Tara and Jason O’Mara pitch the Sharks on Shark Tank episode 813 about their cat toy business, PDX Pet Design. SHRU, a self-described “cat friend,” is their flagship product.
The O’Maras are cat enthusiasts who felt that most traditional cat toys were insufficiently stimulating for their feline companions.
The SHRU is “intended to mimic and behave like a living animal, stimulating both the mind and body of cats.”
The O’Maras launched their firm with a $170,779 Kickstarter campaign. Crowdfunding enthusiasts (and their cats) adored the egg-shaped electrical toy with the fluffy tail.
It appears to keep cats occupied for hours. Each SHRU is priced at $98, and the O’Maras began shipping over 5,000 units in October 2016.
They’re also working on the Licki Brush product, which is currently available for “pre-order.” The Licki Brush is a brush that is designed to resemble a cat’s lick.
This enables people to partake in the social activity of licking and grooming, which cats regard as larger cats.
What is PDX Pet Design?
PDX Pet Design is a firm that creates enjoyable cat grooming products. Licki Brush, a brush that resembles a cat’s tongue and is held in a human’s mouth (see photo below), and SHRU, an engaging egg-shaped toy with a feathery tail, are two of their best-sellers.
Tara and Jason O’Mara of Portland, Oregon, the entrepreneurs behind PDX Pet Design, pitched their business on Shark Tank in January 2017.
They approached the Tank in search of a $300,000 investment in exchange for 15% equity. Unfortunately, PDX Pet Design was not offered a spot on the show.
|Company Name||PDX Pet Design|
|Founder||Tara O’Mara and Jason O’Mara|
|Product||Licki Cat Brush and other cat products|
|Investment Seeking||$50,000 For 20% equity in PDX Pet Design|
|Final Deal||No Deal|
|Episode||Season 8, Episode 12|
Who is the Founder of PDX Pet Design?
Jason and Tara O’Mara, the husband-and-wife duo behind PDX Pet Design, created two toys that would pique cats’ curiosity.
They chose to create cat-specific toys and grooming products because they are proud cat lovers and even brought their feline companions to their Shark Tank presentation.
PDX Pet Design Before Shark Tank
Toys designed by PDX Pet Design look odd, but they function effectively. The duo previously enjoyed tremendous success with a successful Kickstarter campaign for their interactive SHRU cat toy. This interactive toy mimics little creatures’ movements and entices cats to play while their owners are away.
Their initial goal was $15,000, but they ultimately raised over 170,000 dollars – more than ten times what they had hoped for.
It will be interesting to see if PDX Pet Design has the same success as the Sharks.
PDX Pet Design Shark Tank Pitch
Tara and Jason entered the Shark Tank sporting fluffy dog ears. They described themselves as PDX Pet Design’s founders.
They requested $300,000 from the Sharks in exchange for a 15% interest in their firm. Tara added that she and Jason were both members of an online generation and met online as well.
She informed the Sharks that they eventually married and, as is natural, adopted additional cats.
Jason stated that cat toys are a problem. They are adorable and colorful in their current state, and cats adore them. For roughly 5 minutes, at the most.
He stated that the toys were essentially discarded in their current state.
Tara asked the Sharks to envision coming into a pet store and discovering an entire aisle dedicated to cat toys that would allow you to strengthen your bond with your cat while also improving your cat’s lifestyle. She argued that was exactly what PDX Pet Design was doing.
Tara and Jason created what they dubbed SHRU, an egg-shaped object. They referred to it as a cleverly made cat toy. Tara stated that it was created to keep your cat entertained while you were away for the day.
They built the toy to simulate the action of a little animal and promise that it will become a cat owner’s new best friend. They created their next toy with the premise that grooming is a way for cats to bond socially.
Additionally, they had read the study that said that cats believe you are a large cat and not a separate animal. Tara inquired as to why the Sharks should be excluded from their intimate bonding rite.
