Company: The Cut Buddy
Founder: Joshua Esnard
Season: Appeared on season 9 in the week 7 episode
The Cut Buddy is a hair and beard shaping tool that turns anyone into an at-home barber. The curved template stencil, when paired with a clipper or razor, helps prevent “grooming errors” when giving your hair or beard a trim.
According to their website, the tool, which costs $14.95, “works in conjunction with hair clippers, hair fiber, detailers, outliners, disposable razors or a straight razor” to create smoother hairlines. They also offer a barber pencil at $7.45.
When Esnard originally appeared on “Shark Tank,” he came in asking for $300,000 for 10 percent equity. Kevin O’Leary liked the product and was the first shark to make an offer at $300,000 with a $1.50 royalty until $1 million is repaid for five percent equity. Daymond John also offered $300,000 for 20 percent, despite some hesitation. Esnard countered John at 12.5 percent equity, but he ultimately accepted his initial offer when John declined the counteroffer.
Esnard spoke with Business 2 Community about The Cut Buddy’s experience on the show and what their next steps are. Take a look at the Q&A below:
Q&A with The Cut Buddy’s Founder Joshua Esnard
What was your strategy for navigating “Shark Tank”?
Whew, it was a whirlwind! With having my son due any day during that week and having to be three time zones away from my fiance, I was an emotional wreck. It felt like every moment my mind was on my son and my fiance so it was actually really difficult to focus. When it came to really getting to it, I used the music of Dipset to help me get my mind right and I actually tried to not be overly prepared. I knew the numbers about my company that I needed to know so it was just about seeing how the Sharks reacted.
I knew I had a winner. I had a feeling I would get numerous offers and when I did from Mr. Wonderful and Daymond John, I went with my gut and chose Daymond. It was an unforgettable experience and I’m very thankful to the Sharks for the opportunity to pitch my company to them and thank you to Joey Tomaselli and Drew Gavin for being fantastic models as part of my pitch. I couldn’t be more excited to be partnered with Daymond and his team!
How has The Cut Buddy changed since the episode was first recorded? Since it aired?
There have been HUGE changes! We’ve really felt a windfall from more and more people knowing about the product and seeing how much it could help them on a daily basis. As of two months ago, we’ve officially sold over 100,000 units in just over two years of operation, which is beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined. We’ve also partnered with grooming giant Andis Clipper, Co. on a nationwide licensing deal! The Cut Buddy will be packaged with an Andis clipper in retail locations across the country, including at Walmart, Sally’s and Target.
We’re starting to get in a great place in retail for The Cut Buddy product, too. Since the show aired, The Cut Buddy is now carried nationally in T.J. Maxx, Burlington, Zulily and Touch of Modern, along with being available for in-store pickup at Target and Walmart. We’re also really excited to have partnered with Birchbox Men to be a part of their Movember Survival Kit arriving this November so make sure you sign up for that if you haven’t yet.
Is there anything you would have changed about your time spent in the tank, including your pitch and valuation?
No way, I couldn’t have been happier with how it played out. We’re so excited to be working with Daymond John, who has always been a business idol of mine. This has been a dream come true.
Who’s your favorite shark?
Robert Herjavec… SIKE! Is this a trick question? Daymond John, obviously.
Do you think “Shark Tank” was the right move for your business?
Definitely. If you would’ve told me two years ago when my company first started that we’d be working with Daymond John and in all these retail and licensing situations, I would’ve passed out. I already felt like a success but being able to partner with Daymond is beyond anything I ever would’ve dreamed of. Dreams do come true.
What are The Cut Buddy’s next steps?
We’ve got an exciting offer we’re going to unveil very soon! I won’t spoil that yet. Expanding our retail presence is a huge priority just so it can always be easy for anyone—no matter where they live—to find The Cut Buddy in stores close to them. Honestly, there’s so much going on that I’m forgetting right now so I hope that shows how fast everything is still moving for us [laughs].
Where do you see this industry in 5-10 years?
It’s going to be gigantic and The Cut Buddy is going to be the Coca-Cola of the market. A trusted brand name.
My product is the first beard and haircut template to be patented and the only one with multiple curves. We’ve sold over 100,000 in two years and people are still just starting to catch on. As more and more people realize how easy it is to have a great looking beard or haircut every day from home and learn to trust our product to eliminate their grooming errors, the grooming template industry will explode. With The Cut Buddy, there’s no longer any excuse to not have a great barber-quality beard or haircut every day when you step out the door.
We deal with a lot of knockoffs and copycats now and we’ve succeeded against all of them legally so if you’re thinking of jumping in the ring, I hope you’re ready for a fight!
What would you say to people who want to start their own business?
Anything is possible these days! Keep a journal of all of your ideas to make sure you never lose them. I created the first Cut Buddy when I was only 13 years old and didn’t end up patenting and releasing the product until I was 28. Fifteen years of sitting on a pot of gold. Always, always, always keep track of your ideas. Remember though, execution of your ideas is just as important as the idea itself.
Another big thing I’d like to emphasize is the importance of who you work with and add to your team. I’m forever grateful to Pima Mbwana and Alex Kresovich for their help in building up this company and it wouldn’t be nearly as big as what it is without them. Find people who don’t get bothered by the word “No” and only work harder when they run into one to find a “Yes.”
Lastly, never be afraid to look for a mentor or ask for help. I’m super thankful for my mentor, Alfred Edmonds, and all the wonderful lessons he’s taught me.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to make it on “Shark Tank”?
It’s not easy, we were lucky that they found us and reached out to us due to our press coverage for going viral. They have auditions all over the country so if you’ve got a great idea you can get onto the show. Make sure you’re professional, on top of your game and have something the world needs. They want to see potential and they want to see that it’s patented if it’s a new idea. Take a risk and believe in yourself and your ideas. If I can do it, anyone can.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of the ride and supported me and my idea. I’m so lucky and thankful for how all of this has played out. Everyone who’s bought The Cut Buddy is a part of the family to me. Thank you again to Alfred Edmonds for being such a wonderful mentor to me.
I’d like to thank my two business partners, Pima Mbwana and Alex Kresovich. Also, watch out for the new Panic! at the Disco album “Pray for the Wicked” dropping on June 22. I have a feeling “King of the Clouds” is going to be one of the best songs of the year… Dipset all day.
Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length