Mom And Daughter Had A Bright Idea; Now Wal-Mart Will Sell Their Invention

By Danielle Ames
The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A California teenager and her mother who appeared together on “Shark Tank” are finding steady sales and an expanded audience for their invention, a self-acupressure device.

The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)

Continuing on their path of steady success, local entrepreneurs Andrea Cao, 15, and her mother, Hong Cao, struck a deal with Wal-Mart to stock their product, the Q-Flex, in stores in five states.

The Q-Flex is a self-acupressure device designed so users can easily apply pressure to areas of the body that are difficult to reach.

Andrea, a San Luis Obispo High School sophomore, and her mother created the Q-Flex in 2014. The mother-daughter duo gained exposure from launching the product on “Shark Tank,” a reality TV series where budding entrepreneurs present their ideas to industry experts in hopes of persuading them to invest in their products.

The Q-Flex has sold more than 100,000 units and exceeded $1 million in sales to date.

With guidance from the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Small Business Development Center and mentor Joe O’Connor, Andrea said they set their hopes on getting the Q-Flex into Wal-Mart, a step she thought would “take the product to the next level.”

In June, the Caos were approached by a representative of, who invited them to a Wal-Mart manufacturing supplier summit at the headquarters in Arkansas later that month, and provided them with a vendor number. Unbeknownst to the representative who contacted them, the pair was already planning on attending the summit, which was focused on U.S.-made products.

They met with three different Wal-Mart departments at the summit, two of which were very interested in the product, Andrea said.

The Caos were asked to return with “refined retail packaging that would catch a customer’s eye and provide consumer education.” After working with a design team to create the packaging, the pair returned to Arkansas and reached an agreement with the Health and Wellness Department for the Q-Flex to appear in stores for the holiday season.

The product will be carried at four distribution centers in five West Coast states, a total of about 350 stores, including the Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande locations. The Q-Flex is slated to appear on shelves in mid-November and launch on around the same time. It will be sold for $19.88 in Wal-Mart stores.

Andrea said she and her mother were overjoyed that Wal-Mart picked up the product.

How well the product sells over the holidays will determine expansion plans within Wal-Mart.

The product is currently sold in Brookstone stores, on Amazon and on their website ( Andrea and Hong are working to design additional products, such as sports recovery and massage tools.

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