Ever wondered what the Shark Tank journey is really like? See Shark Tank behind the scenes and through the eyes of Lori from The Inappropriate Gift Co. who was featured on Episode one of Season 4. Since her air date, life has been very busy! We asked Lori to share with us her journey before, during and after Shark Tank. This is what she had to say:

My Inappropriate journey, before during and after Shark Tank.

Before Shark Tank

We’ve all been there on a Friday night, busy week at work, stressed, tired and needing to relax with our favourite friends — Sauv Blanc and Pizza. One particular Friday night I realised I really didn’t enjoy what I was doing, and there must be more to life than this?

One of my previous bosses once said “You’ll never work a day in your life if you enjoy what you do”, this started me thinking…

The only thing I enjoyed doing was sharing inappropriate memes with my friends and shopping for random funny gifts on the internet for friends and family. And that’s how it all started; as a fun hobby. The early days were a basic website a few designed products, lots of inappropriate memes and a trickle of sales — which meant the moon to me!

I saw Naomi advertise on TV that auditions were closing soon for series 4 and I smiled. I imagined being in the Tank and sharing my profanity-laden products with them. I have loved that show for so long and I have always admired the entrepreneurs for the balls to go on and get interrogated by the Sharks. I never imagined that would be me.

The difference when you have a business you truly love doing is that you don’t care what others think because you are so internally driven. I thought what is the worst that can happen? I get ripped to shreds on National TV but the flip side is that even if I do, my business would get the exposure that no startup can afford to pay for and I was ok with that cost/benefit analysis.

Lori Shark Tank AustraliaDuring Shark Tank

The whole process was so exciting, here is a photo of me getting my make up done at home for the audition! (I don’t spend much time out of my activewear so getting “done up” is an occasion for me!)

If you saw the episode you will see that I didn’t get ripped to shreds, I received offers from all five Sharks. Choosing Naomi was a no-brainer for me, she has always been an inspiration and she shares the same vision as us — ensuring people do not receive boring gifts! In addition, she has travelled exactly the same road we are embarking on and those lessons learned will be invaluable to us.

Lori and Budget BenNext is a photo of my husband Ben and I straight after the filming, at our local pub. Can you see the glint of pure happiness and excitement in our eyes?

We found out two weeks beforehand when our airing date was. We met with Naomi and her team a few times before the airing date to ensure we were prepared for the onslaught that would come as a result of exposure on National TV — Shark Tank Series 4 Episode 1.

We watched the episode live with our friends. My family are in the UK so I Facetimed live with them as well. Needless to say, much fun and champagne was had. Budget Ben had our website analytics live on another screen and within 1 minute of my pitch, our visits were rising astronomically hitting 6k concurrent users during the pitch (our usual numbers were 15-30 live at any one time). Our stats went from 1,000 daily page visits to 18,000 daily page visits over the next couple of days — an increase of 1700%. Although our numbers are not that high now, they are still a lot higher than pre-Shark Tank and we also had a huge surge in sign-ups to our newsletter which was awesome. Our sales peaked on the Wednesday after Tuesdays episode and have remained at a higher level than pre-Shark Tank which considering we are not in any gift giving season has been amazing.

Lori and Naomi Shark Tank

After Shark Tank

It’s been busy, one of the best things has been all the people who have been in touch with their wonderful words of support as well as all the interesting suppliers of inappropriate gifts. We have some amazing new products coming as a result! (I’m laughing just thinking about some of them… Fathers day and Kris Kringle are going to be a blast!)

Budget Ben joined the business as at 1st July as G.O.D (Global Operations Director). I am C.E.O. (Chief Expletive Officer) and we have yet to come up with a suitable name for Naomi our mentor and equity shareholder. We also have the wonderful Sophie working for us as Head of Customer Experience, she takes the stress out of your online shopping and puts the fun back in.

We are working with Naomi and the Big Red Group on our structure and our strategy so we can reach our BHAG — 20/20/20 ($20 million in revenue in 2020). I have had to swap my Big W activewear for something slighter smarter as I now work from Gravity Coworking 1-2 days a week.

Overall a life-changing few months. We are so excited for the future and we look forward to keeping you updated on our inappropriate journey.

* * *

Thanks for the catch up Lori. We’re happy to have you in at Gravity with us, and we’re looking forward to the next chapter of your entrepreneurial journey!

Also published on Medium.

Grow & Scale Your Business by Naomi Simson

Tell Naomi a little bit about your business by completing the questions below. (It will take less than 60 seconds)

Answering your #1 Biggest Business Challenge question tip: 

Go beyond just saying "Poor Cashflow" or "Unreliable Team". 

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