The idea for Little Elf came to Bryan Perla — a student who struggled with reading due to his dyslexia but had a knack for coming up with big ideas — when he was a high school senior. Perla was able to ride the idea to Shark Tank success, allowing his company, which takes the frustration out of holiday gift wrapping, to achieve even more growth.
As USA Today reported, the product was well-received when it initially appeared on the ABC reality show in December 2019, earning praise for its unique offering. As the founder said, wrapping presents is one of the more tedious parts of the holiday season and is especially difficult because it’s so tough to cut the paper just right.
“We all know the holiday season is stressful,” he said. “Do we really need one more thing to test our patience, like cutting wrapping paper with scissors? Everyone hates cutting wrapping paper, because it always comes out ripped, jagged, or crooked.”
Perla had been working on the idea for several years by the time he appeared on the show. When he made his television debut, he was a junior at Stanford University working toward a major in product design, and he had already made a quarter of a million dollars in sales without having to make any big investments in advertising, Inc reported.
The unusual offering was so popular that Little Elf sparked a bidding war among some of the Shark Tank investors, who tried to undercut one another with enticing offerings. He ultimately left the Shark Tank episode with a $150,000 investment from Lori Grenier in exchange for a 20 percent equity, as well as some personal praise for overcoming his dyslexia and becoming a successful entrepreneur when he was still just a teenager.
Little Elf has apparently continued to grow by using the attention garnered from the episode to score viral buzz online. Paired with strong reviews from happy customers, it appears the company has gotten a major boost since first appearing on the show. By the time that ABC revisited the original episode with an August 2020 re-airing, the company seemed to have made the most of its viral buzz.
There have been some glowing follow-ups as well. Little Elf was also featured in an Inc. YouTube video, which, like the Shark Tank investors, praised the product for its ease of use and ability to simplify one of the more tedious of Christmastime tasks.