When Darwin-based saleswoman Heidi Loy presented her pitch to the Shark Tank judges, we immediately liked her thinking.
The 53-year-old was a problem solver and a wine drinker, which are two things we can very much relate to.
Her invention? Ice Bucket Skins – which look like a cross between a stubby holder and an ice bucket for a wine bottle.
During her pitch, Heidi explained that her product’s point of difference was its special, water-repellent fabric coating, which gets rid of condensation and prevents the dreaded wet-lap-situation or wet-table-scenario, that we as fellow rosé drinkers are all too familiar with.
“It’s something that’s out there that nobody has realised is a problem. For me going out I sit at a bar or at a table at a restaurant and the water ends up pooling and it ends up in my lap,” she explained.
Watch the moment Heidi uttered the five words that ended her Shark Tank chances:
While the Sharks liked her invention, when it came to Heidi’s business figures, things started to unravel.
Heidi was asking for a $260,000 investment for a 10 per cent stake her company, meaning she valued her business at $2.6 million.
The Sharks found this figure, erm, a little bit unbelievable ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
After some further prodding, they realised Heidi had only sold 200 out of the 1000 buckets she had made, with another 100 given away as gifts. Revenue wise, this made up a very measly portion of her estimated valuation.
“I understand that you want some help, but how do you value your business at $2.6 million when you’ve sold two hundred [and] given away a hundred?” asked Andrew Banks.
“It’s been going for two years and you’ve still got 700 in stock… Is there something we’re not seeing?”
Then Heidi explained how she came to that figure.
“I’ve been to an accountant,” she said, making the Sharks groan in unison.
Continuing, the saleswoman said her accountant estimated that she could sell 100,000 units in the first year, but as of yet, she had not made any purchase orders.
At this point, Andrew kind of lost it.
“When someone says to you, your business is worth $2.6 million and you don’t have a really firm purchase order, surely you have this screaming voice that says to you, ‘That sounds like bullsh*t?’,” he said.
Glen Richards had some more moderate advice, but suggested that Heidi needed to work on her execution.
“What great entrepreneurs do is race around Australia, lock in all the pubs and clubs that are interested in this product, the next thing you’ve got an open order for at least 10,000 of them. Job’s done, and you’re going to have a nice profit pie,” he explained.
Eventually it became clear that Heidi’s accountant had given her the wrong advice, with Boost founder Janine Allis blatantly saying that he had done her a “massive disservice”.
“You’ve just started on your business journey and you don’t know what you don’t know,” she explained.
“You’ve relied on him to give you advice as an expert and he’s given you terrible advice.
“He has made this pitch today for you uninvestable.”
Known for his “harsh” approach, Steve Baxter agreed and took the opportunity to send a lil’ message to all the shonky accountants out there.
“Here’s a message to those pillocks,” he said. “Please stop giving unrealistic valuations to entrepreneurs. Get real with your bloody valuations.”
Speaking to the camera after her unsuccessful pitch, Heidi was hopeful for the future.
“I guess I do have a lot more to learn,” she said.
“I’m a salesperson, I’m not a businessperson, so I need to get a business hat on. Watch this space, you’ll be seeing my product out there.”
You can catch up on this week’s episode of Shark Tank on TenPlay.