That is why the LICKI Brush was created. Tara characterized it as a tongue-shaped brush that lets you lick your cat in how cats lick you.
Jason displayed the goods on a black and white cat. Tara placed the product up to her lips, and Kevin pleaded with her not to swallow it. Tara ignored him and approached the cat, licking it. All five Sharks began to groan.
The cat appeared unconcerned when Robert said they must be joking, and Tara stated that they were not. She inquired as to who wishes to assist them in improving kitty lives worldwide.
The Sharks were all giggling hysterically. Mark Cuban has stated that someone needs to hand them a microphone and tell them to drop it immediately.
Robert described it as heinous. Tara boldly continued and informed the Sharks that she would be giving each of them a cat, an SHRU, and a LICKI brush to try out.
Lori expressed a desire for a cat. Kevin inquired as to the name of their cat. Jason informed him that it was Chestnut, and Kevin said that Chestnut was psychologically troubled at the time.
Jason began handing out stuffed animals of cats and the two toys created by PDX pet design. Daymond inquired as to what had gone wrong in his life that had brought him to this point.
Jason asserts that the LICKI brush was a viral sensation, and Mark Cuban agreed that it most certainly was. Robert put his brush in his hands and expressed his want to test it on a real cat.
Tara handed Chestnut to Robert and instructed him on how to utilize it. He clutched her close and licked along the hair’s grain. Tara lauded his technique.
Robert returned the cat to Tara and expressed how much he despised himself at the moment. Jason became defensive, claiming that many individuals had tried the items and described it as an amazing bonding experience with their pets.
Mark and Robert experiment with the various toys, while Lori inquires about the difference between brushing the cat and brushing it with your tongue.
Kevin stated that he was eager to take the business seriously after they requested a $300,000 investment before they began licking their pet. Mark even noted that they were unaware of their sales figures at the time.
Kevin inquired as to their sales figures. Tara responded that they had sold SHRU worth $250,000 and LICKI worth $52,000.
Tara stated that they have five additional designs in the works, all of which she believed would be similarly viral.
She stated that she was capable of conversing with individuals on the Internet about their animals.
Mark is also curious as to what they did before getting into lickety-split, as he put it. Jason stated that he was a self-employed electrical engineer.
Tara informed the Sharks that Jason was responsible for engineering both of the toys they had created thus far.
PDX Pet Designs did not require any engineering components to be outsourced. Tara also stated that she was in charge of the business side of things.
She wrote to Kevin O’Leary, claiming to have attended the University of Waterloo. She then pursued a Ph.D. in neuroscience, she stated.
Kevin inquired as to her nationality, which she confirmed. Kevin stated that he would see to it that she was expelled from the nation.
Robert inquired as to whether any of them had inquired as to the prices of the things. Tara stated emphatically that they did not.
She stated that the SHRU retailed for $119. The Sharks are astonished, but she explains that it contained a computer that could be altered. She continued, noting that the LICKI brush, presently available for $19, will have a final MSRP of $25.
The sharks were content with such figures. Kevin is curious about the year’s sales projection for the licker and the egg. Tara estimated that their current year’s revenues would be $180,000.
Kevin is curious about what led them to believe they could value the business at $2 million. Tara attempted to explain that they were focusing on future revenue, but she could not continue in the face of the Sharks’ laughter.
Daymond stated that they would be able to finance PDX Pet Design in five years. Tara stated that he could, but she would require far more money, knowing they would increase revenue each year.
According to Daymond, he has never heard anyone remark, “I promise we’re going to fail.” Every business that auditioned for the Shark Tank believed they would be successful.
Kevin stated that the concept was far-fetched. Jason attempted to convince us that the moment the program aired, the entire thing would become viral.
Lori stated that she desired to convey an important message to them. Lori stated that everyone wishes to go viral. Jason stated that they did and that their video garnered a total of 20 million views.
Lori remarked that their sales did not reflect their video’s popularity. She stated that she believed the sale should be increased. Lori exited. Robert was the next to leave, claiming that sales were not there.
