As they are revisited on Beyond the Tank, we caught up with CEO and founder Stephan Aarstol who gave us a glimpse into their tremendous growth since the show.
The future is bright for the recreation company. Aarstol said “My plans are to build Tower into the biggest beach lifestyle brand in the world, and we’re going to build it unlike any brand has been built before. I take a very contrarian mindset into everything I do and I’m trying to infuse that into the Tower brand.”
Here is what else he told us about…
Sales After ‘Shark Tank’
We’ve sold over 25,000 stand-up paddle boards and done over $17 million in sales since our Shark Tank airing in March of 2012. As we see it, that’s 25,000 people’s lives that we’ve made better, because there is no down side to stand-up paddle boarding.
Mark’s ‘Sick’ Instincts
When I was negotiating the deal after the show, my assumption was that he, of course, wouldn’t be involved at all. Still, I figured I could leverage his name and personal brand to propel the Tower brand from obscurity into being much more well known. I wanted to be able to use his face on the homepage of my website. He agreed. Then when we signed the deal, his point person said, “Okay, here’s Mark’s email. He wants to be cc’d on everything from here on out.” I was stoked. I figured, at least he was going to get visibility into what we’re doing. After my first email to Mark’s team, Mark was the first one to respond! From there on I learned that it’s really emailing Mark directly and cc’ing his team. He’s almost unbelievably accessible. That surprised me. I can literally email him a question at like 10 at night and he’ll frequently get back to me within 10 minutes. The guy doesn’t sleep. He’s been extremely helpful to Tower. The $150,000 he invested was nice, and it allowed us to expedite our plans to extend our product line into inflatable paddle boards. Mark has been very instrumental to me as a mentor. I can bounce stuff off him whenever I want. I don’t always like what he says, and we don’t agree 100 percent of the time, but it’s invaluable insight. Many things that I don’t initially agree with, I’ll later come to the realization that he was right. His instincts are sick.
Introducing Their Inflatable Paddle Board
On the show, we have our very first prototype of an inflatable paddle board. It was so new that I didn’t really even talk about it during my pitch. Up until that point, all of the boards we were making and selling were traditional fiberglass and foam hard boards. We improved on existing inflatable paddle boards on the market by making it 50 percent thicker, which increased rigidity by 400 percent. This was a game changer and all of the sudden inflatable paddle boards became a viable alternative to hard boards. At that time, inflatable paddle boards were less than 1 percent of the market. Today, under four years later, they are closer to 30 percent of the market and we’re a leader in that space. We’ve also expanded our brand into other beach lifestyle products. So far, we’ve launched a line of wood wayfarer sunglasses that we sell online at our store. And we’re currently launching a unique snorkel mask that we’ll start selling soon.
The Bestselling Board
Our Adventurer inflatable stand-up paddle board is our best seller, and probably the best selling inflatable stand up paddle board on the planet. If you check it out on Amazon.com, you’ll see that one product has over 450 reviews averaging 4.7 Stars. The nearest competitive product has under 100 reviews and most inflatable paddle boards only have 10-20 reviews. That’s how dominant that product is.
Advice to ‘Tank’ Contestants Who Can Potentially Freeze Up
I froze up because I tried to memorize a two to three minute pitch, even though I have a horrible memory. If you struggle with memorization like me, my advice would be to just wing it. As an entrepreneur, if you’re any good, you’re going to know you product, your business, and your market like the back of your hand. Trust your instincts and be confident in the fact that you really do know what you’re talking about without focusing too much on crafting the perfect pitch.