HangEase: What Happened After Shark Tank?

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In the exhilarating world of entrepreneurial dreams and reality TV, "Shark Tank" serves as a pivotal platform where innovative ideas and ambitious entrepreneurs collide. One such remarkable invention that left an indelible mark on the show was HangEase, an ingenious solution to a common household problem - tangled hangers.

In this article, we'll delve into the intriguing journey of HangEase after its appearance on "Shark Tank." 

The HangEase pitch on Shark Tank

Before we explore what happened to HangEase after its "Shark Tank" appearance, let's briefly revisit the captivating pitch that brought it into the spotlight.

The inventors behind HangEase

The minds behind HangEase are Elizabeth Stein and Erin Whalen, two mothers who sought to tackle a problem many of us have faced - the frustration of untangling hangers in a cluttered closet. Their solution was simple but brilliant: a hanger that could be easily twisted, allowing garments to slide on and off effortlessly.

The inventors behind HangEase

The HangEase pitch in the "Shark Tank" was memorable. The inventors presented a product that could revolutionize our everyday lives, making the mundane task of organizing our closets far less vexing. The sharks, known for their tough negotiation tactics, were intrigued.

I really like how HangEase was born out of a genuine need. The best inventions often come from solving everyday annoyances, and HangEase perfectly encapsulates this spirit.

HangEase's debut on "Shark Tank"

In a memorable "Shark Tank" episode from Season 5, Episode 27, titled "The Bouqs Company, Angellift, HangEase, Susty Party," young entrepreneur Ryan Landis, at the tender age of nine, took the stage to showcase his brainchild, HangEase.

This innovative product, a hanger featuring a clever collapsible hinge, was born out of a school project during Ryan's third-grade year. He sought an investment of $80,000 in exchange for a 30% equity stake in HangEase.

  • The inception: HangEase, as introduced by Ryan, is designed to allow users to effortlessly slide shirts off hangers without causing snags or hanger breakage. Its simplicity and practicality immediately piqued the sharks' interest.
  • The Walmart surprise: The sharks were quick to inquire about the decade-long dormancy of HangEase hangers in boxes, which led to the revelation that Walmart was the initial retail partner. This disclosure left the sharks astonished, prompting the question of why, if it was successful, Walmart discontinued the product.
  • Marketing missteps: According to Ryan Landis, HangEase's disappearance from Walmart's shelves was due to insufficient marketing. The product's potential had not been adequately realized.
  • The patent factor: Lori Greiner delved further, inquiring about the presence of a patent for HangEase. Ryan proudly stated that a fully issued utility patent had been granted in 2007. However, Lori pointed out that she had seen similar hangers before, which caught Ryan by surprise.
  • Shark reactions: Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner expressed genuine interest in HangEase, recognizing its practicality and potential market appeal. In contrast, Robert Herjavec was the first to bow out, expressing his lack of enthusiasm for the product. Kevin O'Leary, known for his sharp critiques, deemed the product "boring," and Barbara Corcoran followed suit in stepping away from the deal.
  • Cuban and Greiner's deal: In a pivotal moment, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner extended an offer contingent on verifying the legitimacy and coverage of HangEase's patent. They saw promise in Ryan's invention and wanted to ensure they had robust protection against potential competitors.

H3: The Sharks' reactions

The sharks were quick to see the potential of HangEase. They recognized that this innovation could address a common problem, and it was clear that the product had market potential.

HangEase Shark Tank

However, it wasn't all smooth sailing. The sharks, as they often do, raised important questions about the business's scalability, competition in the market, and the sales strategy. Negotiations ensued, and the inventors ultimately struck a deal with Lori Greiner, the "Queen of QVC," who offered $150,000 for a 20% stake in the business.

Personally, I was impressed by the negotiation skills of the inventors. Making a deal with a shark on "Shark Tank" is no small feat, and it's a testament to their belief in their product and their ability to convey its value.

The post-"Shark Tank" journey

After securing the deal with Lori Greiner, HangEase had a significant opportunity to grow. But as with any business venture, the real test comes after the TV cameras have stopped rolling.

The power of Lori Greiner

Lori Greiner is a renowned figure in the world of product pitching and sales. Her expertise and vast network could be a game-changer for HangEase. I really like how the partnership with Greiner opened doors to the vast marketplaces she's associated with, including QVC, which is known for catapulting many innovative products to success.

However, I found that even with a powerful partner, success is not guaranteed. Greiner's involvement could pave the way, but it ultimately depends on the product's market fit, customer demand, and effective execution.

Navigating the challenges

In the world of entrepreneurship, every step forward comes with its share of hurdles. After the initial wave of excitement following their "Shark Tank" appearance, the HangEase team had to address some crucial challenges.

