Since 2009, ABC’s Shark Tank has given hopeful entrepreneurs a shot at landing the venture capitalist backing of their dreams. The “sharks,” or investors, have essentially been the same throughout the show’s entire run, and to say they’ve “seen it all” is an understatement. They’ve backed products that have turned out to be wildly successful post-production, like the Scrub Daddy.
The sharks have missed opportunities to invest in products that have become successful, like the Ring Doorbell. And, of course, they’ve seen some pretty dumb products, too—like the 10 we’re about to jump into.
Here are 10 of the dumbest products on Shark Tank.
10 Morninghead (Not as Exciting as It Sounds)
What is a scam? In this case, it would be a product that is entirely ordinary, more straightforward than a DIY project, and can make a lot of money off unsuspecting consumers. It’s essentially a dumb idea with good marketing behind it.
Morninghead is that perfect scam. It was developed as a solution for people who wake up with bedhead but who are too lazy to take a shower and wash their hair. It doesn’t use dry shampoo; it isn’t a special brush or comb. It is a shower cap that you pour water into.
After pouring water into the shower cap, you put the shower cap on your head and agitate it with your hands. Miraculously, your hair is damp when you take the shower cap off! Not clean, just damp. This anytime, anywhere bedhead antidote not only incited laughter from the sharks but also left the entrepreneur empty-handed.
If only Morninghead was more promising than it sounds.
9Sticky Note Holder
The demand in homes and traditional offices for organizational tools will always be around, and some manufacturer or entrepreneur will be there to answer the call.
The problem is that computer technology has virtually eliminated the need for sticky notes, so looking at this particular presentation is a bit painful. It’s not so much that the entrepreneur’s product is dumb—she just had a stupid idea for a pitch. (Okay, and the product itself is a little dumb.)
Mary Ellen Simonsen created a “sticky pad” for sticky notes that attaches to the side of the computer monitor. She showed how it worked by sticking what looks like a cardboard pad to the side of a home laptop screen; not a very good showcase. She asked for a million-dollar investment and claimed that each holder would sell for $9.50. When asked by the sharks how she knew that people would pay this price for it, she replied, “I conducted surveys.”
Additionally, after revealing that she doesn’t have a patent for the product, one shark, Daymond John, summed up the problem with Mary Ellen’s product perfectly: “I wouldn’t waste your money or time on the patent. I think no sales, a useless idea–I’m totally out.”
This product is pretty dumb, but it’s also pretty genius. If it weren’t for the fact that these guys were serious about making money off of it, we could call them the biggest trolls of the pet grooming industry ever.
The entrepreneurial duo’s company, PDX Pet Design, is all for grooming your cat. Tara, the company’s co-founder, begins the sales pitch with some anecdotal claims about how cats may view humans as big cats—not a different species. Tara then presents the problem her product solves, “So why should you be left out of their intimate bonding ritual?”
Red flag right there.
Tara’s husband and the other half of the company, Jason, brings out a cat. Tara brings out a big, silicone-spikey tongue. This isn’t a setup for The Aristocrats. Okay, so what’s this weird tongue lookin’ thing doing near this cat? Oh no, you mean to tell me… “You’re not going to put that in your mouth, are you?” Oh, yes. Tara puts the tongue brush in her mouth and then licks the cat “just like a momma cat licks her young.”
The reaction from the sharks is priceless. Tara reassures them that she is not joking; this is a serious product. And guess what, you can still buy them today!
7No Fly Cone
One entrepreneur named Bruce, driven by the fact that flies haunt his office (his barn), presented to the sharks the No Fly Cone, a cone-shaped fly trap that you place over a dog poop scooper. In an attempt to boost the product’s viability, Seth MacFarlane comes walking out and acts as a “spokesperson” for the product. (Seth takes horseback riding lessons from Bruce.) Unfortunately, Seth doesn’t live in a barn, nor does he have a dog. Flies aren’t an issue for him.
So is the product dumb for the majority of people? Yeah, kind of, seeing as the pitch states that you need to have residual dog poop for this to work properly. But, if you, too, worked in a barn and wanted to round up some flies, this could be the perfect thing for you!
