Cyndi Bray is an entrepreneur who took her company Wad Free and its product to the sharks on “Shark Tank” to see if she could get one of the sharks to invest in her company during the November 5, 2021 episode of the hit ABC show.
The episode synopsis revealed “a Denver, Colorado, native who introduces her game-changing laundry gadget that prevents bedding from tangling, twisting and balling up.”
The entrepreneur pitched her company to OG sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec and Daymond John.
Here’s what you need to know about Wad Free on “Shark Tank:”
1. Wad Free Solves a Problem 89% of People Have
Heavy spoke to Wad Free founder Cyndi Bray about her inspiration for her company. She told us that she bought a new, energy-efficient washer and dryer and was excited about doing her part to reduce her carbon footprint. There was only one problem, her sheets kept getting turned into twisted ropes of fabric in both the washer and dryer, necessitating multiple washes and dries to get clean. Bray thought this was wasting both time and energy — hers and the planet’s.
There was nothing available on the market to solve this common problem. And it was a very common problem. Bray’s research revealed that 89% of people end up with twisted up sheets in the washing machine and drier, she said in an interview with Heavy.
Bray sat in front of her washer and dryer watching her sheets through the glass doors. She was determined to figure out why they were getting twisted. “I tried to figure out the physics behind it,” Bray told Heavy.
2. She Came up With a Concept and Made a Prototype
After Cyndi Bray sat and watched her sheets in the washing machine and dryer and saw how, in her words, “they were defiantly wadding up,” a lightbulb went off in her head. She went to Home Depot for supplies, took her sewing machine out and got to work making a prototype. She tried it out and it failed.
So she went back to the drawing board, got more supplies and tried a different concept out. It worked. In an interview with Heavy, Bray told us that she tried it on front loading washing machines and top-loading washing machines. She tested her concept over and over and over again. It worked.
Bray knew she was onto something and needed to figure out how to mass produce it. She taught herself CAD (Computer Aided Design) so that she could design a professional template for Wad Free.
3. She Got a Patent and Launched Her Product
Bray knew she had to protect her idea. So she went through the process of obtaining a patent for Wad Free. She found a factory in Colorado that could manufacture her product. She sought out and found someplace that could do the custom plastic cast of her design.
Bray built Wad Free from the ground up herself. She designed the product, figured out the best resources to have it manufactured, designed the logo, packaging, website and made all the videos herself over a period of 14 months, she told Heavy.
She launched Wad Free in June 2020. She told her friends and family. Word of mouth began to pick up. “I applied to have Wad Free featured on Grommet.com. They test products thoroughly before accepting them on the site and only accept 2% to 3% of the products submitted to them. When they accepted Wad Free, it was a dream come true. Wad Free debuted on Grommet in early November 2020. Within three weeks, Wad Free was one of the best-selling products on the site. From that point the media got wind of it and the buzz kept building,” Bray told Heavy.
4. She Faced Many Challenges During the Pandemic
During the pandemic, things became more difficult for everyone, but for someone like Cyndi Bray, who was launching a product and company during COVID-19, the challenges kept mounting. She was subjected to the same supply chain issues that many companies and industries are currently facing.
The plastic molds for Wad Free were delayed by many months. That in turn delayed the launch and the application to Grommet. She ran out of product at one point, she told Heavy, because the plastic factory she found to manufacture the Wad Free product closed several times because of outbreaks of the coronavirus amongst the employees.
Even now that things are returning to more normal conditions, Bray has found the factories she works with are having labor shortages. COVID-19 delayed her entire process.
5. Her Experience on ‘Shark Tank” Was a Dream Come True
In her interview with Heavy, Cyndi Bray admitted to being a fan of “Shark Tank” from its very first season. She said, “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mind and found ‘Shark Tank’ to be very inspiring. I never imagined I’d be on the carpet in the tank presenting to the sharks.”
She also admitted that because she’s been watching “Shark Tank” for years, she felt like the sharks were, in a way, already her mentors. After the acceptance by Grommet she thought she would have a shot at “Shark Tank.” So she applied.
She said there was a lot going on in the tank during filming. “It was an amazing experience,” Bray said. “Everyone there wants you to succeed — from the sharks to the drivers to the makeup people.” She also admitted to having what she’s calling “Tank Amnesia.” She can’t remember exactly what happened during her presentation. She said, “I keep thinking ‘did I actually say that or just think I said that.'”
“Presenting Wad Free on ‘Shark Tank’ was a dream come true,” Bray told Heavy.
A lot going on in the tank. Tank Amnesia. Can’t remember what actually happened. It was magical. Everybody wants you to succeed from sharks to drivers to makeup people.