Nature's Wild Berry After Shark Tank: We Caught Up With The Founders

Picture this: biting into a lemon only to taste the sweet flavor of lemonade, or sipping apple cider vinegar that tastes like refreshing apple juice. This is the magic of Nature's Wild Berry, as co-founders Hank Watt and Juliano Bonanni demonstrated on the popular television show, "Shark Tank." Their incredible innovation caught the attention of sharks Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, leading to a game-changing deal for their company.

The magic of this unique fruit unfolds when you eat two of these dried ledidi berries, allowing their pulp to coat your tongue. The result is an extraordinary taste transformation: Any food or drink you consume thereafter tastes significantly sweeter. This means that otherwise acidic or bitter drinks, such as apple cider vinegar, morph into something that tastes akin to juice or even something more delightful. Drinks that are already deliciously sweet, like Riesling or Moscato, are enhanced to taste even better.

Nature's Wild Berry is not merely a taste enhancer but a flavor unlocker. It reveals flavors you never knew existed and provides a fresh lens through which to experience food. Just like salt or pepper can shift the taste profile of your favorite dishes, Nature's Wild Berry offers a similar, albeit more magical, culinary transformation. This is a taste revolution in a berry, and its potential seems boundless — so it's no wonder they impressed on "Shark Tank." Tasting Table caught up with Hank and Juliano to learn more about their journey, product, and impact on Nature's Wild Berry after their swim with the sharks.

Applying for 'Shark Tank' began in 2018

When approaching a challenge as daunting as pitching on "Shark Tank," it helps to be an actual fan of the show. This familiarity not only equips you with a viewer's perspective but also allows you to derive a unique, personalized experience from the process. This was the exact experience recounted by the Nature's Wild Berry co-founders, who started applying for the show in 2018. As regular followers of the show, Hank and Juliano possessed an understanding of what the journey might look like from an outsider's view.

But the actual experience — the walk down that intimidating hallway, negotiating with the formidable sharks, and feeling the ripple effects of the "Shark Tank" effect — proved to be an entirely new ballgame. It was steeped in adrenaline, anticipation, and ultimately, profound change.

After filming, they found themselves in an unusual situation, holding within them an earth-shattering, business-transforming secret that they were compelled to keep under wraps until the show aired — roughly six months. The dichotomy was tough; they had undergone a monumental shift within their business journey and yet were unable to share it with the world. They described these quiet months as difficult, given the significant influence the entire episode had on their entrepreneurial journey.

The Shark Tank crew is incredibly supportive

Juliano and Hank, like many guests, had watched the show countless times before stepping onto the stage themselves. However, like most viewers, they were blissfully unaware of the incredible support and care provided by the show's crew. From the meticulous setting up of the set to providing last-minute essentials such as a bottle of water, the crew catered to their needs with remarkable ease and attentiveness.

Indeed, behind the scenes, every business owner is treated with the same level of respect and deference accorded to the stars of the show. This level of attention is not accidental. Rather, it reflects the fact that "Shark Tank" thrives on the courage and innovation of business owners from all walks of life who dare to step into the intimidating arena.

Despite being fans of the show prior to appearing, Hank and Juliano's appreciation for the program grew even more after their personal experience. They gained a new-found respect for the unseen elements — particularly the tireless work and meticulous attention to detail of the crew members and their dedication to creating an environment that, despite the high stakes, still managed to be nurturing and supportive. The behind-the-scenes magic left a lasting impression on the co-founders, amplifying their admiration for a show they already loved.

Hank pulled Mark into the deal

As viewers of "Shark Tank" witness the climax of Hank and Juliano's pitch, there's a pivotal moment worth noting. Lori Greiner, one of the sharks, subtly signals to her fellow shark Mark Cuban, hinting at a potential collaboration with Nature's Wild Berry. Yet, before Mark could even affirm his participation, Hank preemptively exclaims they have a deal. It's only after this exclamation that Mark consents to the terms, finally sealing the agreement.

Reflecting on this moment, Hank and Juliano describe it as nothing short of magical. It wasn't just a business deal being struck — it was the fruition of their dreams, the culmination of countless hours of work, planning, and ambition. In this fleeting yet profound moment, it felt as if all their hopes tied to the show, and the anticipated outcome of their pitch, were materializing right before their eyes.

