For Shark Tank fans, Trina Barkouras’ ‘Hoppy Paws’ was among the most memorable of Christmas-themed products to appear on the program. It wasn’t so much the idea — a stamping kit that helps parents create hoof prints from Santa’s reindeer — as Hoppy Paws’ highly motivated entrepreneur.
She conceived “Hoppy Paws”, built a prototype, designed a trade show booth and appeared on Shark Tank — all within 90 days. As Inc. reported after the episode’s summer rebroadcast, it was enough for Mark Cuban to exclaim, “You are not allowed to call yourself Trina anymore. I have rechristened you, ‘The Beast!'”
‘The Beast’ eventually got an on-air offer from Barbara Corcoran of $100,000 for 50 percent of Hoppy Paws. Barkouras suggested $100,000 for 49 percent — keeping her majority stake — to which Corcoran agreed, as long as the two were 50-50 partners on Barkouras’ next five ideas. Shortly after the episode aired last December, Barkouras told Corona Del Mar Today she was happy to be partnered with Corcoran. Likewise, when the episode re-aired in September, Corcoran tweeted out some words of support for the Hoppy Paws founder.
— Barbara Corcoran (@BarbaraCorcoran) September 9, 2015
Now, just in time for Christmas 2015, Hoppy Paws is launching a new product, but with a twist. They’ve added Santa’s Boots to their line of offerings though instead of just putting up the new kit for sale, they’re going to Kickstarter. The 30-day campaign has a modest goal of $3,500, and backers receive the first sets of boots kits. Hoppy Paws must have a side deal with Santa Claus, because generous backers get a Skype session with the man himself. The Kickstarter campaign runs until December 6, 2015.
If the company’s other Christmas kit — the reindeer tracks — were a success, the Santa boots would seem destined to do just as well. Last year, Barkouras told Heavy how the tracks provide real evidence of Santa’s visit, something that can cure cynical young minds.
“[The parents] tell us that the surprise and excitement of the kids is what will keep them coming back for more. In this day and age kids stop believing at such an early age. Our products make their holiday icons real by providing proof of a visit by Santa and his reindeer, the Easter Bunny the Tooth Fairy and many, more.”
It’s an influence Barkouras has seen firsthand, as the idea started two decades ago when her children were young. Corcoran revealed during the Shark Tank episode that she, too, used to put out tracks at Christmas for her own children.
Barkouras got on Shark Tank by attending an open casting call in San Diego. Although she did leave Shark Tank with a deal, she told Heavy pitching to the investors is not as easy as it looks.
“It’s not for the weak. The actual interview can last anywhere from 45 minutes to one-and-a-half hours and is edited down to what you see on TV. The questions fly at you very fast so you need to be prepared, have all of your facts and articulate your points. It’s definitely called the ‘Shark Tank’ for a reason.”
There have yet to be any Christmas-themed products on this season of Shark Tank, but viewers can expect that as the holidays grow closer, the seasonal pitches will begin to appear.
Shark Tank airs Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.
[Photo courtesy of Hoppy Paws/Kickstarter]