Since its appearance on Shark Tank in 2016, Potato Parcel has carved out a unique niche in the world of gift-giving. The company’s quirky concept – sending personalized messages written on potatoes – struck a chord with viewers and investors alike, quickly turning it into a viral sensation. But what happened to Potato Parcel after the cameras stopped rolling and the initial buzz subsided?
In this article, we delve into the post-Shark Tank journey of this unconventional startup. We’ll explore its trajectory, from its initial success and the subsequent challenges it faced to its current status. We’ll also examine how it has managed to sustain its business model, which is as unusual as it is humorous, and whether the company has managed to stay afloat in the cutthroat world of entrepreneurship.
Join us as we peel back the layers of Potato Parcel’s story, providing an insightful look at what it truly takes to turn a quirky idea into a successful business.
What Is a Potato Parcel?
Potato Parcel is based on a simple yet quirky idea: communicating through potatoes. The service lets you write a custom message (up to 140 characters) on a potato and send it anonymously (or not) to anyone in the United States . It’s a fun, distinctive way to send a message, which makes it memorable. The sheer novelty of receiving a potato in the mail is sure to surprise and delight recipients.
Unique & Fun
The primary advantage of Potato Parcel is its uniqueness. In a world where digital communication predominates, a physical message inscribed on a potato stands out. It’s a fun, lighthearted way to communicate, and it’s sure to bring a smile to the recipient’s face.
Easy to Use
Using Potato Parcel is straightforward. You simply choose your potato size, type your message, and provide the recipient’s address. The website is user-friendly and intuitive, making the ordering process hassle-free.
Potato Parcel offers a degree of customization. You can add images or emojis to your potato, making your message even more personalized.
Good for a Laugh
Potato Parcel is perfect for those looking to send a funny, unexpected gift. Whether it’s a birthday greeting, a thank you note, or a random message, the absurdity of the medium is bound to get a laugh.
While it’s a fun novelty, Potato Parcel doesn’t offer much practicality. The messages are limited to 140 characters, and there’s no way to reply or follow up on a potato message.
Considering that you’re essentially paying for a potato and postage, some might find the service a bit pricey. The price increases if you want to add an image or choose a larger potato.
Not Suitable for Serious Messages
Given its novelty nature, Potato Parcel isn’t the best medium for serious or heartfelt messages. It’s more suited to light-hearted, jovial communication.
No International Shipping
Currently, Potato Parcel only ships within the United States. This limitation could be a significant drawback for those wanting to send a potato parcel to friends or family overseas.
Who Should Use Potato Parcel?
In addition, Potato Parcel could also serve as a memorable promotional tool for businesses. By sending a message on a potato, companies can create a lasting impression and stand out from the crowd.
Despite its novelty nature, it’s important to note that Potato Parcel may not be suitable for serious or heartfelt messages. Also, while the service offers international shipping to countries like Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Australia, it might not be the best option for urgent or time-sensitive messages due to the delivery time.
Overall, Potato Parcel is a fun, unique service that’s perfect for anyone wanting to send a message that’s sure to be remembered. Whether you’re a jokester looking to pull off a memorable prank, a friend wanting to give a distinctive gift, or a business aiming to make an impact, Potato Parcel offers a unique way to communicate.
About the Founders Of Potato Parcel
In the year 2021, the United States witnessed the sale of nearly $ 4 billion worth of potatoes, clearly demonstrating a robust market for these humble, edible tubers. But what if these potatoes weren’t destined for consumption but rather for conveying greetings? Imagine a brilliant company pitching this unique concept on the popular entrepreneurial competition show, “Shark Tank”. This exact scenario unfolded in 2016 during Season 8, Episode 6 of the beloved investor pitch series.
The genesis of Potato Parcel dates back to 2015, attributed to its founder, Alex Craig. The spark of inspiration ignited when he stumbled upon an image depicting potatoes adorned with postage stamps, as reported by Shark Tank Blog.
Playing a pivotal role alongside Alex Craig in the Potato Parcel story is entrepreneur Riad Bekhit. Bekhit made a significant move by acquiring Alex Craig’s stake in the venture for a sum of $ 40,000. The core premise of Potato Parcel revolves around individuals paying to have their personalized messages inscribed on real potatoes, which are then dispatched to the designated recipient and address. The company’s official website boldly proclaims that this unique potato-based messaging service is “far more enjoyable than traditional greeting cards or floral arrangements”.
They made quite an entrance, donning costumes resembling potatoes, evoking a blend of amusement, chuckles, and a hint of bewilderment from the panel of esteemed sharks. In a captivating blend of performance art, demonstrations, and revelations about their remarkable sales figures, Craig and Bekhit initially captured the undivided attention of the billionaire sharks: Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec.
The Pitch Of Potato Parcel At Shark Tank
Two men, dressed in potato suits and sporting sunglasses, took center stage to face the Shark Tank panel. These individuals introduced themselves as Alex Craig and Riad Bekkit, shedding their shades for a serious pitch. Riad Bekhit initiated the presentation, seeking $ 50,000 in exchange for a 10% equity stake in their company . Alex Craig emphasized their intention to keep the pitch simple and even threw in a potato pun for good measure. Riad clarified that their company was Potato Parcel, specializing in sending personalized messages on real potatoes through the mail.
