Pooch Selfie is a company from San Diego, CA, that wants to help people take camera posed shots with their pets. Essentially, they've created a dog lure that clips onto the top of a cellphone that will attract the attention of their pet so they're actually looking at the camera when the picture is taken. Literally, it's a squeaking tennis ball.
The entrepreneur behind Pooch Selfie was a mechanical engineer that invested $18,000 of his own money into developing the product, for which he earned a utility patent, and then going to China to have it produced. The, in turn, materialized into into $380,000 worth of sales and 15,000 units moved.
According to the entrepreneur, the Pooch Selfie thingy retails for $9.99 and costs $1.30 to produce, landed. 74% of their sales are online though they had, at one point, been sold in Bed Bath & Beyond. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur explains, Pooch Selfie got lost among the other dog toys because it does require some degree of education for the consumer to even understand what it is and ended up marked-down.
The company carries no debt though they do have 18,000 units of existing inventory.
This deal aired on Episode 10.16.
Making A Deal
The entrepreneur stated that he was looking for capital to re-design the product so it can be clipped to more phones and to re-design the packaging to better educate consumers. Additionally, the entrepreneur stated that he wanted to add new products to Pooch Selfie's lineup.
After stating that Pooch Selfie already had 18,000 units of inventory, the sharks rightly asked by the entrepreneur didn't just sell through the inventory for capital. The entrepreneur replied that people were stealing the product idea and that he wanted to "protect" it.
- There is a little bit of confusion about the actual number sold since the entrepreneur later said it was more in the neighborhood of 25,000 units. However, even the 15,0000 doesn't sound quite right. At a $9.99, 15,000 units would equate with $149,000 in sales while 25,000 units would be almost $250,000 in sales, neither number adding up to the cited $380,000 in sales.
- Sometimes the best protection for a product is to become the number one producer of the product in order to crowd out rip-offs and clones. While this doesn't entirely remove competition from the market, it can disincentive people from making rip-offs. Because of the cost of litigating a patent and the whack-a-mole nature of patent infringement on products like these, crowding out the market is often seen as the better option.