Face Blok is a company from San Francisco, CA, that wants to bring a little levity to surgical facemasks. The entrepreneur behind Face Blok demonstrates several designs which include a skull mask, a pig snout, several fake beards, all printed on the fabric of the mask.
Unfortunately, when questioned about the quality of her masks, the entrepreneur stated that they were not of surgical quality and that was why she was there looking for funding. The masks do have quirky and fun designs but Barbara refuses to even try on a mask when the entrepreneur passes around demonstration production. Daymond puts his on his head. Mr. Wonderful seems doubtful doctors would wear such designs.
When Swine Flu was in the news, the entrepreneur claims that she received 700,000 hits to her site but when asked how many sales that translated into, she admitted that is was "a couple hundred in sales."
Kevin Harrington asked whether countries where wearing a mask was normal put designes on their masks. The entrepreneur admitted that they didn't but stated that she saw it as an opportunity. Kevin O'Leary asked Daymond whether he believed a mask could ever become a fashion item and Daymond says that he did not because it's "not something people normally do."
Barbara is the first to drop out, claiming that it's "freaky." Kevin Harrington also drops out, calling it a novelty item and Daymond says he's out for the same reason. Robert Herjavec suggests that the entreprenenur could make a sideline of it but that she not quit her day job. Mr. Wonderful just plain doesn't see it as investible.
In a short aside after leaving the tank, the entrepreneur stated that she was aiming for someone who had an edgy sense of humor but did not think that person was among the sharks.
On July 21, 2020, someone at New York Magazine saw a re-run with Face Blok and did some follow up reporting. Through this reporting, it was discovered that the entrepreneur, Irina Blok was actually the original designer of the Android Logo. The article describes her reaction to the experience as:
Looking back now, Blok said that the Sharks’ response to her pitch was “understandable,” adding, “If we could predict the future, we could all be rich. Manufacturing at scale needed a considerable investment of time and money; for example, printing designs on surgical masks is not trivial, as machines were not set up for it.” She looks back on her pitch fondly and says it was “a fun experience even if they didn’t invest.” Still, Blok’s pitch doesn’t track as remotely “freaky” through a 2020 viewer’s eyes. She pitched the right product, just in the wrong decade.
As the article mentions, unfortunately, Irina Blok's masks are no longer for sale.
- The masks essentially look like all of the fabric masks that have been available on sites like Etsy over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic but with real, quality, full color graphic printing on them. They loop over the ears like most re-useable fabric masks do in the pandemic. And, as we have learned since this aired, masks function not just to keep germs out but also to keep them from spreading from the infected which these might be just as perfectly capable of doing as any masks being worn today.
- Watching the sharks try and fail to wear the masks properly is a little infuriating from today's perspective, especially given the number of people who seem to think a mask is still effective if they wear it below their nose...
- We have also classified this deal as a gag product. We believed, at the time, that it was. Whether it still is today...
- Valuing her entire business at just $166,000, perhaps she should have said she was trying to make the world a safer place that wouldn't lose its sense of humor. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, $166,000 for a clever mask maker actually seems like kind of a bargin.
- Shark Tank Contestant Who Pitched Face Masks in 2009 Has No Regrets, New York Magazine, July 21, 2020