I will be totally honest with you: I am 100 percent obsessed with Shark Tank. My best friend and I can recount reactions from the judges verbatim regarding specific products — and just this past weekend, I watched 10 straight hours of the show during a marathon on CNBC. Given my fan expertise, I can tell you which are the weirdest yet most genius Shark Tanks products that you actually should buy for yourself or for someone you love a whole lot.
If you're not familiar with Shark Tank (in which case, please remedy this right now), here's how it works: aspiring entrepreneurs (and sometimes already-successful businesspeople) pitch to five investors, all of whom have achieved massive amounts of affluence and status in their respective industries. The folks pitching offer the investors, a.k.a. the "sharks," equity in their business in exchange for money, connections, and mentorship. Negotiations are based on how innovative, successful, and growable the products and companies are, then eventually may or may not settle on a deal.
As a devotee of the tank, I've got a plethora of opinions — albeit amateur ones, sans an actual business degree — on which Shark Tank products deserved their big deals, as well as the ones that should've received more attention. From the famous Scrub Daddy to a box that sanitizes your gross phone to a beer enhancer for your kitchen, these are the oddest and most intriguing pitched products that you should actually buy.
The Fancy Dispenser That Enhances Any Beer
You know what goes well with an episode of Shark Tank? Beer. More specifically, beer that's had its flavor and consistency enhanced by the Fizzics beer dispenser from season 8. All you do is pour your favorite canned or bottled beer into the Waytap system, then pull the handle and watch the brew pour into your glass all nice and foamy, just the way it would come out at a bar.
An Aluminum-Free Deodorant That Actually Works
Bad news: most antiperspirants that you buy at the drugstore feature aluminum, which is the ingredient that blocks your sweat glands to stave off moisture. While there isn't any conclusive evidence linking to aluminum to cancer — a frequent reason people cite for skipping it — aluminum is the reason your light-colored clothes can turn yellow. Contrary to popular belief, your body's sweat isn't what discolors the fabric; it's actually the combination of sweat mixed with aluminum that does the trick.
I got really into aluminum-free deodorants about a year ago after I heard about the aforementioned unfortunate truth. It seemed daunting to swap, but I swear, as a person who sweats when walking the way actual athletes sweat during three-hour workouts, it isn't a tough change at all.
If you're ready to make the jump, PiperWai makes one of the most popular aluminum-free options on the market, and there are over 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon saying things like, "I tried every kind of aluminum-free deodorant on the market and every single one of them sucked ... within the first day [of trying PiperWai] I noticed a difference."
The Bathroom Prop That Makes It Easier To Go
When the Squatty Potty appeared during the sixth season of Shark Tank, the investors initially laughed at it (bathroom accessories can be a little hilarious, after all), but once they heard that it had already grossed over $1 million, it was hard for them to resist investing.
Lori Greiner, a.k.a. the "Queen of QVC," wound up exchanging $350,000 for 10 percent equity in the toilet stool, which allows users to adjust their posture and have an easier, more effective bathroom experience. Just a couple years later and it's as popular as ever, with hundreds of positive Amazon reviews and millions in sales.
One Of The Few Hair Products The Sharks Actually Liked
If you watch as much Shark Tank as I do, you know how rare it is for any of the investors to get excited about beauty products. As the tank's resident Ebenezer Scrooge Kevin O'Leary would say, most larger cosmetic corporations can "crush [smaller brands] like the cockroach you are." (Not that I think small beauty companies are cockroaches, but it is an incredibly tough industry to break into as an independent brand.)
Nevertheless, Controlled Chaos Curl Creme, a paraben- and sulfate-free formula designed by pro stylist Alanna York for curly-haired women, actually got their attention and earned itself a deal with Lori. One reviewer on Amazon raves, "This is really the only thing I've found that works."
The Easiest Way To Learn How To Play The Guitar
If you or anyone you know has always wanted to play the guitar but felt a little too intimidated to pick it up, the ChordBuddy is here to help. With its super popular education system invented by music teacher Travis Perry, who partnered up with investor Rob Herjavec (my personal fave shark), this clip-on tuner allows users to pick up the guitar with ease and seamlessly guides them into being proficient in just a couple of months.
A Mini Booth That Sanitizes Your Very Gross Phone
Our cell phones are all disgusting, and when they touch your face while you're calling someone, they can transfer tons of bacteria, oil, and other gross stuff to your skin. (Yay, breakouts!) If you don't want to wipe your smartphone down with a wet wipe every day, try this phone sanitizing box that also charges your phone.
A Handmade Bow Tie For The Most Dapper Dressers
At just 12 years old when he pitched on Shark Tank in 2014, Mo's Bows CEO Moziah Bridges is easily one of the most beloved entrepreneurial success stories to come on the show. Having started a bow tie company out of his home with his mother Tramica Morris as well as his grandmother, Moziah charmed the investors with his charismatic personality, penchant for fashion, and immense skill. The mother-son duo initially asked the sharks for $50,000 in exchange for 20 percent of the company.
Rather than giving him a deal, however, Fubu founder Daymond John instead offered to mentor Moziah so the young entrepreneur wouldn't have to give up any of his equity — a move that worked out beautifully, as Moziah's company has grown extensively thanks to his beautiful handcrafted designs, mentorship with Daymond, and appearance on Shark Tank.
Next time you're looking to buy a gift for somebody who's tough to shop for, or if you want to find a new accessory for yourself that's way more unique than your average scarf or bag, pick up one of the Mo's Bows designs. Technically this isn't a "weird" product so much as a little on the unconventional side for 2017, but it's 100 percent one you should have in your wardrobe.
An All-Purpose Bottle Insulator For Water, Wine, & Beer
Weird brand name, great product. Freaker USA's bottle insulator wraps around water, beer, and even wine bottles (hey, I'm not judging you) to keep them cold and prevent condensation from getting all over the place.
A Genius Little Magnet For Your Headphones Or Glasses
When Rick Hopper designed this brilliant little magnetic set, he had no idea that his smart invention would make him a millionaire. Here's how it works: one side of the powerful magnet goes inside your shirt, the other on the outside. Once in place, you can pop your headphones, reading glasses, or sunglasses onto it whenever they're not in use. Genius, right?
While Hopper wound up making a steep deal in the tank, giving away a whopping 65 percent of his company to Lori in exchange for $150,000, his sales amounted to a shocking $6 million as of 2012 — a stat that has only kept climbing.
A Handmade Body Scrub With A Delicious Scent
I have this exact product in my shower right now (and two more in my stash of beauty products). Created by entrepreneur Lani Lazzari in 2005 when she was just a preteen, this scrub features — you guessed it — sugars that exfoliate your skin plus oils that replenish its natural moisture. I have fairly dry skin that tends to get a little irritated when I use more intense scrubs, but this one works well on my entire body and doesn't leave me with itchy, parched patches. Plus, the scents the brand carries are absolutely delightful.
A Water Balloon Filler For The Summer
If you ever had a water balloon fight as a kid, you know that the most tedious part of the process is tying off those tiny little rubber balloons. Enter: the Kaos filler. This tool allows you to wrap the neck of the balloon and tie it in an infinitely easier way so you can finally bring back your days of water balloon glory as an adult (or with your younger family members, either way).
Send A Potato With A Message On It — Yes, That's It
The American dream is alive and well in the Potato Parcel, which is exactly what it sounds like. You can request a message or image to be put onto a potato and then send it to someone. That is it. And I love it.
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