Barbara Corcoran’s Worry-Inducing ‘Shark Tank’ Investment: Mix Bikini Becomes Versakini And Goes ‘Beyond The Tank’

Sarah Field - Author
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May 14 2015, Updated 8:13 p.m. ET

Barbara Corcoran was impressed by the proprietors of Mix Bikini when they pitched Shark Tank. Frank Scozzafava could sell, and he had a great product: interchangeable bikini parts. Corcoran invested $50,000 for a 25 percent stake in the company.

But as Friday’s Beyond the Tank shows, that was only the beginning of the story. In a preview clip for the broadcast, posted on the Shark Tank Facebook page, Scozzafava describes how they threw a massive party the night their Shark Tank episode aired.

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“I would estimate we spent $50,000 on the party, at least.”

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Although Corcoran was present, outfitted in costume glasses and a pink wig, she recounts her uneasiness at the premature and grandiose celebration.

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“I was wowed by the party, but in the pit of my stomach I was worried. How does a little business like this throw this amazing party? What I didn’t realize [until] the next day was that was where my investment went.”

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Kelsey Duffy, who did not appear to pitch on Shark Tank but created the product, told a Houston television station that a huge reality check followed the party.

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“We had a great night, went home and looked at our sales and realized that the website crashed.

And not only did it crash, but it crashed for days after, three or four days, and we lost probably a couple hundred thousand dollars.”

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Duffy eventually worked to rebrand the product “Versakini.” She also prepped for her Beyond the Tank appearance by hiring a “web genius” to prevent the site from crashing.

Four months after the original Shark Tank episode aired in 2012, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Scozzafava had opened a kiosk in Florida’s Westfield Brandon mall. Retail kiosks were proposed as part of Mix Bikini’s growth plan when they pitched the sharks. Scozzafava told the Times he had no regrets about the Shark Tank experience.

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“We wouldn’t be where we are without ‘Shark Tank.’ It was the publicity from ‘Shark Tank’ that really mattered, not the money.”

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In March 2014, Scozzafava told CNBC he was advised by Shark Tank producers that the investors would come at him, attacking all aspects of his business. He was told, “you need to get feisty and you need to stand up for your idea and you need to give it back to them.”

ABC’s Houston affiliate reported that Duffy moved from New York to Florida and finally to Texas to make Mix Bikini work. Regardless, she has faith in the now-called Versakini and has no regrets about being an entrepreneur.

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“If you sit there and think, ‘What if I can’t, what if I can’t,’ you won’t. You have to take a risk.”

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Beyond the Tank airs Friday at 9 p.m. on ABC after the season finale of Shark Tank.

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