appeared on the hit ABC TV show “Shark Tank.” Geary, who sought to change the way people celebrate occasions and holidays with their dog, spoke exclusively to Pet Age, about his appearance on the show, and his product.
Q: First, tell us a little about Pet Paint, and why you started the company.
Geary: PetPaint is the world’s first temporary color spray designed for the use on dogs. “Why,” we say “Why not” the whole idea came when Billie the Giant Schnauzer my dog, and companion, wouldn’t wear dog clothes. I thought how can I make something she doesn’t know she’s wearing… “lightbulb flicker.” I knew we would have a really fun novel product but I didn’t realize there is actually a demand for our high quality color sprays by groomers who have been looking for an easy to use bright color.
Q: Why did you decided to go on “Shark Tank”?
Geary: This is where everybody goes who is excited about their idea and wants to let the world see them get grilled by these brilliant or bullish sharks right? Every idea needs money and resources to make a real business, oh, and a great media bump never hurts either.
We got lucky here in that we submitted our investment package to a couple angel finance websites and one of the Shark Tank Producers contacted us.
Q: What was going through your head when the Sharks were talking about your product?
Geary: When you are watching the show everything is condensed, what you don’t see is the 65 minutes the actual negotiation takes. Every one of the sharks tackle the situation differently. Depending on what they are firing at you is what is going through your head.
Some of the time it was, “you guys don’t know my market like I do” and some of it was, “oh yeah, I should have thought of that.”
Q: Why didn’t you accept the deal?
Geary: Barbara shot a deal out there in what I thought was a way to grab up a huge amount of equity, other sharks were out so she had an advantaged position.
I like Barbara and would have loved to make a deal with her but not at the expense of the majority of my company. I had to turn it down as it would not have been fair to my vision.
Q: What was it like to be standing there in front of “the Sharks”?
Geary: This is a little shark tank secret, you actually walk down the intimidating hallway and into the tank then you have to stand and do a stare down for at least a minute before you can start your pitch. This is where the nerves start to kick in.
The time in the tank lasts over 60 minutes and it goes a hundred miles an hour. Imagine playing verbal ping pong against five amazing players all at once and when one of the balls falls off the table your chances of success drop by 20 percent.
Q: How has appearing on the show impacted your company?
Geary: I think they call it the “Shark Tank Effect” all has been great. The positive benefits started long before the show was even slated to air. Once people find out you are going to be on the show they are at least willing to hear what you have to say, so long as you are not an idiot to begin with, it opens doors.
As far as right now I don’t know what the total effects will be but as soon as I go through the 5,000 emails I just received I’ll give you a synopsis.
Q: What’s next for PetPaint?
Geary: PetPaint is going to be a household name and I feel it will happen pretty quickly. Our groomers who use PetPaint to add revenue to their shop have been reordering, our distributors are reordering and I feel we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to awareness.
Every time you see a colored dog just think back to when you saw that crazy guy on “Shark Tank” making dog paint.