‘Shark Tank’ investors pass on Man-PACK bag

Aaron Tweedie

Aaron Tweedie

A sling-style messenger bag produced by Front Royal entrepreneur Aaron Tweedie, 34, received national attention Friday night on an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” but was ultimately rejected by the panel of investors.

The TV show features entrepreneurs who pitch their products to a set of multimillionaire investors, who choose whether or not to invest in the products.

Tweedie, who created the Man-PACK bag as a durable solution to the “4.5 pounds of stuff” that men carry on average, pitched a 29 percent stake in his company for a $200,000 investment.

Things started to look up for Tweedie after he wrapped up a polished presentation.

Shark Lori Greiner, the “Queen of QVC,” remarked: “When you first walked in, I looked at it and thought, ‘Oh, another knapsack for guys, whatever.’ But you definitely wowed me with the utility of it.”

Those hopes soon took a nosedive as he revealed the sales figures for the Man-PACK.

Tweedie said sales totaled about $76,000 in 2013, and about $65,000 in 2014 to date, when they shot the episode in June. He told the sharks he anticipated the year’s sales to reach about $145,000.

It was the lack of online-only sales — 40 in the past month, he said on the show — that seemed to drive the sharks, including Mark Cuban, away.

Investor Robert Herjavec expressed his concerns over what Cuban referred to as “the Millennial version of the murse.”

“When I was in Europe last summer with my family, I had a similar bag and I wasn’t ashamed to wear it in public because every other guy in Europe had one,” Herjavec said. “When I came back here, I put the same thing on, I didn’t make it one block down the street [before] everybody was laughing at me.”

Many of the sharks accused Tweedie of overvaluing his company.

He said his $700,000 valuation included $50,000 for the design patent of the Man-PACK 2.0 model, $145,000 in yearly projected sales, $18,000 in intellectual property for a collection of YouTube commercials he created, and “$200,000 in goodwill.”

“If I gave you $200,000,” said shark Kevin O’Leary, “I’d have to own about 260 percent of the company. About that [much], because you have very small sales.”

On Friday night, O’Leary tweeted: “$100,000 for a pipe dream?? My money is clinging to my leg and crying in fear! #SharkTank #ManPack.”

Eventually all five sharks folded.

Despite the lack of a deal, the seven minutes of airtime that Tweedie and the Man-PACK were televised has paid off.

A banner running along the top of his website — which includes an “As Seen on Shark Tank” icon — states, “Due to the high website traffic from ABC’s ‘Shark Tank,’ we may be running slow.”

Tweedie, who declined to reveal his updated sales projections, said “it’s much higher” than before.

His website, <a href=“http://www.man-pack.com”>http://www.man-pack.com</a>, received 17,000 pageviews in the two hours following the episode, 30,000 pageviews on Saturday and 19,000 on Sunday, he said.

He added that his online sales have risen to about a thousand transactions just in this past weekend alone.

“When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if I got a deal or not, because I’m still a winner,” Tweedie said. “What’s ironic about the whole valuation thing is, they might not have liked my valuation when I came on, but by getting on, I created the whole valuation I’ve been giving myself.”

<em>Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or <a href=“mailto:rcornell@nvdaily.com”>rcornell@nvdaily.com</a></em>

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