Shelly Ehler is amazed at her success after jumping into the Shark Tank with only a towel. Instead of getting eaten alive, she landed a very sweet deal on the ABC television show Shark Tank. She pitched the Sharks her idea of the ShowNo Beach/Bath Changing Towel and the new Shark temporarily sitting in for regular Barbara Corcoran couldn't have been a finer fit for Shelly. It was Lori Greiner, the self made entrepreneur and "Queen of QVC." Shelly made her emotional pitch but also had a great product idea. Lori offered Shelly a check right then and there on stage to form a partnership in business. Shelly's angel had come in the form of a beautiful shark.
Prior to this amazing moment, Shelly had felt like she was drowning, her world was crumbling. She says, "About 4 years ago the recession devastated my husband's 3D modeling business. It was truly the hardest thing either of us had ever gone through. We had to let go of our business and eventually let go of our home. It was devastating."
During this difficult time, Shelly began to turn inward for strength and started to meditate and pray every single morning. "You can't manifest anything while sitting in 'poor me.' I had to decide to live in the present and let go of the negative feelings. Once I learned to live in the moment...things, people, ideas started showing up and lining up." Shelly began every day religiously with twenty minutes of meditation focusing on a list of goals that she had made.
Even in this transition period in her life, she listened to an Aha Moment for a product idea. The idea struck when "I was at the pool with my boys. When it was time to leave and they wanted to change into their dry clothes, I grabbed a big towel to hold around my oldest son so that he could change in privacy. While I was holding his towel and waiting for him to change, my youngest son started complaining that it was his turn! I remember thinking, I wish there were something I could put over them and they could change on their own."
And like many mompreneurs ahead of her, the thought of knowing there's got to be a better way took hold of her. She knew she had to make this ShowNo Towel.
She immediately got going, bought towels, cut a slit in them and began to sew them up herself. She had no idea what she was doing in regard to building a business but she was crafty and most importantly, she had passion and purpose.
Shelly went to a water park tradeshow in October 2010 and after jerryrigging some customized towels with the names of some water parks, she received positive response which added real momentum. She then sent some samples to the Today show and began her own marketing of sorts.
She continued to meditate on her list of goals and she utilized a trick that I that I used when I launched my biz too. It's called "act as if." She began to act as if she was successful and soon enough you believe it, your body believes it and you can sell from a place of confidence rather than desperation. After months of meditating and visualizing, she let go of all of her doubt and things began to happen. Shelly explains that the letting go process was what opened her up to be able to receive. It was a powerful emotional transition.
The same day that she experienced her "letting go," the TODAY show called and wanted to feature the ShowNo towel. Then after the segment aired, the big water park conglomerate (who wasn't so warm and fuzzy at the trade show) called to work with her. Big things were set in motion.
At this point, entrepreneurs usually go from fear to anxiety. I know. I've been there. You believe so strongly in your product, you sell it and then you have to deliver!
Shelly posted the Today show segment on Facebook and it circulated among her friends. Through the magic of social media, Shelly's friend was able to make an intro to someone at the Shark Tank show. Initially, Shelly was terrified and thought she had no business going on that show but she did realize that it could possibly be the answer she needed to propel this business that was showing real potential.
She went back to her optimistic and open minded space and decided, "Yes!" She went to an open casting call and the rest is history. Shelly taped the episode in the summer of 2011 and had to remain mum about the results until this past Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. She says "holding in the joy for 197 days has been torture because joy isn't real until it's shared." To describe Shelly as happy now would be an understatement.
She's been working diligently for over six months now and has more exciting updates to share soon. With Lori Greiner at her side, I can only imagine the opportunities coming her way. Like many viewers, I'm wrapped up in her story and sure to follow her journey of success.
I love an underdog story, the kind that gives me chills when I hear how someone overcame huge obstacles, found a way to be so strong and positive and listen to their inner voice. Shelly is very spiritual about her success and hopes to inspire many other people who are in difficult situations. Her positive energy, optimism and enthusiasm are contagious.
We ended our conversation as Shelly emphasized "It's not about the towel, its believing in your heart and listening to your voice. It's not about the towel." Amen.
Follow Sandy Abrams on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SandyAbrams