We have always been fans of ABC’s show Shark Tank, we’ve watch most of the episodes each season, and do what we can to support small business. Before Doodle Mash, we had another small start up, and for those of you who don’t know us personally, Jake owns his own tattoo shop, so owning and running a small business has been at the forefront of our lives for years. Shark Tank, while entertaining, has also provided countless hours of debates and discussions about companies, investments (we both have our own brokerage accounts and do hobby investing) company valuations, pipe dreams and the like. When I did our second vendor event for Doodle Mash in December of 2017, I had several people tell me that we should try for Shark Tank. Honestly, each time I laughed. We were such a new product (still are) that the prospect of doing something as big as Shark Tank was the equivalent of running a marathon tomorrow. I didn’t event think about what they were actually saying. They were saying that Doodle Mash is so unique that we had a shot at making it big and that Jake and I had the gumption to make it big. I was so overwhelmed with the task of pushing a start up, that I was deaf and blind to our potential. I could only handle one task at a time.
As the weeks and months continued on, and I really started to tap into that “gumption” (you know when you’re tired and burnt out and not sure how to continue on but you keep going) I got a glimpse of what others were seeing in us. A glimmer of what we can be. In April, another small business owner friend of ours ran into Jake and told him he had just heard that there was going to be shark tank auditions at the end of May in Chicago. Jake came home bursting with excitement, I legit thought that he had won the lottery, or a car or something with how excited he was. When he told me that Shark Tank was holding auditions next month (!!) I again, laughed out loud. “This is what you couldn’t wait to tell me?!?”. More laughing. Then I blurted out “We aren’t ready for Shark Tank!” but I also knew that it couldn’t hurt to try. The seed was planted. While I haven’t really asked Jake if he ever thought we shouldn’t try our for Shark Tank, I’m pretty sure he always just thought we should. Never any doubt. His unshakable optimism when it comes to entrepreneurial adventures has always astounded me. I secretly ran our numbers. They were the numbers of a small board game being slung by a stay at home mom and a dad who already worked 55+ hours a week. They were the numbers of a game that was being produced in small batches and distributed by it’s creators. The were meek, they were humbling numbers. This is why I laughed, I thought to myself. Jake needs to run the numbers, he’ll understand why we shouldn’t audition for Shark Tank. We ran the numbers together over coffee, and there was that unshakable optimism again. I didn’t understand it, he saw nothing but potential. Reluctantly, I agreed to try out for Shark Tank, with the “it cant hurt us” mentality driving me. As time passed that seed grew, and the “it can’t hurt us mantra” helped me to see the small flower of hope that was blooming on the inside. My “it can’t hurt us” turned into “it’s going to be fun” and a couple of weeks later I ran the numbers again, and I surprised myself. They numbers hadn’t changed, but running them again brought a calm to me. They were simple, because Doodle Mash was so young. There isn’t anything wrong with being young, there is so many possibilities when you are young. So many paths to take, I had lost sight of what we could be. The pieces fell into place, and attending the open call for Shark Tank was a resounding yes.