Johnny Gennaro is a creative thinker who was inspired by a documentary he watched some time ago. There was a documentary about the original “Made Men,” or Mafiosos.
He observed some mafia members using rubber bands as a kind of money clip while watching them remove rubber bands from bunches of broccoli.
It was this observation that inspired the idea for a more robust, customizable version of these bands. Broccoli Wad is the name chosen by Gennaro in homage to his band’s roots.
John Pastore joined forces with Vinny Pastore to form his firm and develop a prototype for his invention. Pastore is an actor who is best known for his roles as mafia figures in films.
The actor appeared in multiple projects, including HBO’s Sopranos and the critically acclaimed film Goodfellas. Incorporating Pastore as a subsidiary of the firm helped them become more aware, but it wasn’t enough.
They decided to take their invention to ABC’s Shark Tank, hoping that one of the Sharks would see the true potential of their new product.
What is Broccoli Ward?
Broccoli Wads, which men can use to keep their money together, are rubber bands similar to those found in the fresh goods section. These bands were originally called broccoli bands because of their similar appearance.
Johnny Gennaro invented the Broccoli Wad, a rubber band that is capable of holding cash. The band is named after the rubber bands supermarkets use for securing broccoli stalks.
The business was pitched to Shark Tank in 2011 by Gennaro and actor Vincent Pastore (the character Salvatore Bonpensiero from The Sopranos). Barbara Corcoran invested $50,000 in exchange for a 40% stake.
There was a contingency – Corcoran intended to brand the product with Pastore’s face and name it “Vinny’s Wad.”
|Seeking Investment||$50,000 for 20% equity in Broccoli Wad|
|Final Deal||$50,000 for equity in Broccoli Wad|
|Episode||Season 2, Episode 4|
|Company Status||Out of Business|
Who is the Founder of Broccoli Ward?
John Gennaro, founder and inventor of The Broccoli Wad has introduced many successful products to the public.
Gene has demonstrated a strong marketing and team leadership skill set since founding Twinstars Productions LLC in 2010 on LinkedIn.
His marketing abilities have also aided other businesses in achieving their full potential.
John Gennaro was Vice President of Sales at Helen of Troy before introducing The Broccoli Wad or any of his other inventions to the public.
The leadership qualities he demonstrated during these years helped guide his team and establish large-scale sales.
As Regional Sales Manager for Conair, Gennaro’s position enabled him to study and research market trends before engaging with Helen of Troy. Using these skills, he expanded his entrepreneurial attitude as the owner and inventor of several well-known inventions.
John Gennaro worked on sales and marketing as the coordinator for the design and development of The Broccoli Wad.
He has already achieved success with several of his ideas before his appearance on The Shark Tank alongside Vincent Pastore of The Sopranos. He later collaborated with Barbara Corcoran to expand the reach of this product.
Broccoli Wad Before Shark Tank
Johnny Gennaro is an entrepreneur who invented a money clip after watching a documentary about mob “smart people.”
Rubber bands used by grocery store clerks to tie broccoli stalks to cans represented these “made men’s” wads of cash.
He ultimately connected with Vinny Pastore – famous for his role as Tony Soprano in the TV series The Sopranos – and a collaboration between the two to bring the Broccoli Wad to market. Johnny reasoned that Vinny would be the ideal pitchman for his goods.
Shark Tank Pitch of Broccoli Wad
Johnny and Vinny entered the tank, and Johnny offered the Sharks $50,000 in exchange for a 20% stake in his business.
He used the Broccoli Wad as an example of how an offer like that could not be refused. Johnny demonstrated it while holding a stack of money and explained how his inspiration for the product came from watching a documentary about an FBI agent infiltrating the mob.
The man who made this observation observed that intelligent men don’t carry wallets but rather carry their money in a rubber band typically used to keep broccoli stalks together.
Kevin inquired where wise men kept their credit cards, but guest-Shark responded that intelligent men avoid using credit cards because they don’t want to be easily followed.
Johnny chuckled and said they do have licenses, but they are often expired and out of state.
Vinny said the idea was ridiculous, but he changed his mind once he saw how adorable it was after Johnny handed out samples to all Sharks.
Robert commented warily, “It’s only a piece of rubber you’re saying is worth $250,000.” Vinny said he would be able to buy a Malibu house if they sell many units.
Barbara was completely unimpressed with the pitch despite the humor and laughter from the other Sharks.
She believed both of them were completely insane, and she simply didn’t get it. She considered this to be one of the least appealing products she had ever seen on the show. She was no longer present.
Johnny stated that it’s understandable that a woman would find this difficult to comprehend, as most women carry wallets. Jeff explained that he grasped the notion because his wallet had grown to the size of a phone book.
