6 Swimming Lessons From ‘Shark Tank’ Favorites

Lani Lazzari | Simple Sugars

Investor: Mark Cuban

Growth: Since Lazzari’s episode aired in 2013, her skin care company has done $5 million in sales and expanded into nearly 1,000 U.S. retail locations.

“I’ve learned a lot of things from Mark. He is always there when I need advice or feedback, but at the same time, I’m able to tell him how we are going to do things at Simple Sugar. We have an ideal business relationship.”

Tracey Noonan and Dani Vilagie | Wicked Good Cupcakes

Investor: Kevin O’Leary

Growth: The mother-daughter team had $320,000 in sales at the end of 2012. Then a year after their Shark Tank exposure, they racked up $1.8 million. By the end of 2015, they will reach almost $6 million in sales since the episode.

“Kevin is an amazing mentor and friend to us, and having access to his team, who truly know how to grow a brand, has had a tremendous impact. He is very accessible. He is also very media-savvy and good at keeping our name in the public eye. That’s something we couldn’t have done.” —Noonan

Trew Quakenbush and CorEy Ward | Tom+Chee

Investor: Barbara Corcoran

Growth: Before Shark Tank, the partners in this unique sandwich shop had $1 million in sales over an 18-month period. Now they do $2 million in sales a month and have had 35,000 franchise requests.

“Barbara identified early on that the franchise deal we had was really hurting our growth. Based on her advice, we restructured and worked our way out of it. Barbara’s people are accessible and quick to help. She had a retreat for all the entrepreneurs she’s working with, and it was great to compare stories and get to know her better.” —Ward

Paige Dellavalle and Ashley Jung | Stella Valle

Investors: Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban

Growth: These costume jewelry designers had about $50,000 in sales when they appeared on the show. Two years out, they’ve done more than $3 million in sales and launched an exclusive line for Target.com.

“Lori is very hands-on. We have the opportunity to sell our pieces with Lori on QVC. She is a great mentor, always there for us, and we seek her advice on a regular basis. Mark has a team of people who help with his portfolio of small businesses, and we work a lot with his business development manager. Mark has a lot of really good contacts we’ve used to grow our business.” —Jung

Pat Yates | Happy Feet

Investor: Robert Herjavec

Growth: Before entering the Tank, total sales for this soft-slipper retailer were about $2.6 million. This year Yates expects to do $6 million.

“Robert and his marketing team have been invaluable. He also did a great job of making me think bigger.”

David Heath and Randy Goldberg | Bombas

Investor: Daymond John

Growth: In the two months after their episode, this online sock retailer did $1.2 million in sales, which was double their take for the previous nine months. They’re on track for $4 million to $5 million this year, far above projections. (Bombas donates a pair of socks to needy causes for every pair sold.)

“Daymond has really served as a coach for us about the challenges we might face and how to overcome them. He’s not there to run our business, but at the same time he’s bringing us opportunities and ideas all the time.” —Goldberg

How can you survive the treacherous waters of entrepreneurship? In SUCCESS magazine’s October 2015 cover story, the Sharks offer advice on how to tell the difference between obstacles and advantages—and how to exploit both.

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John H. Ostdick

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