A trio of entrepreneurs has benefited from bringing their holiday brand in front of the “Sharks.”

'Shark Tank'

On Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, Black Paper Party founders Madia Willis (CEO), J’Aaron “Jae” Merchant (chief product designer), and Jasmine Hudson (chief merchandising officer) pitched their company on “Shark Tank.”

Photo Credit: Christopher Willard

Black Paper Party

As AFROTECH previously told you, their company was founded in 2020 in Philadelphia, PA, and offers inclusive products for Black families including gift wrap and gift bags. The brand is shelved at 6,000 stores and can be found at major retailers including Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Dollar General, CVS, and Family Dollar, ABC-6 in Philadelphia reports.

“We want to be a part of making those memories and helping families enjoy time together, which became even more important because of the pandemic,” Willis explained to AFROTECH in 2021. “With everything going on in the world, we are happy to make products that delight in Black families and Black children.”

Photo Credit: Black Paper Party

With the opportunity to pitch their company to investors Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and Daymond John, during the Dec. 8 taping, the founders were looking to secure an investment to fulfill their growth plans as they prepare for 2024.

Reflecting On Show Appearance

Appearing on the show brought the founders a mixture of emotions.

“It was really fun to see the response from the Sharks,” Hudson told AFROTECH. “The fact that they knew that we were adjusting in a niche industry, in terms of representation, and then how excited everyone got with their samples that they had in front of them. It was fun, it was stressful, but it was a really great experience overall.”

Willis added, “Initially it was really nerve wracking, but one of the realizations that I had while in the tank was we talk about our business every day, and we present to buyers and different stakeholders and in meetings. Once you kind of realize it’s just an extended meeting with more stakeholders, then I really started to have fun.”

Results From The Tank

The founders were looking to further their business, and the opportunity to pitch on “Shark Tank” would open the gateway to fulfill their goals of scaling their e-commerce, investing in new inventory, and expanding their team.

They ultimately walked away with a $250,000 deal from Corcoran for 10% of their company, Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

“It almost like just makes sense for it to be Barbara,” Hudson noted. “Even on the show they did a ‘Where are they now’ on some of her portfolio businesses? So she had volleyball, which was owned by three women entrepreneurs very much like ourselves, and they’ve scaled to a multimillion-dollar business.”

She continued, “There’s also Hire Santa that has scaled to a multimillion-dollar business as well, and these are Barbara Corcoran portfolio businesses. So she has a track record of taking seasonal businesses and really blowing them up, and then also some of the past episodes and businesses that she’s invested in, lot of them are just like women of color as well. So she’s truly like a community ally and advocate, which we want that in our corner as we drive for growth.”

Support The Brand This Holiday Season

As the women relive their recent victory through “Shark Tank,” they are looking for one more reason to celebrate as they close out the year. In light of the holiday season, they encourage customers to shop the brand on their online store or at major retailers.

“It’s been a pretty bleak outlook for retail. A lot of retailers haven’t been hitting their forecast,” Willis explained. “So, we would just encourage fans of the brand who haven’t yet done their holiday shopping or may or may not be waiting for things to go on clearance, that because we are in retail one day doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be there the next year.”

She added, “So we really kind of wanna encourage folks to go out and support the brand and leave reviews and engage with us on social media. Definitely on our retailer platforms like Target, Walmart, and Macy’s to let the retailers know that they appreciate the product and the brand. All of those things really contribute to the longevity of a brand like ours.”