HangEase hangers

I really like how they tackled these obstacles with determination. It's essential to remember that entrepreneurship is not just about having a great idea; it's also about adapting to changing circumstances and persevering in the face of adversity.

One of the primary challenges was ensuring that the product met the high expectations set during their pitch. Production, quality control, and scaling up to meet growing demand were crucial tasks that required meticulous planning and execution.

The team had to invest in efficient manufacturing processes, quality control measures, and marketing efforts to build brand recognition and drive sales. However, I found that this phase is often where many startups falter. The transition from a brilliant idea to a profitable business is fraught with potential pitfalls.

The role of customer feedback

Customer feedback played a pivotal role in HangEase's post-"Shark Tank" journey. It's essential for any business to listen to its customers, adapt to their needs, and refine its products accordingly.

I really like how HangEase was proactive in seeking customer input and using it to enhance their product. They engaged with their audience through various channels, including social media, and took suggestions seriously.

This customer-centric approach allowed them to fine-tune their product and ensure it addressed the real pain points of consumers.

In the age of online reviews and social media, a business's reputation can be shaped in the blink of an eye. HangEase recognized the power of positive word-of-mouth and aimed to cultivate a loyal customer base.

Scaling up with QVC

One of the highlights of HangEase's post-"Shark Tank" journey was its appearance on QVC, a television network dedicated to home shopping. I really like how this presented a fantastic opportunity for the product to reach a broader audience. QVC's reach and expertise in promoting innovative products have been pivotal for many entrepreneurs.

Lori Greiner, with her vast experience in QVC, played a crucial role in this development. HangEase was featured on the network, where it had a chance to shine and demonstrate its value to a massive audience.

HangEase ST

However, I found that while QVC provides a unique platform for showcasing products, it also adds pressure. The live television format demands effective presentation and the ability to connect with viewers in real-time.

Not every product is suited for this medium, and its success often depends on how well it can captivate the audience during its brief moment in the spotlight.

The impact on sales

The exposure on "Shark Tank" and subsequent appearances on platforms like QVC naturally boosted HangEase's sales. It became more accessible to a broader customer base, both online and through retail partners.

I really like how the sales figures reflected the product's potential. This success validated the inventors' vision and the sharks' faith in the product. It's a moment every entrepreneur dreams of - seeing their creation flourish in the market.

However, with increased sales comes the challenge of meeting demand. Manufacturing, shipping, and customer support all needed to be scaled up to ensure a smooth and satisfying customer experience.

Overcoming copycat challenges

The success of HangEase attracted imitation products and copycats. I really like how the company was proactive in addressing this issue. Legal actions were taken to protect their intellectual property, and they remained vigilant about competitors trying to capitalize on their innovation.

However, I found that dealing with copycats is a constant battle in the world of entrepreneurship. While it's a testament to the product's appeal, it can also be an ongoing distraction and drain on resources.

The road to sustainability

As HangEase continued to grow, the focus shifted toward creating a sustainable and enduring brand. The "Shark Tank" fame provided an initial boost, but long-term success requires more than just a moment in the spotlight.

I really like how the founders were dedicated to building a brand with a strong identity. They invested in creating a compelling brand story and conveying their commitment to solving a common problem through innovation.

Maintaining a quality product and excellent customer service is crucial for building brand loyalty. HangEase recognized the importance of creating a community of satisfied customers who would not only keep coming back but also advocate for the product.

The power of online marketing

In the digital age, a robust online presence is essential for any business. HangEase utilized social media, e-commerce platforms, and online advertising to reach a wider audience.

I really like how they harnessed the power of the internet to expand their customer base. Through engaging content, customer testimonials, and promotions, they managed to keep the momentum going.

However, it's important to note that the online landscape is ever-evolving, and it requires constant attention and adaptation. Algorithms change, platforms evolve, and competition is fierce. However, I found that the agility displayed by HangEase in navigating these digital waters was commendable.

The importance of customer retention

In the pursuit of growth, one should never forget the existing customer base. HangEase recognized that a loyal customer is a valuable asset and implemented strategies to keep them engaged.

Customer loyalty

I really like how they introduced loyalty programs and special offers to incentivize repeat purchases. This not only ensures a steady stream of revenue but also strengthens the bond between the brand and its customers.

In my opinion, it's often easier to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Customer retention is a vital aspect of long-term success.

The HangEase legacy

HangEase's journey demonstrates that the road to success is filled with obstacles, but with determination, innovation, and a customer-centric approach, entrepreneurs can turn their dreams into reality. 

The product continues to make our daily lives a bit easier, one hanger at a time. HangEase's story serves as a reminder that even after the glitz and glamor of "Shark Tank," the real test is in the day-to-day grind of building a brand, satisfying customers, and striving for lasting success. 

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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