Les Cookson of CarSik Bib was kind enough to answer questions via email about his product lines and his experience on ABC’s Shark Tank.
Just Elementary: How has the interest in the product jumped since the show featuring you aired?
Les Cookson: Well, the CarSik Bib has basically jump from being completely unknown to having at least some degree of name recognition. This has opened a lot of doors and I’m weighing all my options and I don’t want to say too much before I’m completely settled on where I’m going.
Just Elementary: Was your website able to handle the additional traffic after the show aired?
Cookson: Yes. I have a yahoo store (AncientMagicArtTools.com) with unlimited hosting, so they were able to handle the traffic. I just gave them a call and they made sure they had some techs keeping an eye on my server and it handled it fine.
Just Elementary: Did you add a lot of Facebook fans to your Facebook Fan Page?
Cookson: You know, my active monthly users upped a lot, but the number that became fans was not near as dramatic, but I’m sure it will continue to grow.
Just Elementary: How much more of your pitch did not make the segment?
Cookson: A lot. I was actually disappointed with how it was edited. The pitch and discussion lasted about 20 or 30 minutes, so they had to cut it for time—but they cut out some of my best responses while keeping in the objections I was responding to.
For example, When Jeff Foxworthy said “The only thing I think is worse than vomiting is riding around with a bag of vomit on your neck.” I laughed, then came back with something like “Well yes, but if the child throws up on himself that increases the surface area of the vomit and magnifies the odor and they’re soaking in their own vomit. But if they wear the CarSik Bib; it reduces the odor on contact, they stay clean and you just pull over take it off the bib and you’re done.” And Mr. Foxworthy could only respond “Oh.”
Unfortunately this is only one example of several times where they cut out my responses—sometimes in mid sentence. I think that they were just trying to make the Sharks look good and chose comedy of content, but that’s their prerogative.
Just Elementary: Do you feel that you have been able to capitalize on the additional publicity the show airing generated?
Cookson: Yes, but not as much as I would have liked because I have the CarSik Hurl-e to sell right now, but I’m still working to develop a CarSik Bib that is closer to what was pitched on the show.
Just Elementary: Do you sell more through eBay or direct from your website?
Cookson: Direct from my website.
Cookson: Yes, The CarSik Hurl-e is a one-size-fits-all hands-free / hand held sick bag for adults and children. And I will be continuing to develop a toddler specific version of the CarSik Bib.
Just Elementary: Are you actively trying to sell the patent?
Cookson: I’m in the patenting process. I have several options of where to go from hear and still weighting them all—including a multimillion dollar global company that want to license my patent as soon as it’s issued. I was in talks with them before the show aired. I met with the president of that company and he was very interested in the CarSik Bib—said that he’d actually been envisioning something similar but never had time to develop it.
Just Elementary: If so, are you trying to simultaneously grow sales through other channels, such as distributors or licensing to other manufacturers?
Cookson: Yes, we’re working on a few things, but I can’t really get into it right now.
Just Elementary: Is there anything you would change about the pitch you made on the set of the show?
Cookson: Given the face I was still in prototype stage I don’t think that anything could have really changed the outcome, but I mixed the fake vomit a bit thin because I didn’t mean for it to gush out onto the floor, and it is hard to listen to someone once they’re standing in vomit.
Just Elementary: Why do you think you weren’t able to get any of the Sharks to take a bite?
Cookson: Based on the whole pitch, not just the segment that aired; while I felt that part of the problem was that there seemed to be a disconnect between normal people looking for a solution and millionaires that don’t think twice about paying $200+ to get vomit cleaned out of their car, it really came down to that fact that they couldn’t see past the prototype (which includes their liability concerns) and they just didn’t want to get into the barf bag business. But I can’t blame them—I never wanted to get into the barf bag business either—but after cleaning up a few car sick messes the barf bag business was lookin’ pretty good.
Just Elementary: How much were you depending on getting a deal from the Sharks?
Cookson: I would have loved to get a deal, but I never felt I needed a deal from the Sharks. I turned in an email application on a complete whim and was shocked that I got on. I don’t want to sound like I’m crying sour grapes (of course I was disappointed to have not gotten a deal), but I didn’t let one setback stop me—even if it was a nationally broadcasted setback.
Again, it is important to point out that Cookson prototyped his CarSik Bib product on a shoestring budget in the four figures. This is a big deal. Don’t be afraid to use capital on your business, but make sure it is used wisely in an efficient manner, otherwise you will be piling on extra debt that will weigh you and your company down. We’ll keep you updated on Cookson’s progess as he updates us.