For years, the company of Rashid Mahdi and Intisar Bashir went unnoticed.
The husband-and-wife duo launched Cleveland-based Browndages in 2018, which sells a wide range of bandages in skin tones. On Friday’s episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” the co-founders said sales were initially slow, until June. 2020, when Black Lives Matter protests spread across the US.
Consumers began looking for black-owned small businesses. Suddenly, Browndages had visibility. During that month, Mahdi and Bashir said, they generated roughly $130,000 in revenue in just six days.
Now, add another achievement to the list: On Friday’s episode, the couple secured a $100,000 investment, along with a $75,000 line of credit, from the trio of Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, and Daymond John. Cuban even added a sweetener to the deal: He told Mahdi and Bashir that he could get the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, which he owns, to wear and distribute the bandages themselves.
That, Cuban said, could have a ripple effect, helping the brand “spread across multiple communities, so everyone can feel represented.” For example, the Mavericks “partner with schools all over [Dallas]she said, noting that nurses at those schools could also distribute the Browndages bandages.
That kind of business savvy is exactly what Mahdi and Bashir hoped to achieve on the show. The pair said their sudden popularity in June 2020 was a double-edged sword: They sold out, but had trouble keeping up with inventory and couldn’t replenish their stock for the next six months. They asked the Sharks for help with distribution and marketing, with the goal of expanding to more hospitals, schools, and big box stores.
The Sharks asked Mahdi and Bashir how Browndages intended to keep up with bigger bandage brands like Band-Aids. Bashir cited competitive pricing as a way to gain an advantage: Browndage paper boxes retailed for $3.99 each and were only 63 cents. The duo also talked about promising to build a legacy for their children to cherish.
“We wanted to instill in our children and show them that even a product as small as a bandage should take this into account,” Bashir said.
Bashir and Mahdi asked for $75,000 in investment money, in exchange for 7.5% of their company. Robert Herjavec refused, saying that the scale of the Browndages competition was insurmountable. Kevin O’Leary jumped in quickly, offering $75,000 and the opportunity to network with larger companies for 15% equity.
That started a bidding war, in which Cuban, Greiner and John struck a joint deal of $100,000 for 30% of the stock. John and Cuban said their industry connections — Cuban with the Mavericks and John with the Coogi and Fubu clothing brands — could help expand the Browndages brand. Greiner said he could help bring Browndages to retail stores.
Mahdi and Bashir responded, asking if Cuban, Daymond and Greiner would be willing to drop to 7.5% each. Cuban said they still wanted the 30% but would add a line of credit. O’Leary, apparently growing restless, matched the trio’s offer of $100,000.
Returning to the trio, the businessmen asked if the three Sharks would be willing to divide 25% of the capital. Cuban, Daymond and Greiner accepted. O’Leary congratulated the duo and noted some surprise that they did not accept his offer.
“I can’t even fathom at this point exactly what this means and what it’s going to do for us to have Mark, Lori and Damon on the Browndage team,” Bashir said. “But I just hope that things get better and that we continue to grow and leave an even bigger legacy for our children.”
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”
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