Beyond the Tank gives viewers a glimpse of what happens once the Shark Tank pitch is over. While the premise seems to promise a resolution to burning questions (Did the deal fall through? Did the business succeed? Did the entrepreneurs butt heads with the investors?), on Friday one segment ended with a cliffhanger of sorts. Diana and Josh Harbour, proprietors of The Red Dress Boutique, had a serious conflict with Mark Cuban about plans to create a new website.
The Harbours entered the Shark Tank last fall seeking an investment to improve their online presence. At the time, what started as a brick-and-mortar business made over 90 percent of its sales online. As Diana Harbour told the Athens Banner-Herald just prior to Shark Tank airing in October, the website renovations were a priority.
“For the past year we’ve been talking about looking to get venture capital for the website, because it’s been growing so fast and you get to a point where you need extra help to scale to the next level.”
Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban made the deal on-air, but only Cuban ended up investing. The technology mogul and owner of the Dallas Mavericks revealed on Friday’s Beyond the Tank that he has a 10 percent stake in The Red Dress Boutique.
During the segment, it was revealed that instead of creating a new site, Mark Cuban’s team helped the Harbours fix the problems with the existing website. Those fixes seemed to have been largely successful. Problems still existed, however, and the entrepreneurs wanted to invest in a new platform. Cuban strongly disagreed with the strategy.
In its review of Friday’s program, CarterMatt echoed what many viewers probably thought.
“We’d say that they should be trusting Mark, but it’s easier to have a snap judgment from the outside looking in… This is the first time we really feel like we have an ending to a tale [that] is not predictable. It was all fighting for a website, which is still experiencing downtime as we write this (though to be fair, ‘Shark Tank’ traffic surges are typically extreme).”
The ending indeed was not predictable, but Diana Harbour revealed the outcome on her blog. She was communicating with Cuban while Beyond the Tank aired. The site went down as her segment was broadcast. Cuban assured her everything would be fine.
“And you know what? It was. Our site came back up after 15 minutes and stayed up the rest of the night. As opposed to our first appearance on ‘Shark Tank’ when our site was down for about 18 hours. And do you know why?
Because we listened to Mark.
That’s right. The site we have now is the same platform (Magento) we have had for 5 years. What changed? The pretty pages. We made our images bigger, focused on a new home page and let an amazing tech team dig into the code and fix some of our biggest issues.”
A new website and platform were going to cost upwards of $400,000, according to Harbour. However, the investment seemed necessary since, during the life of the business, the Harbours had yet to find a tech team that could fix their website issues. When Cuban’s team stepped in, things improved substantially.
After the meeting with Cuban, Harbour listened to her “gut” instinct that the $400,000 could be better spent elsewhere.
Beyond the Tank has been renewed for a second season on ABC. The next episode will air Friday, May 15 after Shark Tank.
[Images: Red Dress Boutique (left) and Getty (right)]