Daymond expressed regret that they had requested so much so soon. They possessed only a rudimentary proof of concept.
He didn’t believe he’d be able to avoid that number, but the fact that he was worrying over it indicated that he was at least curious. Kevin asserted that everyone was experiencing the same issue.
He envisioned a scenario where he returned to his office and met with his staff following a $300,000 investment in the LICKI brush.
He observed his staff fleeing the company as a result of the incident. The other Sharks laughed, but you could see how disappointed the entrepreneurs were.
Kevin stated that he believed it would be impossible to recover the $300,000 he had invested. Mark interjected, explaining that he had obtained it.
He stated that the entrepreneurs had made it a part of their business and identity. They entered the Shark Tank in search of their big break. Mark stated that the issue was that they did not price it appropriately for their big break.
He stated that it would be different if they came in seeking $50,000 in exchange for a 20% stake, and they would all grow together.
He stated that someone might then take a chance on them. Mark withdrew, citing the fact that $300,000 was too much.
Daymond also left, claiming that they would have to figure it out on their own. Tara addressed Kevin, indicating that they had not yet received communication from Mr. wonderful. Kevin expressed concern for his daughter.
He recalled his son looking at him and asking, “What happened to you, dad?” Jason stated that they would earn him a substantial sum of money, but Kevin stated they were no longer worth $300,000, let alone two million.
He exited. Kevin stated that he wanted to communicate how thrilled he was that the two of them had met. Jason faked a giggle, and Tara expressed gratitude.
Following Tara’s statement that they were disappointed but had contingency plans. Let’s see if their anticipated purchase orders were sufficient to keep PDX Pet Design out of the Shark Tank.
“This is more than a company for you; it is an extension of your personality. As usual, Mark Cuban provides the most discerning perspective and the most helpful advice, doled out as he drops out of class. In case you couldn’t tell, I adore you, Mark Cuban.
You’ve had fun with it; you’ve taken ownership of it. You’re on the lookout for a significant break. However, you did not price it as a significant discount.” The other sharks appear to agree with a nod.
“If you had come in and said, believe in us, and asked for $50,000 for 20% of the company, and we all grow together, I believe we would all be in. However, 300,000? That is excessive. For those reasons, I’m withdrawing.”
Daymond is the second-to-last to withdraw, alluding to the overvaluation and advising the pair to resolve it for themselves.
Mr. Wonderful (Kevin) is the last to withdraw, citing concerns about the valuation, and others will think of his sanity.
No Deal in the End
What Happened To PDX Pet Design After Shark Tank?
PDX Pet Design has come a long way since its early days as a laughingstock and modest Kickstarter campaign. Surprisingly, as of July 2020, they remain open and fully working.
The brand maintains a vibrant social media presence, bolstered by legions of buzzing followers and high interaction — check out their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts for the latest updates, cat facts, and adorable Instagram-approved images of dozing kitties.
PDX Pet Design has released a glow-in-the-dark LICKI brush in the aftermath of its appearance on Shark Tank. The Sharks’ favorite product was recently featured on the Huffington Post’s Weird Christmas List.
While they have not yet launched the new products mentioned on the Tank, the episode aired not long ago. While it may not be investable, PDX Pet Design is certain to succeed with Tara’s drive.
Jason and Tara continue to attend CatCon each year — yes, that is a real thing, and it is reportedly the place where “cat culture and pop culture intersect.”
The PDX Pet Design complete product line presently comprises the following:
- SHRU Intelligent Cat Companion ($119) SHRU Intelligent Cat Companion
- ($25) Licki Brush
- Attachments for SHRU feathers and tails ($6 each)
While the Licki Brush may have been one of the oddest pitches in Shark Tank history, it was most obviously not a disaster.
The brand is still doing strong, and PDX is a significant contender in the niche market of boutique pet grooming products, at least for the time being. At the moment, all products are available for purchase directly through the PDX Pet Design website.