CdM Woman Makes a “Shark Tank” Deal With Holiday Stamp Kit Business

posted: December 16th, 2014 05:00 am | 1Comment

A Corona del Mar woman who created a kit to help kids believe in holiday magic appeared — and conquered — on Friday night’s episode of “Shark Tank.”

Trina Barkouras appeared on the ABC reality show to pitch her Hoppy Paws business, which sells kits to let parents create footprints of reindeer, elves, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and other magical holiday creatures.

“I decided I wanted my kids’ holidays to be extra special,” Barkouras told the judges during the episode. “Because my childhood was so difficult, I wanted to do everything I can to make my kids feel loved.”

The idea for Hoppy Paws, she said, came to her about 20 years ago when she decided to make Easter Bunny paw prints on the ground, leading her daughters to their Easter baskets. A few neighbors asked how she did it, but the idea didn’t become a business plan until last June, when she decided to go to an open audition for the show in San Diego.

“Shark Tank,” which won an Emmy this year, features a panel of successful “sharks” who listen to pitches, then decide whether to invest.

Barkouras, who lives in the Flower Streets, said she waited for five hours before she was given 60 seconds with a producer to make her audition pitch.

“They whittle down and whittle down and whittle down,” she said.

Ultimately, she was selected to appear on the show.

She decided to wear her most glamorous dress, a floor-length brown gown by Carolina Herrera, along with reindeer antlers. Then she told the judges about her product in verse, playing on “The Night Before Christmas.” Ultimately, she asked for $50,000 in exchange for a 10 percent stake in the Hoppy Paws business.

The product, she said, includes a white powder that you mix with water, along with stamps that create the footprints. The prints can be vacuumed off carpeting, she said. She declined to say what the powder was made of.

The sharks asked about sales, and Barkouras told them that she had developed the idea in just 90 days, and had picked up the first of the products only the day before. She had spent $105,000 of her own money so far, she told them, including an Air Stream camper that she will use at trade shows.

“You are a machine,” said shark Mark Cuban. “You are not allowed to call yourself Trina anymore…I have re-christened you The Beast. You are a beast, and I love it. And I wish my sales people were as focused and as driven and as excited.”

“I’m a go-getter,” she said.

Another shark said he was impressed at how much she’d accomplished in 90 days, but he said he didn’t think his own children would be excited by powder footprints.

“They’d say, ‘Daddy, why is the carpet dirty?'” Robert Herjavec said. “My opinion is kids aren’t going to like it.”

He, Cuban and another shark said they’d offer $5,000 each.

“I am willing to do this because I think I should have a woman with horns in my portfolio,” shark Kevin O’Leary said. “There’s no question about it.”

But in the end, shark Barbara Corcoran took over.

“I have my entire life done exactly what you are doing for my kids,” she said, describing how she also had created footprints to make it seem as though Santa had really been in their home.

“They followed the tracks, they can’t believe it,” she said. “It’s like proof that Santa Claus exists. I totally know this thing works, and you’ve done it so much better.”

She then offered $100,000 for a 50 percent stake in the company.

In the end, Barkouras agreed to a deal for $100,000, with her keeping 51 percent of the company. Future ideas she develops would be shared equally, the women agreed.

“You’re a little machine of ideas,” Corcoran said.

In an interview, Barkouras said she was thrilled to have Corcoran as her partner.

“She’s a go-getter,” she said.

The product has been selling well though the Hoppy Paws website, she said.

“The orders keep coming in,” she said. “We’re here right now in the warehouse fulfilling orders, making sure everyone gets their Hoppy Paws before Christmas.”

The sets sell for $6.99. With the Shark Tank funding, she said on the show, she hoped to be able to get the manufacturing price down from $2 to about $1.

Ultimately, she said, she plans to create plush toys, coloring books, storybooks and more around each character whose footsteps are represented in each kit.

“We’re trying to keep the magic alive,” she said, adding that the website has an area for kids so they don’t learn too much about the product and how it works.

The show began with images of Barkouras and her daughters playing on Big Corona State Beach, tossing a frisbee and drawing a heart in the sand. But actually facing the shark panel was stressful, she said.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” she said. “You were in the tank for an extended period. It was sort of an out of body experience. It’s very nerve-wracking. What you have to do is you have to keep your composure. You have to get your points across.”

To see the episode, click here.

One Response to “CdM Woman Makes a “Shark Tank” Deal With Holiday Stamp Kit Business”


Danielle Haigh

December 21st, 2014

I am trying to get more info on the Carolina Herrera dress that Trina was wearing....

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