Rosy and Danna Khalife, two sisters with a passion for success made of dynamite, founded Surprise Ride which is a simple and exciting surprise in a box for kids ages 6-11. A little over a year ago they had the opportunity of a life time to present their product on Shark Tank. After a deal from Robert Herjavec slipped through their hands, they left the tank on a mission to succeed. Much to their surprise a little over a year later they received a phone call from Kevin O’Leary who said he wanted to make them an offer! Their feature of Beyond the Tank aired last night 3.22.16 and I had the privilege of speaking with Rosy and learning about their experience. Here’s what she shared with me:
JAY: A little over a year ago Kevin O’Leary said you guys were legends because you had an offer from Shark Tank and you let it go. Now Kevin himself on his own initiative calls you guys and asks to buy into your company- now that’s legendary! What’s that like?
Rosy: It’s unbelievable. When we picked up the phone and heard that Kevin wanted to make a deal with us, we were so excited. We had made a lot of progress on our own, but having the opportunity to partner with Kevin and his team is unbelievable.
Jay: When you guys left the tank without an offer you were forced to build this company on your own. You’ve done an amazing job and have reached over $2M in sales. Now that Kevin has joined what do you expect to change?
Rosy: I don’t think we’re going to change the way we are running Surprise Ride at all. In fact, I think it’s because of how we’re running it now which brought Kevin to us asking us to join. It’s really a matter of being able to tap into the resources and amazing connections that Kevin has, which are far beyond our own reach.
Jay: Why is Kevin such a great fit?
Rosy: The biggest reason why I think Kevin is such a great fit is because he is not just a talker, he is such a doer. He puts his money where his mouth is. He gets it and does everything he can do to get it done. He’s fully invested in what we’re doing and he wants us to be successful. Additionally, because of Kevin’s experience he understands the kid side of it so well. Partnering with the Sharks is not just a capital investment, it’s a partnership that extends far beyond that, and having Kevin who has such great experience and connections is an unbelievable opportunity.
Jay: What’s the advantage of your product over other kid products in stores?
Rosy: I think the biggest advantage Surprise Ride has is that even when life gets busy, no matter what happens you’ll always be sure your kids will have a great activity to do. All materials are included, directions, some extra material and even a yummy snack! So if you’re busy preparing dinner, or just doing chores around the house Surprise Ride will provide your kids with a great activity while you get stuff done, all worry free. It’s also unique in that you never know what’s coming, so when kids order a box they’re always surprised when they open it.
Jay: Do the parents know when they’re placing the order what’s going to be inside?
Rosy: Nope! It’s a surprise to everyone. In fact, we put together a focus group with parents and we asked them if they wanted to know what was coming when they placed the order, and they all said “we want the surprise too!” We all want those awesome surprises in our life, and that element has really added to our success.
Jay: So many people struggle with failure to the point where many give up. You guys had a deal on the table at your fingertips and lost it. You left disappointed but determined to succeed. You’ve built your way up to the point where Shark Tank calls you back! What’s your message to other young entrepreneurs out there struggling to build their success?
Rosy: That’s a great question Jay, and certainly something I’ve given a lot of thought towards. The first thing is never give up. It’s true we were disappointed that we didn’t strike a deal, but we knew that we had a great product. In fact, when we reached out to Lori Greiner, she said “I want you guys to do this on your own. I know you can do this; you remind me of myself”. Since we didn’t take Robert’s offer on Shark Tank we had to think of our own creative ways to drive sales. With our backs against the wall we came up with new ways and we succeeded. So often the greatest breakthroughs come because you had no other way to get it done. Never let failure deter you from accomplishing your mission, use it as an opportunity to come up with your own way to succeed. Lastly, many people let emotions get the best of them. We never had any bad feelings whatsoever, to any of the Sharks. When Kevin called us asking to join we were overjoyed. It was an absolute no brainer to join up with him. I think many people in my situation may have responded differently and said, “we proved you wrong and we got this going on our own, we don’t need your help”. Never let your emotions remove your focus from the goal of your business, it’s not personal it’s business. If you have the opportunity to join up with someone like Kevin who can add years of experience and expertise, grab it!