-- When founder John Tabis brought The Bouqs Company to ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2014, it seemed that all the “sharks” hated the product.
“We all passed on it,” shark Robert Herjavec told ABC News.
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The Bouqs Company disrupts the flower delivery system by selling directly to consumers. It cuts out the layers of middlemen normally in the process.
“Flowers are largely sourced in the U.S., out of Ecuador and Colombia and, as a result, have a very long and convoluted supply chain. They go from farmers to exporters to importers to wholesalers to florists and then you buy them from some website,” Tabis explained to ABC News.
Tabis said his co-founder, Juan Pablo Montufar, grew up on a farm in Ecuador and knew how painful it was for farmers to make the flower industry work.
“He started skipping all those layers, and he started shipping directly from his family's farm in Ecuador to a florist. And he loved it because he got better margin, the florist got fresher products for less money and he got paid much more quickly than if he waited for all those layers to pay him,” said Tabis.
Montufar asked for Tabis’ help to get more people to care about the process and educated him on how it could be beneficial for consumers, florists and the environment. They launched The Bouqs Company in 2012.
But when Tabis entered the Shark Tank in 2014, Herjavec says he thought Tabis did a “bad job” with the presentation.
“And they had astronomical numbers. They were doing $2 million a year, and they said, ‘Next year, we’ll be $12 million, and then we’ll be $30 million.’ And we hate stuff like that,” Herjavec recalled. “We’re like, ‘Oh, it’ll never happen.’”
The sharks also disliked that consumers had to wait six days for a flower delivery, and shark Barbara Corcoran said she hated the name of the company.
“I thought I did pretty well. B-plus?” Tabis said. “I definitely didn’t bomb it.”
Despite not getting a deal with the sharks, The Bouqs Company has thrived. In the run up to Valentine’s Day this year, the company reported sales of over $1 million in a single day.
“We did in 24 hours more than we had done in the entire year leading up to the 'Shark Tank' appearance. So, the business has grown a lot,” said Tabis.
Three years after Bouqs appeared on "Shark Tank," Herjavec said he was shocked by the price of flowers while shopping for them ahead of his wedding to his “Dancing With the Stars” partner, Kym Johnson. Herjavec reached out to Tabis and asked him why flowers were so expensive.
“[Tabis] said, ‘Come and see me. I’ll explain the flower business to you.’ [He] draws it out for me, shows me what they’re doing. I’m like, ‘I love it,’” Herjavec said. “So I took part of their last round. We just raised $24 million.”
When shark Mark Cuban learned how successful the Bouqs Company has become, he expressed his regret for not getting in the deal when he had the chance.
“That’s the one I regret not doing, ‘cause that’s a deal I would’ve loved,” said Cuban.
“And most importantly, I saved a ton of money on my flowers for my wedding,” Herjavec joked.