This was not just another milestone in their entrepreneurial journey, but a powerful instance where reality seemed to align with their dreams, amplifying their belief in the potential of Nature's Wild Berry. It was a moment where possibility met reality, forever etching this magical moment into their business' history.

Lori and Mark are Nature's Wild Berry's dream team

Hank and Juliano spoke highly of all the sharks who listened to their pitch, appreciating the invaluable feedback and the opportunity to share their vision with such esteemed industry veterans. However, they had walked into the "Shark Tank" with a dream team in mind: Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban. This pair resonated with them for their distinct yet complementary skill sets.

Cuban, with a successful track record of investing in food companies, brought with him deep insights into the industry dynamics. Greiner, on the other hand, is celebrated as the undisputed queen of sales, her prowess promising a robust market presence. The co-founders recognized that the combined strengths of these two Sharks could catalyze their path to success.

Despite this, they confessed to a tinge of disappointment when Barbara Corcoran withdrew herself as a potential investor. Throughout their pitch, she displayed genuine kindness and consideration, creating a personal connection. Her grace and empathy had struck a chord, leading both Hank and Juliano to envision the potential benefits of her partnership. Despite the final successful outcome, they remained candid about their initial excitement to possibly work with Barbara and their ensuing disappointment at her withdrawal.

Memorization of stats and figures is so important

In the unforgiving arena of "Shark Tank" where every word counts and every gesture is scrutinized, meticulous preparation is paramount. One key aspect that demands unflinching attention is the memorization of statistics and figures. Juliano shared the exhaustive preparation leading up to the show, where he dove deep into every conceivable data point and metric related to their business, committing them to memory.

These stats and figures aren't mere numbers; they are a measure of the entrepreneurs' understanding of their business and industry. They delineate the thin line between appearing knowledgeable and looking unprepared. As Hank and Juliano articulate, once someone experiences their magic berry, it almost sells itself. Yet, convincing investors is a different ballgame altogether. Being able to articulate the potential market size, financials, and growth prospects with concrete numbers is essential.

For the co-founders of Nature's Wild Berry, providing a clear and compelling picture of the financial landscape became an integral part of securing a deal. It was not just about showcasing a unique product, but also about demonstrating a strong grasp of the business metrics – a testament to their readiness to navigate the competitive marketplace. This thoroughness, they believed, played a pivotal role in landing their dream deal.

Nature's Wild Berry strives to help people enjoy food again

When you first hear of Nature's Wild Berry, it's easy to appreciate its immediate benefit: transforming the taste of less appetizing yet nutritious foods into something delectably enjoyable. Hank's personal anecdote, wherein he lost significant weight by incorporating healthy foods that tasted wonderful with the help of the berry, makes this clear.

Yet the berry's potential extends beyond this obvious function. As Hank and Juliano explain, the berry acts as a magical key, unlocking an array of flavors previously unimagined. It doesn't merely make unpalatable foods tasty; it accentuates and transforms the flavors of foods you already relish. Imagine the joy of biting into a raspberry or a pomegranate, and discovering layers of taste you've never savored before. Foods you've loved all along suddenly taste better, bursting with flavors that seem novel yet pleasantly familiar.

Furthermore, the magic berry has shown the potential in enhancing the eating experience for those unable to enjoy food due to certain conditions. Juliano shared heartening narratives of the berry aiding chemotherapy patients in regaining their ability to taste food or helping individuals with ALS to stomach the taste of their medication.

Nature's Wild Berry sold out of stock in 10 minutes

Mark and Juliano were both utterly unprepared for the tidal wave that was the "Shark Tank" effect. Following their filming and prior to the airing of the show, the duo had launched a new product which had performed exceedingly well. As a result, they optimistically anticipated that the Shark Tank impact would be marginally more beneficial. Little did they realize that their expectations were a far cry from the actual outcome.

Once the show aired, Nature's Wild Berry saw an explosive demand — the entire stock was sold out within 10 minutes of being on television and led to a 30-day backorder. This surge led to an intense period of hustling, as the duo grappled with the challenge of restocking while managing the skyrocketing interest in their product. It took over a month of relentless effort for them to finally resurface and establish a steady supply of their sought-after berries.

This surge in sales, while undeniably beneficial for any business, is not to be underestimated. It brings with it a unique set of challenges that require foresight and robust planning. The "Shark Tank" effect, therefore, serves as a reminder to prospective entrepreneurs that while the show can provide an immense boost to their business, it's crucial to be adequately prepared for the whirlwind that follows.