Let’s see what Shark Tank Australia is doing! Lourens Badenhorst, that’s what.
Lourens backed himself into a corner with his pitch. His invention could have potentially served fishers well; it’s a container that releases bait as it floats in the water current. But he really took the product’s usefulness out of the spotlight when he decided to drop the “it’s good for women” marketing trick.
As a fishing tool to give women the “competitive edge” in fishing, the product is pretty dumb. Janine and Naomi, the two women serving as sharks on the show, ask him repeatedly why the product is good for women. Even the rest of the sharks want to know, “Is this only for female fisherpeople or male fisherpeople?” Lourens says, “no,” and repeats that the percentage of women fisherpeople are looking for the edge. Then when Janine asks if men want the edge, Lourens says no, because men know everything about fishing, which implies that women do not.
That aside, Lourens hasn’t sold any of his Fish Frenz bait release containers, and his pitch sucked. He left without a backer. Guess you don’t know how to hook a shark; why don’t you go home and feed your goldfish, Lourens?
Guys, have you ever been on the golf course and really needed to pee? Well, don’t worry if there are no trees or bushes in sight because this guy has got a whole new solution to your urination problems. It’s the UroClub!
The UroClub is designed to look like a seven iron, but it is a pee receptacle. Attach the privacy towel to the front, open the UroClub near the handle, put your bro in the hole and let it fly. The design isn’t half bad, and the idea behind it is well-meaning and good, but it’s not very practical. Obviously, you’re not golfing under that privacy towel, and because we need to look at the lead and audience potential for the product, it’s not a unisex solution.
For that, it ends up on the dumb list.
I wish I didn’t have to put a woman on this list after that Lourens pitch, but I don’t like this product. The entrepreneurial mind behind it is Dr. Edna Ma, an anesthesiologist. BareEASE is a numbing kit that people use in preparation for bikini waxing. The user puts on a pair of BareEASE underwear (complete with the numbing cream) about an hour before the bikini area grooming appointment happens, whether it’s laser or wax.
The sharks had mixed feelings about the product and ultimately turned Dr. Ma away, citing not enough sales, too much competition, etc.
But I don’t have mixed feelings about it. I wouldn’t want to wear underwear that numbs my naughty bits, not for a bikini wax. Then again, I have zero interest in getting a bikini wax.
3 I Want to Draw a Cat For You
Someone hand me BareEASE to numb the pain I have in my head – because I don’t understand how the I Want to Draw a Cat for You guy is making money off of this, and I’m still struggling to pay the rent with my 9-5 job.
Steve is a quirky entrepreneur with an idea that doesn’t make any sense—and yet it works. People send him specifications for a custom-drawn cat, and Steve draws it and sends it back. That’s the entire concept. These aren’t even fine art cats—these are like NFT garbage cats. Ironically, they’re cool? But to hell with what I think, because prior to going on Shark Tank, Steve landed a Black Friday deal with Groupon, and he makes legitimate money off of this (not a lot, but enough).
Mark Cuban gave him $25,000 for 33% ownership in the company and promised to help draw a cat for every 1,000 cat drawings.
It’s a dumb idea. But it’s a bloody brilliant business plan.
2 Kook’n Kap
*sigh* The Kook’n Kap.
Don’t you hate it when your hair smells like what you’ve just cooked? Founders Juli Deveau and Ozma Khan sure do. They presented to sharks another product that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get (a fancy hair cover). Like a shower cap, you put it over your hair when you’re cooking so that smell doesn’t get trapped in your hair. Juli and Ozma refer to it as the modern version of the chef hat.
Watching the pitch is wasted brain cells—and so is considering purchasing this product. Next!
1 Pet Paint
I don’t even have to explain the product for you to get it. It is colored hairspray for your pet. That’s it. The spraypaint even comes with stencils. Stop thinking this is cool—it’s not. You know why? Because every time you paint your dog, you’re going to have to wash your dog.
So many things in this world need to be fixed; the lack of paint on your pet is not one of them.