Talbott Tea Fed to the Sharks


Talbott Teas founder Shane Talbott and co-founder Steve Nakisher will be intently watching for blood in the water during the ABC TV venture capital show Shark Tank™ Friday.

Any blood sighted will be their own.

Talbottt and Nakisher taped a segment of the program last June determined to convince five tough, self-made wealthy “Sharks” to part with their own hard-earned money as investors in the specialty tea company they founded in 2003.

Neither knows the outcome of their dollars and sense presentation. “We are absolutely on pins & needles waiting for this,” Talbott said this week. “We will be watching live when the program airs at 7 p.m. (CT),” he said.

He confirmed the grilling of the two Chicago entrepreneurs was daunting but “we felt we were well prepared.” Tea is a great story for investors, says Talbott. Increasing the stakes is the fact the Friday evening program bested its three-year high in ratings last week to become the top rated show with adults 18-49.

In the months prior to taping Talbott and Nakisher studied the program intently “and tried to be mentally prepared for the best case (and worst case),” he said.

“We were as honest as we can be. We have a quality product and great passion and love that we pour into it,” he says.

“We think it went well,” says Talbott.

Regulars on the show include billionaire real estate investor Barbara Corcoran and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The investors reviewing Talbott’s venture include Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, Kevin Harrington, Corcoran and Robert Herjavec.

Croatian-born Herjavec is a successful software engineer and Daymond John is founder, president and chief executive officer of FUBU apparel. O’Leary, who publishes “Cold Hard Truth”, sold his educational software company to Mattel for $3.7 billion. Harrington is founder of TV Goods, Inc., Home Shopping Network and a pioneer in infomercials.

When one of the sharks likes an idea, he or she agrees to finance it but when two or more find it interesting they bid to drive away the others. Last week a unique guitar learning system took top money along with a luxury soap called “You Smell.”

Talbott Teas offers a collection of 23 luxury, designer, whole-leaf teas and accessories that are steeped in style. The company was profiled on the Oprah Winfrey show and selected as one of Oprah's "Favorite Things" in 2010. The brand is available at retailers, select luxury hotels and salon spas, Chicago restaurants online at QVC.com.