Wild Squirrel Nut Butter on Shark Tank
Custom Peanut Butter - Season 4 - Episode 315
Wild Squirrel Nut Butter is a classic business storythat began in the dorm rooms at college. While Erika Welsh and Keeley Tillotson were weathering a storm in their room at the University of Oregon one day, they ran out of peanut butter. While this may be a problem for a lot of struggling college students, this only meant an opportunity for the self-proclaimed "cooking fanatics" to do a little creating of their own. Welsh and Tillotson had a bag of peanuts and ran then through a food processor to a creamy blend. They then went looking for other ingredients already on hand and started doing a little creative experimenting with their home made peanut butter. A little honey here, a dash of cinnamon there, before you know it, they had the ingredients of success in their new creation.
The peanut butter was SO much better than anything you could buy at the store, the two wild squirrels, Keeley and Erika, continued experimenting with other ingredient's long after that winter day. It didn't take long for their enthusiasm in their new invention to get the attention of all their friends and family. Everyone wanted a jar of their peanut butter they creatively called the "Wild Squirrel Nut Butter" and the demand grew far above what either of them could of ever imagined. Can you imagine that one day your scraping by and decide to make homemade peanut butter and before long your making thousands of jars worth out of that same little dorm room.
Wild Squirrel Nut Butter on Kickstarter.com
|Ericka Welsh and Keeley Tillotson|
"Rap about Peanut Butter!"
Success Breeds Success
Having a Successful Kickstarter Campaign is a very good thing to have on any new start-up resume. It proves #1 you are for real. You have a product that has demand and you have proven the ability to deliver. Personally I'm beginning to think this is one of the Shark Tank's Producer's favorite sites to find new contestants for the show. Sure, you can try out for the show, but it's also a proven fact that the Shark Tank Producer's actively go looking for contestants with unique inventions they like. I couldn't find out whether Erika and Keeley actually tried out for the Shark Tank or the producers got a hold of them first, but either way they made it on the show in May of 2012.
Wild Squirrel UPDATE:
The timeline was not adding up and after a little more research it is clear that the Kickstarter campaign was started after they knew their fate from dealing with the Sharks. Unlike a few other contestant's that chose to coincide their Kickstarter campaigns with the airing of the Shark Tank Show, the squirrels chose to do just the opposite. Never quite knowing if your product will even make it to the show (even if they film you) and already knowing your fate, you really are left with only two choices. They chose to move forward and risk not making their goal before the Shark Tank aired. This was a bold move that paid off especially when the Shark Tank Effect took a hold and they were already prepared to fill thousands of orders without the Sharks help.
The actual update on Wild Squirrel Nut Butter was actually filmed in September and shows a 300% increase in retail stores now carrying their product. As fast as this new brand of peanut butter is catching on, it would be most interesting to see how much farther they have come even since then. Maybe, just maybe, either Keeley or Erika can fill us in on current numbers on the New Wild Squirrel Blog.