Introducing the Talon™
Traditional Barbell Collars Kind of Suck
The Talon™ Barbell Collar was one of the primary reasons we started PRx Performance in the first place. We were at a competition watching a friend compete when her barbell collar snapped off and she lost valuable time scrambling to get a replacement. Erik (Hopperstad, President) and I shook our heads, turned to each other and figured there had to be a better way. Hence the inception of the Talon™! We came up with the concept, but then quickly got sidetracked on focusing our time and attention to the Profile Racks.
The weight lifting world still needs a better barbell collar and this project has been on the backburner long enough! Everyone we've talked to about our idea has been super enthusiastic and some gym owners have even committed to purchase double-digit quantities once we have them available. So to ensure we'd have the resources to put into getting the Talon™ produced, we decided to try a kickstarter.
From Concept to Reality
I put together the first prototypes in my garage. It took a few times to get it to work the way we had envisioned it, but I got it.
Then it came time to do the video and get a logo. I'd had the name 'Talon' floating around in my head for a while, so we ran it by a few people and decided it was really descriptive and appropriate to our new barbell collar. So we had our name. We submitted the concept and name to 99designs (a marketplace for graphic design), and within 24 hours we literally had hundreds of designs to evaluate. Very cool service.
We're asking for $9,000. We launched on Monday and came out of the gate strong--we've already surpassed the 50% mark! Our project ends April 6th, so we're hoping we don't lose any steam. We're running a contest for a free Olympic Elite Barbell for people to either back our project or help us get the word out to everyone they know in the Crossfit, weightlifting, and fitness communities!
Details on how to win the barbell can be found here: https://gleam.io/fb/hL8LF
And check out our Talon Barbell Collar Kickstarter Project!
Our Shark Tank Experience
It was some time before Christmas of 2014 when Erik (Hopperstad, PRx Performance President) called to tell me that Shark Tank auditions were going to be in Florida the day before we were supposed to be there for a conference. He asked me what I thought and I was already on the airline’s website to change our tickets!
We arrived for auditions in January of 2015 not knowing what to expect. We were one of over 700 other hopefuls that showed up that day. The producers told us it was going to be an easy in-and-out and not to expect any kind of follow-up. We’d have one minute to deliver our pitch and make it stick!
Well, we apparently made an impression because we heard back within a couple of weeks. We were asked to make an audition tape. We had a blast filming!
Erik Hopperstad, President and Brian Brasch, CEO filming their audition tape
For our audition, we wanted to tell the story of where and why our products were created. A popular maker of CrossFit equipment was urging people to turn their garage into a gym. Well, that concept doesn't work for us in North Dakota so we came up with a line of products that fold up out of the way when not in use...thereby transforming your garage into a gym AND still allowing you to park your car in there. #ownthewall
That worked. We had a film date! Oh wow, we had a film date!
No idea what to expect
As a small startup, the amount of preparation you have to do to get ready to go in the ‘Tank’ is crazy intense. It’s like pitching to a venture capitalist…except instead of culling your pitch to one VC, you have to prepare to go in front of five! And each of the five has different things they look for when sizing up a possible investment. So we tried to prepare ourselves for any one of the curveballs they could throw at us.
The next few months were spent figuring out our pitch, working with the ABC team, and then finally practicing practicing practicing our intro to the Sharks. We can’t believe we were able to answer their questions with any semblance of coherency. Just shows what the brain can do under such intense pressure!
That pesky non-disclosure agreement
Erik Hopperstad, President and Brian Brasch, CEO filming Shark Tank
So we filmed in June of 2015 and were under an extremely stringent non-disclosure agreement. We were allowed to share with our spouses and that was it. Here you’ve got the best news of your life and you can’t tell anyone! We couldn’t even share that we’d filmed, much less that we’d gotten a deal.
Fast-forward to February – what a ride!
We got official word in January that our episode was going to air, but didn’t get an actual air date. We heard in early February that we’d be airing on the 26th and could start actually telling people about two weeks prior to our episode airing. That’s when things really started to kick in to high speed! We had been talking about doing a website re-design and decided we really wanted to put our best foot forward for the influx of traffic we’d see. And then inventory. How do you prepare for something on this scale?!? We felt like we were in pretty good shape until ABC called us about noon on Thursday, February 18th to let us know our episode had gotten bumped up and would be airing on Sunday, February 21st instead of the original February 26th date.
So yeah. We were still days away from putting the new website live, we hadn't contacted any press yet, we had to redo all our social posts with new dates, and we had planned to have inventory come in the week of the show, not prior. I think we all had our mini-meltdowns when we heard the news and then just got to work.
We quickly re-scheduled the viewing party we had just gotten lined up, put the website redesign on steroids, contacted our vendors to get our materials here as fast as possible, and basically just tried to keep our heads above water for the next week or so!
The Viewing Party
We invited friends and family out to a local brewing company (thanks Drekker!) to join us to watch the live airing of our episode. What an amazing and fun night! It was wonderful to be surrounded by so much love and support for the big reveal. Everyone cheered when we got our deal and cheered even louder when we put up this photo that Kevin O'Leary's (our shark investor) publicist sent us!
A buffed up Kevin O'Leary
The next chapter
After the episode aired, Kevin filmed a special video to congratulate us on our deal and with the message, 'go make me some money!' So our plans going forward are to do just that. We've got several products in the research and development pipeline and are excited to have additional resources to devote to that. <spoiler>Watch for our kickstarter coming soon for a product we know is going to be our most popular yet!
If you tuned into Shark Tank tonight, you saw PRx Performance get a surprise deal from Kevin O'Leary, the shark commonly referred to as 'Mr. Wonderful.' What you didn't see, was the special video he filmed for the Shark Tank viewing party to shine a spotlight on the work another group from Fargo is focused on.
Unseen is a non-profit dedicated to providing resources to organizations around the world working to end human trafficking. Did you know there are more than 30 million people caught in human trafficking today? Unseen partners with, equips and trains the best groups fighting trafficking and its causes.
What a great experience this has been and thank you so much to Kevin for putting this together for this amazing cause!