It’s an exciting day in Lollaland! Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup in Select Target Stores (Shark Tank)

 

Before having children and launching Lollaland, I used to be a high school chemistry teacher.  My students would often ask, “Why do I need to learn this?  I will never use stoichiometry in real life.”  My response was, “Learning to problem solve will be invaluable in all your future endeavors.”  It’s true that most people will never use stoichiometry outside of their high school chemistry classrooms, but life is full of “reactions” that could use some careful study and analysis.

Launching a business and running a company requires the most critical thinking and problem solving I’ve ever done.  Thanks to Shark Tank and our amazing partners, Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec, we have had many unique and rare opportunities (one of which will be featured on tonight’s season premiere of Shark Tank, Season 6)!  Partnering with Mark and Robert has been a great experience for us, and Lollaland has experienced steady growth since Lollacup’s launch in 2011.  This year, we were presented with one of our most exciting, but challenging opportunities – mass retail!

Lollaland + Target - A Special Shark Tank EndCap

Lollaland + Target – A Special Shark Tank EndCap

When our episode of Shark Tank aired in April, 2012, the most common request/comment we received was, “ I LOVE that Lollacup is 100% made in the USA, BUT I wish it were more affordable.”

To answer this call, we developed a more affordable cup for this new Shark Tank/Target program.  This new cup is called the Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup, and details and differences between the two cups are outlined below.

Lollacup vs. Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup

- Lollacup vs. Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup

- Made in USA vs. Made in Taiwan

- Iconic Lollacup Bird Design vs. Bear

- Distinctive triangular packaging vs. more traditional box with a window

The Lollacup will always be 100% Made in the USA, but we hope that the Lollaland Straw Sippy Cup will make our products more accessible for all.  Thank you for your continued support.

Mark + Hanna Lim | Lollaland

Here’s a little snippet about tonight’s season premiere of Shark Tank, Season 6 (source: ABC.com):  There will be an All Stars Update where Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran illustrate the power of Shark Tank. They sealed a deal to sell six of their Shark Tank products in a special display at a major retail store. The entrepreneurs from Lollaland, Kisstixx, Monkey Mat, Kazam, U-lace, and Ry’s Ruffery are thrilled to see their products on Target’s shelves for the first time. Before their deals on Shark Tank, the combined value of the entrepreneurs’ products equaled $1.3 million dollars in sales. Today, that value has increased to $7.7 million dollars, a 500% increase.

Sensitive Skin, Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis – Oh My!

 

Sensitive Skin, Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis – Apparently, I’ve had it all since the day I was born.   I’ve struggled with dry, itchy skin, rashes, and redness my whole life, but six weeks ago, before I had my 3rd daughter, my eczema flared up like never before.  My face and most of my body were red and blistery and unbearably itchy and dry.  After I had the baby, Mark Cuban invited us to do an appearance with him on The View, so for vanity reasons, I called my dermatologist, who gave me a potent steroid cream to use for 3 days only.  My skin cleared up almost instantaneously, just in time to look eczema-free on the show.  I stopped using the steroid cream the morning of the taping, and twelve hours later, my eczema went into overdrive.  I had never seen my skin look that bad.

To make a long story, short, I’m convinced my skin is addicted to topical steroid creams.  I used them on and off throughout my life when my eczema would flare, but who knew you could become addicted to skin creams?  I am under the care of a dermatologist, who says the only remedy is to “withdraw” from the steroids.  The upside is that he says by withdrawing or stopping the use of all steroid creams, steroid injections, and oral steroids,  I will be completely cured of eczema.  The downside is that I will look like a burn victim and have intense eczema flares for at least 6 months to as long as 2 years!!!  Since one’s skin is the largest organ of the body, it may take a long time to recover from this “addiction.”  Another thing that makes it difficult is that I need to stay out of the sun and keep my body cool for the time being.  This should be quite a feat considering I live in Southern California!

I have consulted many dermatologists over the years and thought long and hard about what to do about my persistent eczema, and I’ve decided that going through this God-awful withdrawal is my only option.   Right now, I look like I have 3rd degree burns all over my face and body, and it goes through a different phase daily – red, oozing, burning, extremely dry, etc.  Everyday is so unpredictable.  I go between getting chills and sweating profusely and it’s uncomfortable to wear clothes, so I have not left my house except to see doctors.  Thankfully, Lollacup headquarters is in my home, so I am able to work and I have a precious newborn to love and care for, so that has been my saving grace.  It is going to be a long year, but I’m hopeful that this doctor is right and my eczema will be gone after the whole withdrawal process is said and done.

