The Touch Up Cup was already a huge hit before heading to Shark Tank, and it was all thanks to the innovative mind of one entrepreneurial teenager.
The company, which was the brainchild of 15-year-old Carson Grill of Liberty Township, Ohio, was one of the companies featured on the ABC reality show’s Season 12 premiere on Friday. As WCPO reported ahead of the teen’s appearance, his company creates a container that can store paint for up to 10 years.
Like many great inventions, it came through a bit of serendipity, as Grill said he used to make marks on the walls in his home and his father made him help with touch-ups. The teen said he found the paint would get clumpy and aerated before too long, and he invented a container that would make it last longer.
“A 13-ounce polypropylene cup with a stainless-steel blending sphere, extra threads and an airtight silicone seal,” he explained, per the news report.
While many entrepreneurs come to the show hoping that some national television exposure and an infusion of cash will give them a big break, Touch Up Cup had already found a measure of success since it was first invented. As WCPO reported, the father-and-son duo who run the outfit together had already sold 55,000 units.
Touch Up Cup also makes other products to keep things safe beyond just paint, he said.
“I have a muffin fresh, bagel fresh and a donut fresh,” he said. “They are ergonomically designed containers to extend the freshness of muffins, bagels and donuts by three to four days longer than conventional packaging.”
The Shark Tank episode comes with a measure of anticipation, as the season is starting a few weeks later than normal this year and will reportedly show how small business owners are withstanding the coronavirus pandemic. Grill helped to build up some anticipation of his own, taking to Instagram to post some pictures of his airplane ride for the airing of the episode.
As executive producer Clay Newbill told TVInsider, there will be a lot of resiliency on display this year.
“The entrepreneurs understand they are inspiring others by sharing their stories on how they have navigated the pandemic,” Newbill said, adding that many have built more online capabilities in response to the changes in the economic landscape.
The Touch Up Cup is already ahead on that front, with a wide online reach that includes listings on some major retailers like Home Depot.