He was constantly on the hunt for a better way to carry his money, as most money clips are ineffective. He stated that he approved of Johnny’s suggestion.
Kevin was curious as to how they intended to market it. Each kit, Johnny explained, would have two rubber bits and two metal sliders and would retail for between $10 and $14.
Meanwhile, he had prepared two two-minute advertisements starring Vinny and some of Vinny’s former Sopranos cast colleagues.
They were prepared to launch a campaign, and Vinny had promised to make personal appearances at Atlantic City casinos.
Daymond inquired as to the amount of money already invested in the project. When Johnny disclosed that he had invested $200,000 in it, the Sharks were taken aback. However, Vinny intervened to declare that $190,000 of it was a payment to him.
Johnny defended his invention by stating that he came from a novelty item background and considered the Broccoli Wad as the ultimate “As Seen on TV” product, packed with a two-minute television promo.
Kevin inquired whether Johnny required the $50,000 to purchase radio time, but Johnny responded that he needed sales and marketing expertise.
Robert was perplexed as to why Vinny’s photograph was not included in the package. That is when Barbara entered the debate once more. “How come it isn’t called the “Vinny Wad?” she inquired.
The other sharks concurred, and Daymond inquired whether Johnny perceived Vinny as the product’s face. Johnny stated that without Vinny, the rubber band would be meaningless.
Barbara reaffirmed her willingness to return if Johnny rebranded the product as the “Vinny Wad” and included Vinny’s picture on the package. Robert agreed, “Your greatest asset stands next to you, but you haven’t named him anywhere.”
Vinny responded that his willingness to stay with the company, in the long run, would depend on the economics of the situation. Kevin withdrew from the discussion because he considered it prohibitively expensive. Jeff and Daymond also left.
Barbara was prepared to strike a bargain. She did, however, turn her attention to Vinny. When she began to make an offer to Vinny, Kevin screamed, “Vinny is not a Shark!” Barbara, though, continued.
She would offer Johnny $50,000 in exchange for a 40% stake in the business. In exchange, she would split her 40% with Vinny for Vinny to be reimbursed. The need would be for Vinny to provide his face and name to the product’s branding.
Robert then stated, “I’m leaving. That is an excellent offer,” and Vinny promptly accepted Barbara’s deal. Johnny appeared bewildered, and Kevin said, “What just occurred there?” “You just got whacked,” one of the sharks informed Johnny.
Barbara, on the other hand, persevered and outlined the nature of her offer once more. She inquired about the number of pieces Johnny possessed in his warehouse, and Johnny informed her that he possessed 50,000 units.
Barbara then stated that all he required was for the gift to include a photograph of Vinny. However, Johnny desired to know how they would proceed.
He did not come to Shark Tank solely for financial gain; he sought sales and marketing experience. Barbara, would you be willing to provide that?
Barbara stated that the only areas in which she excels are sales and marketing. She was curious as to whether Johnny would accept the bargain. Johnny stated after a beat that he would.
When Vinny and Johnny exited the stage, Barbara was asked if she was bluffing when she said Broccoli Wad was the worst product she had seen on the show, considering she eventually invested in it.
However, she had not altered her opinion of the goods. She continued to believe it was insane, “but if you sell it, it’s brilliant.”
Final Agreement: $50,000 for 40% equity in Broccoli Wad.
What Happened To Broccoli Wad After Shark Tank?
However, it might not have been a stroke of brilliance. Gennaro headed the company for only a few years, then went on to do other things.
A profile on LinkedIn reveals that he is currently the CEO and Visionary Entrepreneur of Twinstar Productions, LLC, which produces revolutionary home products and hair care products.
He has been working on bringing the iCurler to market. The technique involves placing a strand of hair into equipment similar to a blow dryer, pulling the hair in, and curling it. The patent belongs to Johnny, but there is no website for it, and it doesn’t appear to be available for purchase anywhere.
The face of Vincent was added to the product box following Shark Tank, but the name stayed the same. A few are currently being auctioned on eBay.
Gennaro went on to design the iCurler following the Shark Tank episode’s airing. The iCurler is “a unique electrical hair care product that leverages proprietary infused air technology.”
Pastore is now in New Jersey filming the independent horror film “Clinton Road” with rapper/actor Ice-T. He also continues to tour the country, performing stand-up comedy routines.
In the meantime, the Broccoli Wad is still available on Amazon. It is, however, represented by a firm called “Wise Guy Productions,” which is unrelated to Johnny or Vinny.
However, the product’s price has climbed significantly. Two elastic bands and aluminum sliders now cost about $55. Surprisingly, the product has a substantial amount of good feedback.
Vinny is doing well. He has continued to work as an actor, with several projects set for 2020 and even more for 2021.