Tough Negotiating on Shark Tank Gets Philly Company a Deal With Barbara Corcoran

"Every couple seconds we get a new order or email."
Jess Edelstein (left) and Sarah Ribner of Piperwai in the Shark Tank. (ABC/Michael Desmond)

Jess Edelstein (left) and Sarah Ribner of Piperwai in the Shark Tank. (ABC/Michael Desmond)

For a second there, it appeared like Philly entrepreneurs Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner were out of luck on Shark Tank last night. Now they’ve got a millionaire business partner and have seen sales skyrocket after the show aired.

Ribner and Edelstein own natural deodorant company PiperWai which they argue is much better than Tom’s or other brands because it uses charcoal, which is super-absorbant and not harmful to sensitive skin. It’s made with natural ingredients like coconut oil, rosewater, shea and essential oils. They say customers are raving about how it keeps you stink-free all day (something Be Well Philly called a “miracle” when they tried it out.)

Team PiperWai entered the Shark Tank looking for a $50,000 investment for a 10 percent stake in the business. Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec weren’t buying the business plan and bowed out. Barbara Corcoran wanted 33 percent for a $50,000 investment so she could have an equal partnership. Lori Greiner got greedier, asking for 35 percent in exchange for $50,000.

But the Philly entrepreneurs didn’t cave. Instead they asked Lori then Barbara if they would move to 25 percent instead. They both declined. But then they asked Barbara again — and in a very un-Shark-Tank-like move, she accepted the deal. That surprised her other ultra-rich cohorts.

“I did it purely out of my gut and I wanted to beat Lori — and that’s the God’s honest truth,” said Barbara to a shocked Shark Tank panel.

The Shark Tank Bump

Once the episode aired, all hell broke loose for PiperWai. I caught up with Edelstein Saturday afternoon and she said she only got three hours of sleep last night.

“Things are crazy right now. My phone has been blowing up all night,” she said. “Every couple seconds we get a new order or email.”

Chew on these numbers:

  • 100,000: The number of visitors to the PiperWai website in the 18 hours or so since show aired.
  • 20,000: Jars sold in the first two hours — before the West Coast version even aired.
  • Quadrupled: After appearing on Shark Tank, the company quadrupled all of its revenues since its inception nearly two years ago.

It’s important to note that PiperWai and Corcoran have not finalized their deal and remain in the due diligence process — which can often take months.

To quell the barrage of questions, PiperWai put a Frequently Asked Questions section on its Facebook page and plan to send out an email to customers saying the product will be backordered for a couple of weeks.

But the No. 1 plan is to create a stick applicator so users don’t have to rub the product into their armpits with their fingers. They’re also increasing production as soon as possible.

Across the country, Edelstein and Ribner may be best known most for their skillful negotiating with the sharks.

“It’s funny everyone on social media is applauding us for standing our ground. They’re even using #standyourground,” said Edelstein. “We were doing what made sense for our business and didn’t feel like it took any specific guts or bravery. We got the deal we wanted and did what we had to do to get it.”

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