I have been watching Shark Tank for more than three years. This American reality TV show offers hundreds of entrepreneurs the opportunities to seek investment or strategic partners for their business and products from “Sharks”, who are self-made billionaires or millionaires. In last Season – Season 4, a product called “Scrub Daddy” smiley-faced yellow sponge, highly impressed me due to the fact that the owner, Aaron Krause, was able to think outside the box making a very creative sponge. This sponge also has more advanced features comparing with traditional sponges. Eventually, Lori Greiner, the Queen of QVC made the deal for $200k and 20% of the Scrub Daddy Enterprise.
One year later, an article on The Wall Street Journal named Sponge Makers Try to Woo Skeptics attracted my attention. The key word in this article is Scrub Daddy!! I was surprised how fast this company has grown, even though I believed this product will undoubtedly have a promising future the first time when I saw it on Shark Tank.
According to Information Resources Inc, around 67% of U.S. households have dishwashers; however, lots of pots, pans and delicate items are still washed by hand. As of November 2013, Americans spent $415 million on sponges. The research also shows that the U.S. sponge market is growing slowly with just 2.4% this year. The reason behind this is obvious – sponges hold bacteria.
For most people who use sponges will have the same experience – sponges hold cheese or eggs. Many people believe that sponges tend to be the most germ-laden item in the house. There is definitely a huge potential market for sponge products; however, consumers seem not very satisfied with sponges. Therefore, in U.S. market, 3M Co, the world’s largest maker of branded sponges, is planning to provide a million samples of its new Stay Clean sponge to the market; in European market, Jarden Corp is offering sponges with scrub pads “reinforced” with tiny bits of pumice; Scrub Daddy, this rising star company, is considering as a tiny rival by giant player in the market. The company is promoting a smiley-faced yellow sponge made of "highly engineered" polymer. This product is supposed to cleans better and sheds bacteria more than traditional ones.
The market is changing all the time, since consumers are always looking for better products with affordable price. Again, this case is another perfect example of how a small company can successfully get its market share while competing with giant players. With creative ideas and new tech, a small business one day will lead the industry.