Krista Woods is an inventor, an entrepreneur and three humans call her "mom." She has been given an Entrepreneur of the Year award and won NBC's "Next Big Thing." She's appeared on national television multiple times. And now, she is doing business with former Yankee Alex Rodriguez and television personality Lori Greiner. But her own fears almost prevented any of this from happening.
Woods first made waves in the entrepreneur community in April 2016, when she won NBC's "Next Big Thing" for her patented product, GloveStix, an odor management system that absorbs moisture and eliminates odor-causing bacteria from sports equipment; her son's stinky lacrosse gloves served as her inspiration. After her successful pitch on live television where she was crowned the winner, she was ushered off to QVC the very next morning where she got to sell her product for the first time in front of a national audience -- she sold out of her entire stock (more than 1,000 units) in 7.5 minutes.
"When I first started out, and especially after 'The Today Show' stuff, everyone was telling me I had to be on 'Shark Tank'," says Woods. "I fought it so hard. I was scared to go from the highs of winning and QVC to the possibility of losing on 'Shark Tank.' But once I admitted to that fear, I decided to just Google when the next open casting call was, just to see. It just so happened to be the exact same day that I would be in New York to go back on 'The Today Show' and announce the 2017 "Next Big Thing" competition. It just felt like fate, and I knew I had to fight my fears and just go for it."
Of course it wasn't a cakewalk from there, as Woods had to endure standing in line for hours, just to get a chance to audition before she would pitch in a dark, cold warehouse in front of producers with dozens of other applicants simultaneously pitching around her. Even after she was selected for the next round, she went through months of "next steps" before finally being flown out to Los Angeles for a taping, all the while being told that there were no guarantees she'd ever pitch in front of the Sharks, or have her episode air if she did pitch.
When the big day finally came, Woods went into the tank asking the sharks for $150,000 for a 10 percent stake in her company, but says that she was willing to go up to 15 percent max. After an emotional discussion regarding Woods' roots as a single mother and whether she'd be able to handle delegating as a perfectionist, she was shocked when she realized she had snagged two sharks on her line: both Greiner and Rodriguez wanted in. They countered at 20 percent, but Woods still had that number 15 in her head, so she offered that instead, saying she felt it couldn't hurt. Ultimately, they struck a deal for $150,000 at 17.5 percent.
"I felt like with having two sharks on board, particularly with their vastly different backgrounds and the skill sets they bring to the table, it was a no-brainer," says Woods. "So I went up 2.5 percent to that final 17.5 percent number, and I'm more than OK with it."
Given that she waited months to hear whether her episode would even be aired, and was only given six days notice of her air date, life after "Shark Tank" has been a complete whirlwind for Woods. Though producers of the show are very careful to warn contestants not to make any major investments or changes to their daily business in case they don't air, Woods went ahead and prepared in advance for an onslaught of orders, and placed a large order in July for $80,000 worth of inventory as well as hiring a web engineer to ensure her website could handle the increased traffic load. And thank goodness she did, because she sold out on Amazon within 24 hours of her air date, and has not yet had a single website crash.
So what's next for Woods? That's actually her least favorite question right now, as she says she's barely had time to shower since "Shark Tank" let alone look ahead to the future of the company. She's still in the due diligence stage of finalizing her business plans with Greiner and Rodriguez, but hopes that they will be able to work everything out soon, so she can start learning retail and packaging knowledge from Greiner, while working with Rodrigeuz to get GloveStix in front of as many athletes as possible.
"For me, this is ultimately about how you make people feel, not the money in the bank," says Woods. "My goal is to be known as a company that started out of a garage, that is successful not because it sells a lot of product or makes a lot of money, but because it is inspiring a lot of people and changing lives for the better."