Are we disappointed that we’re now considered a Shark Tank deal that failed and that we didn’t get to partner with a Shark? Sure. Will it slow us down? NEVER!!!
I’ve been told “no” before and I’ve certainly been underestimated, but I always (happily) prove them wrong. One of my good friends loves to say, “Never bet against Chrissie Lam.”
It’ s often said that it takes money to make money. Now that we've invested thousands into a global supply chain, we're ready to scale. Building an international brand requires a tremendous investment, one that I’m grateful I’ve been able to make. The celebrity endorsements and brand partnerships have helped so much in portraying the image I want for my business, but things on the inside are not always so glamorous. It takes grit and endurance to push through the sleepless nights and razor-thin financials.
It feels a little awkward now that everyone including old friends, and really the entire country, now know all of my financials. But, it was worth it, things do change quickly, and that was just a snapshot in time. And besides, what’s LOVE without a little sacrifice?
We thought it was important to share what we’ve learned about digital marketing on the show to help other businesses avoid pitfalls and get their numbers ‘in the black’ sooner than later. We’re far from alone in the challenges we’ve faced when launching and growing this brand. Our online advertising was our achilles heel in the past, but as my mom said, we paid our ‘tuition,’ we’ve turned a corner, and we won’t repeat our mistakes. Keep researching and learning, and never put all of your marketing eggs in one basket (or platform)!
I really think things have worked out for the best with our Shark Tank experience. We were seeking an investment to give us on-hand cash so that we could front load inventory for our peak season, and help increase our online presence. But I honestly didn’t feel like we really connected with any of the Shark Tank investors on the virtues of social enterprise and international development, nor on our goal of turning a profit while making the world a better place. Both parts of that objective were important to us.
There is something we’d like to clear up though…
The word ‘donation’ was used during our episode and that in particular felt out of place to me, and it did to my artisans as well. They work very hard for their income and are proud to be able to provide for their families. This is not a charity. The jobs that exist and the new ones that could be created with additional funds do so much good to help many communities around the world. Love Is Project is a for-profit social enterprise. We consistently seek out and create new opportunities like the ones we’ve developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. When times get tough, LOVE shows up!
We all thought it was pretty wild to see the Shark Tank products that got funded on our episode — sliced ketchup and a champagne sprayer, who woulda thought?! While we’re happy for anyone who pursues a dream and starts a business, those products are pretty unfathomable to women who, before partnering with us, dealt with issues like starvation and a lack of education for their kids.
All in all, this was a great experience and has been a wonderful learning opportunity. I’m grateful that I’ve retained 100% ownership of my business, and the publicity is already helping our bottom line and allowing us to expand the footprint of our social-benefit efforts. The Shark Tank effect is real!
We want to thank you all so much for your continued support. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the LOVE that’s been shown for my mom in particular. She works so hard (for free, but not for long!) and is laser focused on growing this business no matter what people think or say. She’s become a bit of a celebrity! People loved her inspiring story, especially Shark Tank’s Kevin (Mr. Wonderful) and guest Shark Alex Rodriguez, and there’s even been an article written on her .
Finally, I’m not shy about the fact that I’m a proud female business owner, as well as a minority business owner. I’m hopeful that our appearance on the show helps others in minority groups to feel empowered and to apply for this opportunity too. And I hope they find the success that I have! It should be clear by now that blazing trails and paving the way to opportunity for those around me are among my biggest personal goals.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing better to double down on than LOVE, and we’re going to keep doing it.
And, if you are in a similar place with your own business, keep checking back here. There’s so much more yet to come that I’ll be sharing!
Thanks for your support!
Founder, Love Is Project
If you’re a SMB owner or startup founder who wants to apply to be on the show, learn more about my Shark Tank application process or feel free to reach out to me!
Did you miss our episode? Catch up on Shark Tank on Hulu or search for our episode on YouTube!
Looking for Shark Tank gift ideas? Check out our new Shark Friendship Bracelets bundle collection!
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