When Mark Cuban was being pitched about The Bouqs Company on the hit TV series Shark Tank in 2014, he treated it like a day-old donut -- tempting, but not the best choice. The other sharks on the show that day included Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary, and Lori Greiner -- and all of them all passed on the deal. Now, though, Cuban is having big regrets about letting Bouqs get away.
The gist of the business--and why the sharks didn't bite
The Bouqs Company, founded by John Tabis and Juan Pablo Montufar, deliver beautiful flowers directly to the consumer -- they're curated from one of their sustainable farms or florist partners. In return, customers receive fresher flowers at a lower price, while giving Bouqs better margins and faster payments. But the sharks on the show were put off by long delivery times, huge (they believed, unrealistic) sales projections, and even the name of the company (but come on, great name...).
But then a wedding had to happen...
A few years after Tabis pitched Shark Tank, Herjavec was hearing wedding bells. Needing flowers to tie the knot with Kym Johnson, he was shocked by the amount of money he was going to have to shell out. He contacted Tabis, who explained exactly how the convoluted flower supply chain hikes up prices. Tabis also revealed that, despite Shark Tank, Bouqs was thriving. Herjavec ended up taking part of the company's Series C investment round of $24M and then Cuban learned of the news.
"That's the one I regret not doing," he said, "'cause that's a deal I would've loved."
As for what's next for Bouqs? John Tabis shared with me:
"We will continue to invest in building innovative technology and experiences, and in marketing for rapid growth in the coming years, with the goal of being the largest floral brand in the world while dramatically reducing waste and promoting sustainability at the center of what we do."
A Bouq of lessons learned.
The situation with Bouqs offers valuable lessons for anybody looking to get their business off the ground, regardless if you've been in "the tank" or not. Sometimes, the "big guys" really are wrong, more often then not. Sometimes, they don't see the potential you do, because they aren't as close to the problem and its solution as you are -- and that's OK. At the end of the day, follow your your intuition, remember that resilience is the lifeblood of all entrepreneurs, and that rejection is just a part of the journey (some really massive ones). Keep your head down and trust that you're an expert, especially if there are customers behind you.