There’s a market for everything. If you’ve ever met Kayla Roof or watched one of her training videos, you know that her energy and passion are contagious. The whole world got to see this side of her when she appeared on Shark Tank in December to pitch a product that captures a growing trend.
Roof joined business partners William and his wife Summer (he is also Kayla’s cousin), to showcase a quirky, kind-of-gross-but-kind-of-fascinating-product called Pop it Pal. The presentation went so well that the trio got a deal with Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary.
A brilliant idea
As you can imagine, the timeline of product conception to reality to Shark Tank appearance was not an overnight process. You may have even seen or heard about Pop it Pal last year, but the product launch wasn’t the beginning.
“My cousin and his wife love watching those pimple popping videos on YouTube. One day Summer said, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we could make a fake pimple that popped like those videos we watch?’ Then, William got to work trying to create it and Pop it Pal was born. What a great husband,” Roof said.
The process of idea to prototype took about two years. And when they were ready to launch earlier this year, business exploded. “Within one week of launching our product, we went viral and were featured on every major online publication. We were shocked!” she said. Their homemade, simple video was uploaded to Facebook, and within a few days, they had 1,000 shares.
Then Roof used her expertise of Facebook ads, and things just kept growing. They were featured on Buzzfeed, LADbible, Yahoo, Business Insider, and Cosmopolitan within another week. “By the second month, we had sold over 10,000 units. We only had 20 units in stock when we uploaded that first video. Everyone was working around the clock to get them made,” Roof explained.
Shark Tank success
Shortly after their “overnight” success, Shark Tank producers reached out and asked if they had thought about applying for the show. “At that point, we had never even thought about it. Quite frankly, we were just trying to figure out how to get all of these orders fulfilled,” Roof admitted. But then they decided to go for it. After a few months, they were told they had advanced to the next round of selection.
Prepping for Shark Tank was tough. They watched the show a lot and used their day-to-day business operations to help figure out their pitch. “We’ve been writing a ton of copy for our Facebook ads and website, so writing the pitch was easy to do. We wanted to make sure we included all of the features and benefits of Pop it Pal but also have a little fun with it!” she said.
They were also working through manufacturing and profit margins, so they prepped as much as possible given the timeframe and attempts to meet the market’s demands.
Roof admits she was nervous when they walked into the room full of sharks. “But I also took a moment to reflect on just how extremely grateful we were to have gotten this far. It was truly an amazing experience.”
More unique challenges
As you can imagine, launching a business as a military spouse has brought some unique challenges. Roof herself runs the Work From Anywhere Business Academy, offering free classes and resources online. She is also a mother.
Since she moves at the whim of the military, Roof and her cousins don’t live in the same state.
“Communication is essential. We text all day, every day to ensure everyone knows what’s going on,” she said about working across geographic boundaries. “We also divided up responsibilities very well so that we know who is in charge of what. We never dreamed we’d be running this big of a business so quickly. We’re incredibly grateful for all the success we’ve had this year.”
She also continues to balance her entrepreneurial success with the demands of her service member’s career.
“Out of the last three trips I’ve taken for business, my husband has been called out to sea at the same time,” she said. Spouses everywhere are nodding their head in understanding. This Shark Tank trip happened over the summer, while the kids were out of school. And, you guessed it, her husband was called out to sea.
“This trip was extremely last minute so we had to call upon the help of relatives for part of the trip and a nanny we could count on for the other days,” Roof said.
As Roof and her partners move forward with the support of their shark, they’re ready to keep working hard. “Pop it Pal now has the resources we need for full distribution,” she said, which was one of their biggest obstacle with growing so quickly. “Our biggest issue has been meeting supply worldwide, and now we can do that. We’re also ready to come out with our next unique obsession.”
Visit https://popitpal.com to learn more about ordering Pop it Pal products.
If you are a military spouse looking for resources on entrepreneurship, go to Kayla Roof’s website to learn more about how she can assist you.Read comments