Joe Marusak The Charlotte Observer
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) There's big business in selling gnomes! Who knew? So much so, entrepreneur Wendy Hoffmeister jumped into the Shark Tank Friday night to try and land a deal for her budding business.
Charlotte entrepreneur Wendy Hoffmeister and her loveable gnomes landed a deal on ABC’s “Shark Tank” special holiday episode on Friday night.
Dressed like a gnome with a white beard and tall, light-blue, cone-shaped hat, Hoffmeister chose an investment offer from “shark” Daymond John, founder of hip hop apparel company FUBU.
She agreed to John’s offer of a $200,000 investment for 30% equity in her Wendy’s Gnome Shop business.
She had to decide between John’s offer and “shark” Barbara Corcoran’s similar offer.
Hoffmeister told the panel she started her business a year and a half ago, generating about $688,000 in annual sales.
She’s sold 23,000 gnomes for an average price of $35, she said. Materials cost her $3.50 per gnome, she said.
She has four employees, all women, including her daughter, who also dressed as a gnome and appeared on the show.
Hoffmeister charmed the “sharks” with her pitch to the panel.
“We could all use a little more joy in our life, so I created Wendy’s Gnome Shop,” she told the “sharks.” explaining that buyers display the gnomes in and around their homes. “And gnomes need homes,” she said. “They’re for all types of occasions,” Hoffmeister said. “They make the perfect gift to put a smile on someone’s face all year long.”
“We have pre-made birthday gnomes, graduation gnomes, sports-themed gnomes and, of course, gnomes for every holiday,” she said.
Panel members laughed when Hoffmeister then said: “At Wendy’s Gnome Shop, we love hangin’ with the gnomees.”
She also mentioned how the business has a custom option, where customers design their gnomes.
“Now, throughout history, gnomes have been known for good luck and prosperity, so sharks, who wants to prosper and put a gnome in every home with Wendy’s Gnome Shop?”
“I don’t even know what a gnome is,” Corcoran said, probably shocking most viewers, especially fans of gnome creator Tom Clark and his longtime Davidson gnomes shop that closed in 2012. “What do people use these for?”
“Just around their home to make them smile,” Hoffmeister graciously replied before Corcoran and John entered a bidding war for a slice of her business.
Other Charlotte-area businesses have landed deals on past episodes of the show.
In November, the Mooresville makers of a line of eco-friendly laundry products landed an investment deal on the show.
A month earlier, the sharks went hook, line and sinker for Charlotte entrepreneurs’ Bo Haaber and Rasmus Barfred’s THEMAGIC5 swimming goggles.
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