For past Shark Tank contestants, being on the show truly is just the beginning of their journey toward making their business hopes and dreams come true. Show No Towels founder, Shelly Ehler, took time out of her busy schedule to tell us about what she’s been up to since the show, how her sons are reacting to TV fame, and what it’s like when Kevin O’Leary calls your sales a “nothing-burger”.
When we first met you on Shark Tank you and your husband had just sold your home and your future was riding on she show. Where are you now?
When you air on TV it looks like all your dreams come true overnight, people think I’m a multimillionaire. It’s still a struggle, but we’re heading in the right direction and it’s all paying off. We’re still a long way off of buying a new home, but it’s definitely making a big impact and helping us to recover, which is the important part.
How are Show No Towels’ sales now?
We really are exploding this summer! We’ve sold out of Disney and LegoLand, and they’ve already reordered. LegoLand got their first order June 1, and June 19 I already got a reorder from them. They’re blown away; my towels are selling like crazy! I also just made deals with Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, and with Sea World.
Can you sum up your Shark Tank application process in three words?
Nerve-wracking, exciting, and terrifying.
Before you went on the show, was there a particular Shark you were hoping to make a deal with?
I thought I would make a deal with Daymond or Barbara, but I found out four days before filming that Lori would be there instead of Barbara. I Googled her and found out more about her, and I instantly connected with her. And I knew in that moment that she would be the one, four days before I even met her.
Something contestants often struggle with is the numbers game. How did you arrive at your business valuation? (Shelly asked the Sharks for $50,000 in exchange for 25%, a $200,000 valuation)
I sat down practically and thought what I would need, which was $30,000 for one big manufacturing run and $20,000 for marketing and building my website. I wanted to ask for smallest amount possible, because I’ve been watching the show for a while. The biggest mistake [contestants]make is asking for way too much money. The Sharks get pissed! I wanted to be strategic by not asking for too much and I didn’t want to be greedy.
Kevin called your $15,000 in sales a “nothing-burger”… how did you react?
Honestly, I laughed. It WAS a nothing-burger. In his world, it was nothing. In my world, it was a big deal! It didn’t really matter to me because I know that he’s all about money, and I don’t focus on money. I focus on joy, positive energy, and moving forward. We’re so completely on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what we value in life, so as much as I respect him, we weren’t going to agree.
In the Tank, Cuban posed a hypothetical about what you would do if an important business meeting fell on one of your son’s birthdays. Were you offended that he tried to question your business dedication just because you’re a mom?
In the moment, no, I wasn’t offended. What I knew about Mark is that he likes people who are completely dedicated. He doesn’t want someone who works part-time, he wants someone who is 100%. When he asked that I accepted it, because that’s how he is. On the other hand, you would never ever say that to a man, so that was kinda BS. But I’m offended by very few things, and I understand why many people were offended by it. I did not take it personally. I can’t even tell you how many emails I’ve gotten on that subject.
So has balancing business and family been a challenge?
Nothing comes above my family, my boys are my life! But I’ve gotten a ton of positive support after [my answer to Mark].
I had no idea what goes into something like this. The gray hairs in my head, the wrinkles I’ve gotten. Now I say, “oh s&#*, this has aged me. I’m gonna need plastic surgery soon!” [Laughs] I’ve had to miss things at the boys’ school and I missed the birth of my sister’s baby and I cried the whole day because I couldn’t be there. That’s not me, but everyone knows that, and they’re giving me the love and support that I need right now. It’s been rough, but I just thank God it’s all lined up this way. It’s just hard because this kind of pressure doesn’t happen to dad.