The Sharks had mixed reactions to this unique idea. Robert Herjavec requested a further explanation, prompting Alex to describe Potato Parcel as a novel way to send custom messages etched onto real potatoes. Mark Cuban humorously dubbed it “stupid on a stick”, to which Alex corrected, “actually stupid on a potato”. Daymond John, in jest, mistook their potato costumes for something else, generating laughter in the room. Kevin O’Leary cut to the chase, inquiring about the cost of having a message written on a potato.
Lori Greiner interjected, insisting on seeing product samples before discussing further. She expressed incredulity at the concept without visual reference. Robert delved into the packaging details, with Alex explaining that each potato was shipped in a bubble envelope accompanied by a small burlap sack. The entrepreneurs began distributing samples to the Sharks, leading to some humorous moments, such as Robert and Mark receiving potatoes adorned with their own images.
Kevin O’Leary’s potato featured his famous phrase, “There’s nothing proprietary about this”, adding to the comedic atmosphere. The Sharks probed the entrepreneurs on the cost of each potato, with Alex revealing that a standard message-bearing potato cost $ 9.99, while the “potato pal” with an image was priced at $ 14.99 . Lori expressed disbelief at these numbers. Robert seized the opportunity to show his enthusiasm by showcasing his potato pal.
Kevin inquired about the packaging, asking whether the potatoes were mailed in boxes or with stamps directly on them. Alex recounted how he initially attempted to mail the potatoes with stamps but was advised against it. Instead, they used envelopes to provide customers with a delightful surprise. The entrepreneurs then unveiled additional products, including a Halloween-themed orange potato, a sweet potato for Valentine’s Day, and potato ornaments for the winter holidays.
Mark queried the profitability of the venture, prompting Riad to reveal they had made $ 213,000 and were reinvesting it into the business. Mark and Kevin questioned this decision, wondering why they didn’t pocket the earnings. Riad explained that the reinvestment was intended to bolster inventory and scale operations. He emphasized that customers loved their product, frequently posting about it on social media, and they boasted a considerable base of repeat customers.
The Sharks inquired about the entrepreneurs’ day jobs, with Alex working at a mobile app agency in Texas and Riad dedicating himself full-time to Potato Parcel. Robert asked if they were equal partners, to which Alex disclosed that Riad owned 100% of the business. Alex had sold the Potato Parcel website to Riad for $ 42,000, with a contingency that granted him a dollar per potato sold during the first 60 days after the episode aired.
Kevin was intrigued by this arrangement, considering it “schmuck insurance”. Kevin proposed a deal: he would provide $ 50,000 for 10% equity but reduce Alex’s royalty to $ 0.50 per potato. Additionally, after the initial 60 days, he would continue taking a dollar per potato until $ 150,000 was recouped, and he would hire Riad for one of his companies. Robert offered $ 50,000 for 25% equity, expressing interest in the novelty and fun aspects of the business.
Lori deemed both offers unconventional, while Riad contemplated Robert’s offer but proposed a 17.5% equity stake. When asked about Kevin’s deal, he jokingly suggested giving both Kevin and Robert a dollar each from the potatoes sold. Riad sought clarification on the value each Shark would bring to the business.
Robert emphasized his multinational cybersecurity background but revealed his commitment to going full-time into the potato business. Kevin pledged to dedicate his every waking moment to the venture. Riad ultimately chose Kevin’s offer, as it aligned with their equity request, allowed Alex to retain his royalty, and presented a compelling partnership opportunity.
The deal was sealed with enthusiasm, and the Sharks congratulated the entrepreneurs. They hugged Kevin and celebrated their successful pitch. The outcome appeared promising, and the future of Potato Parcel seemed intriguing.
Potato Parcel After The Shark Tank
“Potato Parcel” continues to thrive even after six years. Back in 2018, Riyadh Bekhit shared with CNBC that the company had successfully distributed an additional 70,000 spuds since its appearance on “Shark Tank”, and its annual earnings surpassed the six-figure mark .
The originator of the Potato Parcel concept, Alex Craig, who held the title of the original “idea man” and chief potato decorator until he sold his shares to the current owner, Riad Bekhit, shared some valuable insights in a 2015 interview with WFFA-TV. He emphasized the importance of pursuing one’s dreams despite facing obstacles.
At the time, Craig was a promising 24-year-old app developer residing in North Texas before embarking on his unconventional potato venture. Interestingly, when he first disclosed his idea to his girlfriend, she famously dubbed it the “stupidest idea” she had ever encountered, expressing skepticism by declaring, “You will not sell a single potato”. Yet, a mere year later, Craig found himself on the “Shark Tank” stage alongside Bekhit, both dressed as potatoes, ultimately vindicating his audacious vision.
