Successful businesses can begin in the most unexpected places. Like in line at a post office. Michele Kapustka had a ball she was going to mail to a friend. She had found out that the post office would mail just about anything. A man in line asked her about the ball, then offered to pay her to mail a ball for him. Instead, she explained to him how to do it, but by the time she got home, the idea for a mail-order business had taken shape. She immediately called her sister (and neighbor and business partner), Melisa Moroko, and together they founded Send a Ball, an online company for sending greeting balls rather than greeting cards.
The sisters set up shop in Michele’s garage with their combined seven children as “worker bees.” The colorful balls are custom-printed with messages like “Have a ball on your birthday!” or “Bounce back soon!” The recipient’s address is written on the ball, and stamps are affixed. The inflated balls ship without a box, packaging or bubble wrap and are delivered by regular mail carriers. Yearly sales were $100,000.
The sisters were asking for a investment so that they could purchase the equipment to make the balls. Their supplier could no longer keep up with the demand. They also wanted to be mentored by a shark. But the sharks did not bite, some because they felt the sisters were doing fine all by themselves, others because the business could easily be copied.
The sharks were right. The business was copied, but Michele and Melisa were “first to market,” a distinct advantage, and they had been on Shark Tank—instant celebrities! And they did fine without a shark. Send a Ball is rolling right along. The website is filled with rave reviews from their happy customers. The estimated revenue for 2020 was $1,000,000.