What an awesome experience. Send us good vibes, and hopefully see us on ABC soon :)
Literally all walks of life (including four legged walks) coming to pitch their entrepreneurial dream. It really filled me with a sense of wonder. The energy was palpable, and the fellow contestants I met could not have been nicer. A quick diary below.
Flew in from New York last night, got a bit of sleep after filling out the 20 page application. The hotel staff were all surfing Rare Carat last night and will be rooting for us.
Woke up at 6:30am to head over to the convention center, where they were hosting the Open Casting. Literally anyone can show up. I wasn’t sure if that’d be early enough, and sure enough there were tons of people in line as I arrived at daybreak. It was a unusually crappy day, weather wise – rainy and in the 40s. Tomorrow is sunny and 70…
People had been camped out overnight, with the first arriving in the early hours of the morning. Near me were contestants who had flown in from New Hampshire, California, and New York – so people really were coming from all over. They were selling Hula Hoops, Umbrellas, Children’s books – you name it, but largely physical products.
Those standing ahead and behind me in line became friends quickly – we joked about how all of us were going through, and how there’d be an episode just for us. We snapped a pic together at the end. Ajay from Rare Carat, Merrimac from The Pillow Bar, Chris and Glen from CoffVee (the heart benefits of red wine in coffee), and Michelle and Quincey from Quincey’s gym that teaches young people academics along with athletics.
We waited outside for nearly two freezing hours when we were given our numbered wristbands, guaranteeing us a pitch. We then headed into the convention center, where the Dallas Small Business Expo was going on.
There were five curtained rooms, which held the casting directors. In front were hundreds of chairs where hopefuls waited and chatted. A LOT of people had brought giant props, so I felt kind of lame with my wife’s engagement ring (which she was very hesitant to let me walk out the door with, given my track record for losing things) and Rare Carat open on my mobile phone.
Mindy, the casting director gave us an intro – we were to have sixty seconds (they ended up giving us a bit more) to pitch our company. It was very straightforward. They went in order of the number on your wristbands.
When it was your turn, into the room you went.
I got super lucky, and got the perfect casting director – Erica. Not only is Erica recently engaged (congrats and woohoo!), she was very nice and non-confrontational (was very much unlike the show). From Quincey’s data-driven analysis (he was timing each of the judges), she seemed the nicest and was giving people the most time to explain their business.
I was a bit nervous, but the pitch went pretty well. I showed her our Forbes piece, my wife’s engagement ring, and then played around a bit on Rare Carat’s mobile site.
Lastly, thanks to all of our users for the awesome support over the past three months – could not have imagine that Rare Carat would grow this much this quickly. Otherwise I really would have no business trying out for Shark Tank.
Now we just need good vibes, and hopefully the next stop is ABC!