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My Shark Tank Experience

Leslie PiersonHi. I'm Leslie Pierson, the Creator and CEO of GoodHangups! I've been a super fan of ABC's Shark Tank and had already watched every episode before I decide to apply. As you can imagine when I found myself face to face with the Sharks in 2016, I was beyond thrilled!

I have been an entrepreneur for many years and had a line of customizable decals and skins for laptops as my primary product for many years. When I launched that product, ours was the first company doing custom skins and I found it easy to grow my business organically. And I did just that. I let it grow organically and until it began to die organically. Because it had grown easily, I took my eye off the prize when my son was born. Pretty soon, we had competitors who were doing it better than I was and by the time I got that wake up call, my heart wasn't in it anymore. While I know my focus on family over business was the right call at the time, I realized I didn't want to do that again.

GoodHangups was actually born out of inspiration from my son. First, it solved a need I had when he had a huge burst of creativity and was making tons of art daily. I wanted to display it but I also wanted to be able to change it out regularly. Using tape on the walls and putting it on the fridge was not working.

Additional inspiration came from a conversation I had with a dear friend (on a trip to Paris...where one has such awesome conversations...but I digress.) We were talking about how, as we had gotten older and had children, we had a massive fear of failure. Over many glasses of wine, we talked about how crazy it was that we want to shield our kids from failure when they would actually benefit from learning how to get back up and try again. After that pivotal conversation, I dusted off the idea I had for GoodHangups from many years before. However, I found that when I decided to go for it and risk failing to show my son how to do it (and survive), a funny thing happened...I found it harder to fail!  

So here I am... less than 2 years after creating GoodHangups, I've done a Kickstarter, entered and won a contest on NBC's Today Show called Today's Next Big Thing, been on QVC 7+ times, and now done ABC's Shark Tank...I couldn't be more thankful for both my son (the inspiration), and my dear friend in Paris (and the wine we shared) for they are all co-inventors of GoodHangups.

In April, I was at QVC, appearing on the Saturday Morning Gift Show right before Lori Greiner and I was in awe of her work ethic and how well regarded she is. She jumped right on the Simply Fit Board that she was featuring and twisted up a storm...and sold tons by the way. It was at that moment that I was sure I'd go for it and do the open casting call in New York City the following week. Heck, if it didn't go well, I could tell my son about it and show him how I went on to do great things anyway.

A week later, I was contacted by Shark Tank casting and started the screening process that included a personal video submission and a ton of paperwork. Again, I went for it big time. If they needed it back in two weeks, I sent it back in one. If it needed to be there in a week, I overnighted it. I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to show them how organized and committed to the process I was. 

Once I was "in," I was assigned to two amazing producers. Not only were they 100% on top of everything but they made me feel as comfortable as one could when getting ready for such a big moment. I still remember the moment before going into the Tank when I talked to Laura, one of the producers. I told her about my trip to Paris and my commitment to give things my all... and I told her that if I should fail, I would still share my experience with my son so he will better understand how life really works. It got me into this almost euphoric state and I went in ready to just enjoy this amazing opportunity. And it was so wonderful!

Having the opportunity to talk to investing and entrepreneurial all-stars in the Shark Tank levels is invaluable. I got powerful feedback on my product and my business from all of them. If you are considering taking the plunge into the shark-filled waters, here's my advice...  if you know your numbers and stay open to feedback (and don't get Kevin on a bad day...just joking...I adore Kevin,) you can enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity.