Prank-O Fake Product Gift Boxes

A good sense of humor undoubtedly comes in handy in the life of an entrepreneur, something to lighten the mood during times of stress or adversity. But Ryan Walther, Arik Nordby, and Ryan Dolan, took the concept of humor to a whole new level. They managed to create a profitable business selling empty boxes – no joke!

The boxes aren’t meant to remain empty, however. The Prank-O website encourages people to “disguise your gift in a stupid box.” So, for example, you have actually bought a very nice gift for a friend, but put it in a box that claims to contain an Earwax Candle Kit, or Bacon Scented Dryer Sheets. Imagine the look on that poor friend’s face when they think you have given them something really ridiculous, stupid and disgusting. And the relief when they realize it’s just a joke.

Ryan Walther had started writing for “Onion,” a satirical newspaper when he was a student at University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Arik Nordby was an artist, who describes himself as “Just a guy from the Midwest that digs creating things that amuse.”

Arik had created a novelty item called Prank Pack (originally called the Gotcha Box), and was selling through the Onion online store. The Prank Pack proved to be so popular that within a year or so it was the best selling item in the store.

Realizing that it made no sense to simply market one item through the Onion store, in 2009 Arik Nordby, Ryan Walther along with Ryan Dolan, another writer for Onion, created 30 Watt with the goal of creating and marketing a variety of novelty items, both online and in retail stores. In an interview with Twin Cities Business Magazine on 8/31/2015, Dolan explained their reasoning. “Back then, the Onion store was doing very well, but I said ‘we make all of this really funny stuff and it would be kind of odd to only sell it on this one tiny shop on the Internet.’”

Arik Nordby (designer), Ryan Dolan (business manager) and Ryan Walther (salesman), made a powerful team and worked tirelessly together to grow their business. Dolan describes Walther as “the best salesperson I’ve ever seen and I still remember our first trip to see Urban Outfitters… Walther is a super persistent guy and told them we have all these amazing ideas. So we showed them our six products and they asked ‘what else have you got?” An important lesson they learned from this and similar contacts with retailers is that “…when you meet bigger retailers, they want solutions. They can’t buy one Prank Pack from us and then go find some funny glassware person. So what our advantage to them is we are a one-stop shop.”

Prank Fake Product Gift Box Shark Tank 2

By the time of the Twin Cities Business Magazine article, 30 Watt had been in business for six years and had grown to a company with 14 employees, roughly doubling their sales every year. Their novelty items were appearing in numerous retail stores around the country, including Kohl’s, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Target.

The Prank Pack name was changed in September 2018 to Prank-O, and it remains the foundation of 30 Watt’s sales. Former Yahoo! Tech Guru David Pogue reviewed the Prank-O and explained its appeal: “They’re the boxes for screamingly funny, hilariously awful, but scarily plausible products that don’t really exist. The photography, typography and layout of these boxes are perfect. I mean, they look exactly like the cheesiest products you’d buy from TV infomercials.” (Arik estimates that each box takes an average of 40 hours to design.)

30 Watt has a team of creative designers, and their “biographies” on the website are entertaining and consistent with the overall tone of the company. As the Twin Cities Magazine article began, “It wouldn’t be farfetched to liken 30 Watt to a bizarro Hallmark rival.”

Pranko.comBuy from Amazon

Shark Tank Air Date: 12/2/18 – Season 10 – Episode 7

 

FEATURED PRODUCT

Season 11 Episode 21

Personalized Skincare

PROVEN formulates customized skincare products based on your skin genome profile, including 47 factors about you, your environment, lifestyle and skin concerns. The power behind PROVEN is our award-winning Skin Genome Project™ database, which uses the wisdom of 4,000 scientific papers and 20 Million consumer reviews to understand what works for you.

FEATURED PRODUCT

PROVEN: Personalized Skincare System

SEASON 11 EPISODE 21
PROVEN formulates custom skincare products based on your skin genome profile.

LATEST PITCHES

Copper Cow Coffee: Vietnamese Pour Over Coffee

The pour over method of brewing coffee is an intricate process that extracts a more vibrant flavor from the grounds. When that process is...

Dino Don Animatronic Dinosaurs

Don Lessem earned a BA in Art History from Brandeis University and then a Masters in Animal Behavior at UMass Boston. He began his...

Super Potty Trainer

Judy Abrahams was not making any progress toilet training her young daughter, Hayat. The problem was that Hayat was terrified of the toilet. Maybe...

Lit Handlers Koozies

Destiny Robison Padgett’s Lit Handlers come in a variety of sizes, colors and designs, as well as shapes that will fit your favorite beverage...

Float ‘N’ Grill

After pursuing studies in diesel technology and mechanical engineering, Mike Bashawaty became the owner and operator of his own diesel shop. His friend, Jeremy...

Fling Golf

FlingGolf is a sport that combines golf and lacrosse. It’s played on a regular golf course with a FlingStick thrower, a lacrosse stick reimagined...