Sisters Gwen and Christine Nguyen presented their line of homemade macaron ice cream sandwiches to the celebrity investors of Shark Tank on Sunday, noting that they were driven by an entrepreneurial passion shared by their father. Their father immigrated to the U.S. after fleeing Vietnam in 1975, sharing a boat that drifted aimlessly for days with 16 other people, the founders say. When he settled in U.S., he got his degree in engineering and worked two jobs for 20 years, forgoing his dreams of starting a company so he could support his family, the sisters explained to the Sharks.
"Our dad's dream was to become an entrepreneur and start his own business, but he had to put that aside to support us," Gwen said on season 10, episode 20 of ABC's hit reality show. "Now it's on us to fulfill his dream."
The co-founders were seeking $400,000 for 10 percent of Mavens Creamery, which they founded in 2014. Their San Jose, California-based business sells about 30 flavors of sandwiches--including strawberry shortcake, cookies 'n' cream, and coconut pineapple--that retail between $3 and $4 each. The co-founders, who sell their products online and through retailers, told the Sharks they expected to book $2.1 million in sales in 2018. (The episode was filmed sometime last year.) At the time, they needed help scaling the business. The duo manufacture their own products but wanted money to introduce more automation, so they can reduce labor costs and increase output.
While Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary gushed over the tasty treats, they declined to make an offer, noting they didn't see how they could add value to the business. However, Barbara Corcoran related to the founders' story and their drive to impress their father.
"The happiest day of my life was when I turned 35 and I had my first real profit in my real estate firm and ordered my mother and father a brand new Cadillac convertible," Corcoran told the sisters. "I don't think anything could have equaled the joy that brought back to my family."
Corcoran offered the entrepreneurs $200,000 in cash, along with a $200,000 line of credit, for 33.3 percent of the business, which they negotiated down to 25 percent equity before accepting.
"We are going to continue to work as hard as we can to make him proud of us," Gwen said, referring to their father, who is still is still living. "He's our true superhero."