The company got 10,000 emails in two days, and the orders just kept coming. Lazzari says they didn’t have customer service staff so it took four to six weeks to fill orders.
“I worked from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. every single day for six weeks straight,” Lazzari says. “I literally didn’t go outside while it was light out for two months after the show aired.”
Learning on the fly
Most “Shark Tank” businesses have a spike that almost entirely drops off again, but it was different for Simple Sugars.
Lazzari says the company is built around repeat customers, and making sure people become lifetime customers is something she’s always focused on.
Instead of bottoming out, Simple Sugars leveled off with its online orders before starting to build again. Even today, keeping up with demand is the biggest challenge.
As for Lazzari herself, she was in a completely different position when it came to management.
“I was doing a lot of the day-to-day stuff myself prior to the show,” she says. “I handled all of our customer service before the show, and then obviously one person can’t answer 10,000 emails by themselves so I had to hire a whole customer service department.”
Lazzari went from managing two employees who worked a total of 20 hours a week to managing 25 people within three days.
“I was learning stuff as fast as I possibly could because it was happening so quickly, and that was really the only choice I had,” she says.
For example, about six weeks after the original episode aired, Lazzari found out a company calling itself Simply Sugar was pretending to be her company.
She also had help from Cuban and his team for infrastructure and process changes like adding an inventory system.
Whether you are on a TV show or something small in the day-to-day, Lazzari says she’s discovered there are always going to be problems.
“I think the most important thing is to realize that you just have to start working and you’ll get it done,” she says. “But you can’t start stressing out about all the things that are going wrong or all the things that you’re not going to be able to do.”
When something seems impossible, worrying and stressing about it is actually the most unproductive thing you can do, Lazzari says. It just puts your further away from your goal.
Apart from the competition
Today, Lazzari uses her story to set Simple Sugars apart from its competitors in the cosmetics and personal care industry, and the company continues to get a boost when the episode re-airs or “Shark Tank” provides an update.
She also markets the products in a unique way, which helps the business continue to grow.
Most scrubs are positioned as something you’d use as an add-on to your skincare routine, Lazzari says, but Simple Sugars positions its products as the entire skincare routine — cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize in one step.
“That’s something that would be very, very hard for one of our competitors to copy,” she says. “Most of our competitors are a skincare line that have a cleanser and a scrub and a lotion and a toner, and all of these steps, so they wouldn’t want to try to take our marketing message because it would then also detract from their brand.”
And in order to meet the continued demand, Simple Sugars just moved to a new location — going from 1,700 square feet to 10,000.
“I think it’s even more exciting to me now, post “Shark Tank,” than it was before,” Lazzari says. “It’s been, without a doubt, the craziest, most stressful thing I’ve ever had to go through in my entire life. It’s also been the most fun thing I’ve ever done and the most exciting thing I’ve ever done, so it’s really been an amazing experience.”