I know that this is just temporary, and I am so very thankful that I am healthy otherwise, but I feel compelled to write about my condition to alert those of you with eczema or children with eczema to be very cautious of steroid use.  I am not an expert or a physician, so I’m not saying that all steroids are bad, but I think it’s important to know that one’s skin can become addicted to topical steroids and the side effects of these creams are quite scary.

FYI, this is the non-profit organization (itsan.org) that is trying to get the word out about topical steroid addiction.  It wasn’t until I stumbled upon this website that I realized what was happening to me.

A Look Back at Shark Tank

Lollacup in line at the Shark Tank Season 3 Open Casting Call

Lollacup in line at the Shark Tank Season 3 Open Casting Call

 

Our episode of Shark Tank is re-airing tonight on ABC at 8 p.m., so I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane.

Although our actual segment on Shark Tank only lasted 10+ minutes, we stood negotiating in front of the sharks for well over an hour.  It was an incredibly stressful yet exhilarating experience.  How often does one have an idea, turn it into a product, and then pitch the business to moguls like the “sharks”!

Things I never want to forget:

  • Getting called back after each round of casting
  • Landing, not one, but TWO sharks as investors/business partners
  • The fun viewing party we had with close friends and family at our old high school, where Mark and I met
  • Running [and growing] this business, hand-in-hand, with my husband
  • Opening my email inbox after our Shark Tank segment aired and seeing 3000+ emails.
  • Receiving our first email from Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec
  • All the amazing people we’ve met as a result of this business and being on the show
  • All the friends, family, colleagues, and strangers who’ve helped us get to this point

Things I’d like to forget:

  • Mark spilling a bottle of water down his shirt moments before our taping
  • The eternal wait in between each round of casting
  • Wondering if we would ever get the chance to pitch in front of the sharks
  • Going on backorder for months soon after our segment aired = a lot of lost revenue for a small business like ours
  • The incredible stresses [& sleepless nights] of owning and running a small business

Overall, our experience on Shark Tank has been like the gift that keeps on giving.  Now that it’s been about a year since we first appeared on Shark Tank, people often ask us, “Was it worth it?” and “Would you do it again?”  Absolutely!  One thing I learned about entrepreneurship is that you have to seize every opportunity, and not take luck and timing for granted.

 

 

 

Guest Post by LollaDAD

20 years ago I was a pimply-faced eighth-grader who spent the entire day practicing this exact line, “will you be my girlfriend?”  At 2:45pm, I finally mustered up the courage to “ask her out” by the school gym, and thankfully, her answer was ‘yes!’  I know this sounds crazy, but after just a few months of dating her, I knew Hanna was the one.  In fact, I have hundreds of old letters to prove how confident I was.

6 years ago today we made it official and got married in Pasadena, California.  It was the happiest day of my life.  Not only was I marrying someone I admire so much, but she happened to be my very best friend. But who in the world knew that one day we would become business partners?

People warned me about working with my wife and I have to admit, I was a little worried too.  We are far from perfect and I didn’t want to strain our relationship by arguing over every little detail that goes into running a small business.  Having launched a small business before, I knew that the work environment can often be explosive and stressful.  After working on this project for a little over 2 years I’m surprised to find that we’ve somehow grown closer.

Hanna and I eat, breath, and sleep lollacup.  We take every piece of feedback personally, and we do our best to create a product/service that we would want for our own family.  To us, your kids and their experience with the lollacup means everything.

I’ll be honest, I’d much rather be celebrating our anniversary in Fiji… but working a tradeshow in New York was the next best choice. =)

Happy annivesary babe, love you always.

Mark

You Spoke, We Listened!

We launched Lollacup in 2011 with 3 gender-neutral colors: bold red, good green, and happy orange. As the months passed, we added 2 more gender-neutral colors: proud purple and bad black.

After our fan base grew substantially, thanks in large part to Shark Tank, we began to get a rather large number of requests to make a pink and blue lollacup.  Our customers are what make our business and company, so we couldn’t ignore the pleas.