Furthermore, customers have the option to order a diverse array of non-tuberous gift items. Potato Parcel can transform your face into a design on socks, pillows, substantial Fathead-style stickers, and more. For those inclined toward mischief, Potato Parcel even presents a spring-loaded glitter bomb gift. You can find all these options conveniently on PotatoParcel.com.
Kevin O’Leary fondly reminisces about Potato Parcel as one of his preferred pitches, dubbing it “the finest presentation for the most peculiar product.” He acknowledges having reaped substantial profits from this particular deal.
In 2017, the year following their “Shark Tank” deal, NBA luminary Dirk Nowitzki, renowned for his tenure with the Dallas Mavericks , caused quite a stir on social media. He claimed to have received mysterious potato deliveries in the mail, a quirky occurrence that coincided with a significant milestone in his illustrious career.
Today, Potato Parcel has expanded its product offerings beyond potatoes, showcasing a diverse range of items on its website. Customers can now find an array of products, including stickers, T-shirts, and even a bachelorette party pack, catering to a wider audience. The company has garnered consistently positive reviews on its website and Facebook page, a testament to its understanding of its online customer base.
With a solid online presence and a knack for connecting with its audience, Potato Parcel has firmly established itself as an internet-savvy business. Despite facing competition in the market, its ability to adapt and diversify suggests that it is poised for continued success in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce.
The Net Worth Of Potato Parcel
This remarkable achievement marked a monumental success for the budding San Francisco entrepreneur, Riad Bekhit. At the time, Bekhit, who was just 28 years old and had acquired the company from its originator, Alex Craig, prior to their appearance on the hit show, had much to celebrate.
As of 2023, obtaining precise sales and revenue projections for Potato Parcel proves to be a challenge, as Insider Growth suggests an approximate worth of $ 1.75 million, though this figure remains unverified.
However, what we do have concrete information on is the company’s remarkable growth trajectory. By 2018, Potato Parcel had expanded its operations to include seven employees and had sold a substantial quantity of potatoes, exceeding 70,000 units.
This remarkable figure stood in stark contrast to the modest 12,000 potatoes sold during the company’s initial appearance on “Shark Tank”.
Alternatives To Potato Parcel:
- Edible Arrangements: They offer fruit arrangements and bouquets that can be customized with special messages or themes, providing a delicious and healthy gift option;
- Custom Greeting Cards: Companies like Moonpig or Shutterfly allow you to personalize greeting cards with messages, photos, and even videos. It’s a more traditional but heartfelt way to send your sentiments;
- Balloon Bouquets: Consider sending a bouquet of helium balloons with custom messages or designs. Balloon delivery services are available in many areas;
- Message Cookies: There are companies that specialize in baking and decorating cookies with personalized messages or images. It’s a sweet way to convey your thoughts;
- Message-in-a-Bottle: You can send a message sealed in a bottle, which adds an element of surprise and nostalgia to your gift;
- Online Flower Delivery: While not as unique as some other options, sending flowers with a heartfelt message is a classic choice for special occasions;
- Customized Gifts: Websites like Etsy offer a wide range of customized gifts, from engraved jewelry to personalized art, allowing you to find the perfect, unique gift for your recipient;
- Experience Gifts: Consider gifting experiences like spa days, cooking classes, or concert tickets. These create lasting memories and can be a thoughtful alternative;
- Video Messages: Send a personalized video message or greeting through platforms like Cameo or simply record and share a video message on social media;
- Virtual Events: Organize a virtual event or party, such as a virtual birthday party or anniversary celebration, where you can connect with loved ones online and share messages and memories ;
- What is the annual revenue of the Potato Parcel?
While the exact annual revenue of Potato Parcel is not publicly disclosed, it was reported that by 2020 they had made over $ 7 million in sales .
- How is Potato Parcel doing now?
As of 2023, there are no reported plans for Potato Parcel to diverge from its original business plan. The company continues to thrive and maintain its unique position in the market.
- How much did Kevin make on Potato Parcel?
The exact amount that Kevin O’Leary, one of the investors on Shark Tank, made on Potato Parcel is not publicly available.
- What was the worst deal on Shark Tank?
This is subjective and depends on how one defines “worst”. Some might consider a deal where the Sharks invested a lot of money but the company failed as the worst. Others might consider a deal where the entrepreneurs gave up a significant portion of their company for a small investment as the worst.
- Is Potato Parcel still in business?
Yes, Potato Parcel is still in business and going strong six years after its appearance on Shark Tank .
- Can I eat my Potato Parcel?
Potato Parcel advises against eating the potatoes they send as they are not meant for consumption. They are meant to be a novelty item, not a food product.
- Where does Potato Parcel ship from?
The exact location from where Potato Parcel ships its products around the USA is not publicly disclosed. However, they do not offer international shipping to various countries .
- How are potatoes shipped overseas?
In general, potatoes are shipped overseas in temperature-controlled containers to prevent spoilage. They are typically packed in bags or boxes and loaded onto shipping pallets.
Useful Video: Potato Parcel Pitch – Shark Tank