Aaron Krause’s parents, both doctors, were concerned about what Aaron was going to do after college. All they knew was that he wasn’t headed to medical school. When they found out that his fervent desire was to own and operate a car-washing business, they were puzzled and still concerned.
Aaron was happy as president and CEO of his business, but dissatisfied with the quality of the materials he used, particularly the buffing pads. Always the inventor, he set out to find an alternative and succeeded with a urethane foam. He eventually sold his car-washing business (at a tidy profit) to manufacture his buffing pads. He also invented the machinery to produce the pads. Being hands on, literally, his hands were always grimy, so his next goal was to invent something to clean the oil and grease off of his hands. A German company custom made a foam for him. Aaron cut a circle out of the foam, cut two holes into it to clean his fingers, and ridged the edge for an easy grip. Not only did it clean his hands perfectly, but it rinsed out completely clean. After a while, 3M swooped in and bought his business in what Aaron calls “a life-altering deal.” But 3M did not want the funny-looking little sponge.
Aaron was sure he could sell the sponge himself as an alternative to the harsh chemicals and pumice that auto mechanics, detailers and body shops use, but his target market was not interested. So he packed up the sponges and marked the boxes “Scrap.” Fortunately, after much nagging by his wife, he finally got around to cleaning the lawn furniture. He figured that would be a good way to use up some of the scrap material. It was only then that he realized he had something unique: a sponge that changed texture, soft in hot water, stiff in cold water—a dual duty sponge. He then tested it when washing dishes; that’s when it got the “smile” to clean spoons. (The very catchy name, Scrub Daddy, is due to the tradition in Aaron’s family of men doing the dishes.) Next stop, Shark Tank. Lori, Kevin and Daymond battled each other to invest in Scrub Daddy, offering higher and higher valuations. Lori won.
Where Is Scrub Daddy Now?
The night the episode aired, the Scrub Daddy website was overwhelmed with customers. The next day, Aaron and Lori sold 42,000 sponges in 7 minutes on QVC. In 2019, Scrub Daddy was estimated to be worth $170 million with the highest revenue of any product successfully pitched on Shark Tank. It is the third-largest sponge company in the U.S. and continues to gain on 3M.
Scrub Daddy now has a whole family to keep him company on all those shelves in all those stores around the world: Scrub Mommy, the Big Daddy, the Scrub Daisy, the Scrub Daddy Lemon Fresh, and the Daddy Caddy. Products include mops, dish wands, microfiber towels and soap dispensers.