Choosing colors is not an easy feat.  If any of you have flipped through a Pantone book, you know what I mean.  There must be 30+ shades of pink, and committing to one is quite difficult.  Well, after months of staring at color chips and sampling various shades of pink and blue, we are proud to announce 2 new additions to the lollacup family.

Please welcome posh pink and brave blue.  These new colors will be available when we are no longer backordered (we are hoping for September 1st).

p.s. We are discontinuing proud purple, but bad black will be available in limited quantities.

A Simple Way to Teach Our Children About Gratitude

I was talking to a good friend of mine who said she “lost it” one afternoon and told her  4-year-old to ”shut up.”  Before I became a parent myself, I may have judged her or thought, “how could she?”  BUT after having children, I now know that parenting can bring out the best and worst in us.  As a mom, I have my glory days when everything seems to fall into place, I have a smile on my face, the kids are happy and well-rested, and I feel like super mom.  Then there are those days where I’m throwing random food into their lunch bags as we run out the door, piles of dirty laundry are strewn about the house, and all I hear is whining.  How many of you agree with me when I say that parenting has redefined the notion of being pushed to the limit?

I have to admit, I am a bit of a control freak, and I’m pretty certain that’s why I had such a hard time adjusting to motherhood in the beginning.  Sleep deprivation coupled with uncertainty and the unknown was not a good combo for me.  All these things became stressors and when I am stressed, my body responds with an eczema flare up.

One time my eczema was so bad, and I was so sick of treating it with steroid creams that I resorted to seeing a hypnotist.  I can’t say that it did much for me, but one exercise she suggested that I want to revisit and practice with my daughters is keeping a gratitude journal.  The hypnotherapist gave me a small notebook and pen to keep by my bed and every night, before going to bed, I would jot down 3 things I was grateful for.  The thinking behind this simple exercise is that you go to sleep with positive thoughts in your mind.  How great would it be to do this with our children?  As rough as some days can be, what better way to end the day than by being grateful and teaching our children that there is so much to be grateful for each and every day!

On a side note, congratulations to ABC’s Shark Tank, for being nominated for an Emmy!  Maybe one day soon, we can say we were on an Emmy nominated show!

Lollacups on Backorder

Some of you may have noticed that Lollacups have been backordered since we appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, and now, you are actually unable to complete a purchase on our webstore.  This is not an error.  Allow me to explain . . .

As it stands, we have many unfulfilled orders and many eager customers waiting to receive their Lollacups.  And, as many of you know from watching our pitch on ABC’s Shark Tank, we are a small business who is now fortunate to have Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec on board as investors.

Being on Shark Tank and ABC World News gave our business an incredible boost, and we could never have anticipated this kind of response.  Now that we have received funding, we, along with our investors, have decided to make improvements to our production molds and our product.

We anticipate that this process may take 10-12 weeks, but we will keep you updated on our progress through various social media outlets.  We are also happy to answer any questions, so please call us at 310-776-5655 or email us at hello@lollacup.com.

When we have plenty of the new (and improved) Lollacups in stock, we will let everyone know ASAP.  We ask for your patience and support as we work on Lollacup 2.0, if you will.

Cheers to All Those Who are Casting for Shark Tank Season 4!

We have received many emails and phone calls from Shark-Tank-hopefuls since our own segment aired on April 27th.  I have to say that the folks who reach out to us are three-steps ahead of the game.  It never even occurred to me to reach out to Shark Tank Alumni.

Then we heard that a few Shark Tank Alums crashed the Chicago Open Casting Call, and had a great time networking and re-living the whole process.

Please keep in mind that Mark and I are in no way affiliated with Shark Tank, ABC, or any of the casting crew, so what we have to say has zero influence on whether you get on the show or not, BUT we did go through casting and if you want to grab a drink and put your mind at ease before the Casting Call in Los Angeles, we’d be happy to talk with you.  We’ll be at the bar (Tula’s Lounge) of the hotel where the casting call will be the next morning between 7-9 pm if you want to come out and chat, talk about the stresses of entrepreneurship, etc.  We’d love to meet you.  We are always happy to talk about our wild ride into the Shark Tank, but please keep in mind that you have to take everything we say with a grain of salt – because we had such a great experience, we can be  a bit biased ;)

  • Who: Team Lollacup (Mark and Hanna)
  • What: Networking with fellow entrepreneurs and Shark-Tank-Hopefuls
  • Where: Beverly Garland Hotel – Tula’s Lounge
  • When: Wednesday, May 23rd from 7-9 pm

Late Night Ramblings – Post Shark Tank

We were ecstatic when we got our first online order, we felt a glimmer of hope when we opened our first retail account, we literally hurt when we got our first customer complaint, and smiled for days when we received our first glowing review.  I say all this, because running a business is such a roller-coaster.  Being on Shark Tank was like that signature, breathtaking drop –  we are laughing, screaming, and just holding on tight.  I remember pulling all-nighters in college, feeling like I couldn’t type one more letter, but looking back, that must’ve been training for this very moment.  Sleep is an afterthought and that’s okay.  The one thing that pains me is not being there for my girls as much as I had hoped.

