In today’s world, you can get just about anything delivered to your front door: food, clothes, laundry — even grass.
When we think of necessities for living in a bustling city, grass probably isn’t the first to come to mind. But when you’re a dog owner with a choice between having a smelly pee pad in your home and laying down a patch of real grass as a training pad — the latter might be more desirable.
Andrew Feld, the founder of Fresh Patch, saw the need for better training methods for dog owners who don’t have backyards. In 2010, he started Fresh Patch — an online delivery service that offers all-natural grass training pads that are dirt-free and fully disposable. Since dogs naturally gravitate toward grass, this makes housetraining seamless for the owner.
To gain capital for his business, Feld took Fresh Patch to “Shark Tank,” seeking $150,000 for a 10% stake.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” Feld said. “I was fortunate enough to get a chance to pitch in front of the Sharks, so I made sure I was prepared to answer any question they might fire at me. At the end of the day, I sell grass in a box for dogs to go to the bathroom on. I’m lucky that the Sharks didn’t rip me to shreds.”
Instead, the Sharks were supportive. After learning that Fresh Patch made more than $1 million in sales, the investors were stunned.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Barbara Corcoran said.
“It’s all online,” Feld added. “We’re direct to the customer.”
“That’s even better,” Mark Cuban said.
The investors also saw the potential for East Coast customers. Places like New York City can be difficult for dog owners, and Fresh Patch offers an alternative for these people to housetrain without the hassle.
“Do you know why everybody’s going to buy this in a store? Because everybody who has a pet in the city feels guilty,” Corcoran said. “If they could bring a nice slab of green grass home to the dog they’re ignoring and not ever taking to the park … they’re going to feel so good. It’s a feel-good product more than it is a productive product for helping the dog.”
Nine years after its launch, Feld said Fresh Patch is doing better than ever.
“We get thank you cards and emails all the time from our customers,” Feld said. “Clients who wouldn’t be able to keep their pets without Fresh Patch in their homes. It makes me happy knowing I created a product that is helping people and their pets.”
Find out if Fresh Patch locked down a deal on “Shark Tank,” Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CNBC.