How Hummingbird Startup HummViewer Became Profitable After ‘Shark Tank’

A bird-feeding mask may seem like a gag gift, but HummViewer’s success since appearing on ABC’s “Shark Tank” is no joke.

The company makes clear face masks with sugar water reservoirs, disguised as flowers, attached to the front, which help you attract and get an up-close view of hummingbirds hovering right in front of you. He first appeared on the show in 2022, when founding husband-and-wife duo Joan and John Creed agreed to a deal with guest investor and Kind Snacks founder Daniel Lubetzky: $75,000 for 33% of their company based in Loveland, Colorado.

On Friday’s episode of the show, Creeds provided a progress report. “In less than a day after appearing on ‘Shark Tank,’ we sold 1,500 units, representing $102,000 in sales,” Joan said. “And then people kept buying them – over 2,000 back orders,” John added.

In the eight months following their segment, they made $350,000 and quit their full-time jobs, they said.

“The best thing about HummViewer is that, initially, when you see it, it looks like a joke,” Lubetzky noted. “And then you realize it’s not a product, it’s an experience.”

The couple hoped Lubetzky could help them with retail and marketing, which he did, John said. But the journey wasn’t all positive.

Being on the show was a “life-changing success and at the same time came with some problems,” Joan said.

From imitations to quality control

Shortly after HummViewer aired on television, Creed began finding fraudulent copycat websites and a slew of third-party sellers looking to profit from their patented invention.

“They took down videos and images from our website and sold knockoffs or didn’t ship anything,” Joan said, adding, “We were beyond angry.”

The company has hired a lawyer to help it remove fraudulent sellers and impersonators from platforms like Amazon and AliExpress. However, this doesn’t always stop sellers from recovering.

“When a seller is removed [from] these platforms appear in the names of other companies,” Joan said. “It’s a game of whack-a-mole.”

The question also brought another challenge: They had been working with a factory in China, and, they said, ordering more units led to a decrease in quality control.

“With Daniel’s investment, we were able to purchase 5,000 additional units,” John said. “When they arrived, there were scratches, there were stains, some parts and pieces didn’t fit. So to fix things, we had to take a trip to China.”

Being present at the factory, making sure the manufacturer knew exactly how to assemble the product correctly, made a difference, he added: “It took a little while, but all the problems have been solved, so the next shipment of HummViewer is It will bring a lot of improvements.”

Guest investor Daniel Lubetzky wears the HummViewer on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

ABC | Christopher Willard

Despite the obstacles, Creed said they are grateful for the attention and revenue they have accrued since first appearing on the show.

“‘Shark Tank’ gave us the opportunity to start a new business, learn new things and grow,” Joan said.

“We have friends who are retired and we just started a brand new business. So [the show] it gave us a new lease on life,” John added.

Disclosure: CNBC owns exclusive off-network cable broadcast rights to “Shark Tank.”

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