After having their product referred to as “misleading” and “against the law”, two Aussie blokes managed to turn their failed national TV debut into a thriving digital business.
‘Any publicity is good publicity’, is what people kept telling us after we came out of Channel 10’s Shark Tank feeling a little battered and bruised. Before entering the ‘Tank’, Peak Chocolate was a relatively unknown brand, having only sold roughly 20,000 of our pre-exercise dark chocolates.
We thought our Shark Tank pitch started off relatively well, but that quickly changed. Janine Allis, a veteran in the fast-moving consumer goods game, described the supplement infused dark chocolate as “against the law” and “misleading”. Trying to lighten the mood, I pointed out that Rory, our head of performance, was just two subjects away from finishing his law degree.
This only added fuel to the fire, as Janine quickly recommended he get some real legal advice from someone that has “finished their course”.
However, the humiliation didn’t stop there, with Dr Glen Richards saying “don’t give up your day jobs”. Steve Baxter, then listed off the ingredients he thought sounded like chemicals in the chocolate. When we came to our product’s defence to Jane’s earlier criticisms, Baxter said our defence was “the difference between someone that reads something on Wikipedia and someone that sells billions of smoothies”.
Within 12-minutes, our dreams of gaining funding for our dark chocolate empire were destroyed. At the time, we were seeking $50,000, capital we desperately needed to order enough cocoa and workout supplements to jump-start our move from an online-only start-up to a thriving business with phsyical shopfronts around the country.
We were tempted to give-up, but instead took the longer road and set out to grow our business without the support of Shark Tank’s prominent investors. This payed off, as the chocolate started to gain more traction, with our product sales actually exploding after the episode of Shark Tank aired in late 2017.
Once we started seeing more interest in our product, Rory and I started listening closely to our customers’ demands. This led to our expansion from a single pre-workout boost chocolate for gym goers, to a second focus product that’s formulated to ‘conquer the 2 pm slump’.
Despite our Shark Tank rejection, we re-launched our brand as the leader in dark chocolate. Infused with a range of contemporary supplements, the chocolates are designed to help consumers achieve their best results, at the gym or in their daily lives. The most growth we’ve seen, however, has stemmed from the explosion of two diet trends; vegan and keto. This is because we set out to ensure our products are made from a high-fat, dairy and gluten-free mixture, which suits all sorts of dietary requirements and trends.
Moving forward, we’ll be partnering with a major distribution company to help grow our business beyond the small online venture we’ve established over the last few years. As such, we’re busy researching new retailers to work with, getting our products sold both via our own sales platform and through third-party Australian businesses.