It's not easy being told that you need to change your company's name, but when you get branding advice from one of the hosts of Shark Tank, you should probably listen.
For Nick and Elyse Oleksak, the husband and wife founders of New York-based Bantam Bagels, taking that advice from shark Lori Greiner on Friday's episode of Beyond the Tank was a hard pill to swallow. The couple founded their cream cheese-stuffed bagel balls company in 2013 and have been on a roll ever since, thanks in part to people like Oprah Winfrey, who named the snack one of her favorite things last November. Today, the business sells the product both online and through a retail store in downtown Manhattan.
After giving away 30 percent of their company to Greiner in exchange for $275,000 during season six of Shark Tank, the Oleksaks saw sales explode literally overnight. Bantam Bagels sold more bagels in the 24 hours after airing on the show than in the previous two months.
To capitalize on the momentum from the show, the Oleksaks and Greiner plan to expand into grocery stores and introduce a dessert version of the product, but Greiner isn't ready to move forward until addressing the serious branding issue of renaming the company.
"If I'm walking down the grocery aisle and I see Bantam Bagels, I'm not going to know there's stuffing inside, and that's the most important, unique thing," Greiner tells the Oleksaks during the episode. "In a retail store, you have just seconds to understand what a product is."
At first, the Oleksaks are reluctant to change their name due to concerns over losing the brand awareness they've built during the previous year and a half. When Greiner tells them she has a large purchase order from a major retailer and needs a decision within 24 hours, however, the couple agrees to the name change.
With that, Bantam Bagels became Bagel Stuffins.
"Their only hesitancy was, they were personally attached to it," Greiner said. "They're sentimental, but in business you have to let the sentiments go."
Today, the Oleksaks have a new line of dessert bagel balls, all branded under the new name.
"This name change means that our product is something that can fit on the shelf with the big guys," Elyse Oleksak said. "This is a step towards fitting in."