So I finally got around to watching an episode of the new ABC reality TV series, Shark Tank. This is the show where budding entrepreneurs do a show-and-tell before a panel of five highly successful venture capitalists, hoping to get a big booster shot of cash in return for giving the investor(s) an interest in the company. I rarely watch reality shows, for in my opinion most of them are worse than useless, but Shark Tank fascinates me. One segment on last night's episode (Episode 4) really caught my attention.
The second presenter on Episode 4 was a Texas woman named Gina Cotroneo, whose mission is to spread happiness through the world via her company, Soul's Calling. Soul's Calling offers products such as brightly colored umbrellas with positive sayings, positively-messaged bracelets with interlocking parts (to symbolize our interconnectedness, of course), and flip-flops that have positive words embossed on their soles so they leave uplifting messages in the sand. (Would that be "Sole's Calling?") Gina handed a bracelet to each of the sharks, and they oohed and ah'd. She offered a demo of the positive flip-flops as well; an assistant donned a pair, stepped into a little sand box, meowed, and then peed and tried to bury it... Oh, not really. The assistant stepped out of the box, leaving, of course, an inspiring message in the sand.
I actually thought that was pretty cool, and in fact I think Gina should also make footwear for pets and livestock. Perhaps she could team up with Joe Vitale's assistant Suzanne, owner of Intentional Treasures, and offer a line of pet footwear with the four magic Ho'opononpononononononononononononono phrases on their soles. This wouldn't work so well in litter boxes, of course, due to the way cats shuffle the sand around and fling much of it out of the box, but it would certainly be a viable product for, say, people who take their dogs to the beach. There could even be an equine version for folks who like to go horseback riding on the beach, though the words would have to be short, or the point size of the font small, given the limited real estate on a horse's hoof as compared to a human foot. Same thing goes with our porcine pals, who could don little Soul's Calling boots and fill their muddy pens with words of encouragement, causing the positivity vibes to radiate out into the Universe. The possibilities are endless, and I'm getting excited just thinking about it.
In fact, I think the Universe is really telling Gina to get into the companion-animal/livestock market. Just look at this eye-opening scientifical information on her web site:
Positive Energy Transfer (PET) is a very important component to the Soul’s Calling brand.P-E-T. Could it really be any clearer? (Gina, I do expect royalties for the quadruped product line.)
I send conscious positive energy into all the products by means of prayer and meditation, with the intent that they carry joy wherever they go. Requests for awareness and conscious creation are also made to the manufacturers as a way of helping to ensure that each product contains the highest “vibe” possible in addition to its more obvious positive message.
Gina didn't really go into the Positive Energy Transfer aspect of her products as she stood before the sharks, but she was full of passion nevertheless, her eyes brimming with emotion as she spoke of how we are all connected and how her products will have a positive effect on the world. The world needs her stuff, she explained. She told the sharks about how hard she'd been trying to get her business going, and how much money she'd already put into her enterprise, and how people invariably fell in love with her products. Yet sales were lackluster. She added that she had promised herself that if she didn't make a profit at a recent New-Wage trade show she attended, she would take that as a sign that she needed to try something else.
As it turned out, she apparently didn't meet her goals for the trade show, but decided to go on pursuing her dream nevertheless. All she needed was a little capital.
As I watched her, I studied her eyes and facial expressions, and I couldn't help thinking, "This person looks and sounds like someone with some troubling personal issues." Turns out I was right, as I later found out when doing my usual cursory research; she was apparently the victim of a violent assault back in the 1990s. (But be careful when you do your own Googling; although her own site seems safe enough, some sites linking to info about Gina apparently carry active viruses and Trojan horses and the like, making your computer vulnerable to a violent assault as well. So much for Positive Energy Transfer.)
I was pretty sure the sharks wouldn't be all that impressed by Gina's passion and sense of purpose. And, indeed, they unanimously rejected her proposal, which involved a 25% stake in her company in exchange for $150,000. "Your numbers just aren't that impressive," they told her. No doubt the real problem is that they are all too full of negative energy.
But y'know, I'm kind of rooting for Gina anyway. I think she should take the rejection by the sharks and run with it, or swim with it, as the case may be (perhaps a "Let's prove the sharks wrong!" campaign and product line would get the ball rolling). There's a whole hungry market out there. Naturally, there's a whole passel of hungry marketeers as well, peddling the same sort of stuff. But Gina at least made it to Shark Tank, putting her a couple of positively-imprinted steps ahead of the thousands of other woo-product pushers.
What she really needs to do now is to try to grab on to the coattails of one of the New-Wage gurus who have scads and scads of money. After all, they're always jawing about how they like to help deserving people. Well, gurus, consider Gina. But Gina, keep your eyes wide open, because some of the most successful New-Wage types – and I refer to those who speak in the loftiest and most flowery terms about making a positive difference in the world – are just sharks masquerading as dolphins.
So on second thought, maybe Gina would just be better off continuing on her own, and trying to get all the free publicity she can from the gurus and their followers. After all, she's got that shark-rejection thing going for her now. That surely ought to count for something.
PS ~ For an inspiring tale of another woman who had a mission and vision and turned it into lots and lots of colorful products, it's hard to beat the tale of Catherina Rodrigues (formerly of Australia, now infesting Oprahland and other U.S. hotspots) and her colorful "Think Love" line. Here's the flowery, inspiring version of her story. Not that I'm in any way advising Gina C. to follow her lead, mind you, but it seems that Catherina has her own unique way of getting venture capital, as Steve Salerno wrote about a couple of years ago on SHAMblog (be sure to read all three parts of the story). On the blog promoting her current U.S. RV tour, which she says was made possible by the kindness of many folks stateside, Catherina writes of her benefactors:
These guys are angels… what causes people to offer up thier [sic] home… thier [sic] RV … thier [sic] time..money…energy…what makes someone drop everything fly halfway across America then drive a big RV to NY to pick up people he met once and drive into the unknown… Wow…it must be love…I am speechless…humbled…basking in gratitude…thank you isn’t enough…you have touched me in the deepest way…I know together we can do amazing things…When love is at the helm all things are possible…Yeah, I just bet it is. Appropriately enough, Catherina calls her group the "Love Bandits." The guy in the Mickey Mouse gloves is
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