Jeff Wolsky always loved bobbleheads—those dolls whose heads keep bobbing up and down. And he always wanted a bobblehead of himself. He had to start his own business, The Bobble Place, to get his custom-made bobblehead. On the website, customers send in photos of themselves, family members or friends, and the custom bobbleheads are sculpted. Jeff had already sold more than 1,000,000 dolls and was making $550,000 a year.
Jeff gave each shark his/her own bobblehead. They were impressed. Then there was the bad news. Jeff was not looking for an investment in that business. He wanted to start a new business, bobblehead kiosks in shopping malls, amusement parks, national chain stores. That way he could reach a whole new market. His online business was not included in the deal.
There was a huge communication problem. Jeff couldn’t understand why the sharks needed a piece of the successful business in order to invest in the new business. The sharks couldn’t understand why it wasn’t obvious to Jeff that they were not going to take a risk in an untested business without the insurance of an established business. Kevin O’Leary and Robert continued to bid against each other regardless. Then they partnered up. Then they split up. Jeff muddied the waters even more when he kept changing the amount of the investment and the equity.
Jeff still owns 100% of his company, and it’s fabulously successful. He changed the name to Webobble and gave up the kiosk idea. He has hundreds of bobblehead bodies waiting for custom heads and ready-made bobbleheads. He also has a factory full of employees, some of them skilled artisans for the sculpting and finishing, others mold makers, still other packers, also a skilled position since each bobblehead gets it own custom-made box.