A snapshot of our living room right now.

I came across an article in entreprenuer.com that said the following, “If you’re going to be successful, you’ve got to love your business more than anything else–even your family.“  WOW.  When I read this, I felt like someone punched me in the gut.  I’m determined to be successful, but I refuse to believe this.  I have a company and product, because of my family.  I have the most amazing partner who is my family, and family is helping us survive this ride.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this blog post, but I just had to take a minute away from work and think big picture.  Thanks for listening.  Anyone agree/disagree?  How do you all juggle work and family?

What it’s Like to Be on Shark Tank

It’s been 24 hours since our [Lollacup] pitch aired on Shark Tank last night, and my heart and mind have not stopped racing.  So much to do and share.  How we went from a simple idea for a new straw sippy cup to landing Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec as business partners is baffling.

I guess I’ll begin by sharing how Mark and I tuned in last night.  The most responsible thing to do would have been to watch the Shark Tank episode at home, with phone in-hand and computers fired up to attend to any issues that may arise.  BUT we thought about all the people who were in involved in bringing this straw-sippy-cup-project to fruition, and we just had to get everyone together and relish in the moment.  How often does one have an idea, take it to market, get on national TV, and land a business deal with Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec?  You only live once, so we just had to go the viewing-party-route.  I promise we will respond to your voicemails and emails soon.

Between family, the friends we see regularly, and people who’ve directly worked on lollacup, we had about 75 people we needed to host.  Our home/office was not an option with those numbers, so Mark and I had to get creative in thinking about how to plan a Shark Tank Viewing Party on a budget.  Mark suggested watching it at our old high school, where we met and started dating.  I thought it was a long-shot, but we asked the administration, and the school was gracious enough to let us use the lunch area for dinner and drinks and the auditorium to watch the show.  It was so nostalgic and special to be on campus for this event.  Some of our teachers even joined us!

Thank you Phil Webb and Fleetwood-Fibre for the "card." We have the BEST vendors.

Guests began to trickle in around 7 pm, and they all tried their best to stay off of social media so as not to know the outcome.  We were last into the “tank,” so by 8:40 p.m. everyone was pumped for our appearance – our bellies were full and we had all had a few glasses of wine.

Finally, around 7:45 p.m. the commercial break ended and our friends were cheering [loudly] as we were introduced as “next into the Shark Tank.”  I don’t know about you, but every time I hear my own voice on a recording, I cringe.  Can you imagine how I felt watching my every mannerism on national TV?

During the taping, Mark and I stood in front of those sharks for well over an hour, and what you saw on Friday was edited down to less than 15 minutes.  I must say that the show did a great job with the editing . . . everything you saw was a concise representation of how we remember it all going down.  Aside from childbirth, it was the most intense and stressful hour+ of my life.  I am so proud we survived and so happy Mark and I did it together.

So to tell you “what it’s like to be on Shark Tank” – SIMPLY AMAZING!  For the most part, we have had people go out of their way to send kind words and well-wishes our way via Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs, and even phone calls.  This whole experience is such a huge motivator.  We know how expensive parenting is: the cost of diapers alone is astounding.  Thank you all for supporting Lollacup as we grow.

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the sharks:

Robert HerjavecRobert Herjavec ‏ @robertherjavec #sharktank - i LOVE this guy – ” I only want to play with winners ” – LOVE IT

#sharktank - wow – it took these two amazing pitchers to get me to work with @mcuban

Mark CubanMark Cuban ‏ @mcuban I really liked them. I’m not usually that nice to robert. I felt bad for him ;-) .

 will robert and Mark finally work together!! #sharktank
Lori GreinerLori Greiner ‏ @LoriGreiner Love these two!! Their passion in #SharkTank is undeniable.