There are certain moments in a company’s history that are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Appearing on Shark Tank is one of them. You don’t get to do it twice! Similar to being nominated for an Oscar or a Grammy, once you air on Shark Tank you get to say “as seen on Shark Tank”, forever, regardless of the outcome.
2022 was such a busy year for Nopalera – I didn’t think I could add one more thing to my plate. In the Spring of 2022, when I applied, we were still a team of two and half. We were all wearing many hats. I was in several accelerators and also preparing to do our first fundraise. But when you are a bootstrapped brand, you do whatever it takes to keep your business afloat.
I decided to go for it. I applied online and forgot about it. Several weeks (maybe it was months?) later the show reached out wanting to learn more about Nopalera.
Throughout this founder journey, I periodically pause to give gratitude to my fifteen year music career for teaching me how to consistently put myself out there on stage, how to deal with feedback and rejection, and how to charm the room. Many people do not take risks because they are scared of failing and being embarrassed. I’ve already been-there-done-that enough times to know that YOU ALWAYS SURVIVE. Feelings are fleeting. It’s what you do after that matters.
Our entire brand is rooted in celebrating & elevating our Latino community. So, I never saw this as something I was doing for myself or only for Nopalera. This was an opportunity to bring our beautiful culture to the forefront and make millions of Latinos feel seen, proud, and inspired.
Si Se Puede!
When building a company, the mission is what guides the brand. It’s not about me as the founder. It’s about YOU, the customer.
The vetting process was long. Lots of zoom meetings and paperwork! Just like building a company, you put in a lot of time and effort upfront without attachment to the outcome. It was possible I could go through the entire months-long process and still not get selected or aired. Some risks are worth taking. When in doubt, keep going.
If you’ve seen the show, you know that entrepreneurs get grilled on their numbers. Preparing for the show was a great way to practice being ready for any and every possible question about our business. These are questions one should know the answers to anyway, especially if one plans on fundraising.
Why are millions of Americans so drawn to Shark Tank? I believe it’s because of the power of storytelling. When we share our lived experiences, our struggles, and our dreams, we connect with one another. This is ultimately what it is to be human. We are so much more the same than different. Add to that – the potential to get money to change your life – and it’s a hit!
I went into the tank with an open mind and heart. You never know how it will go.
What TV viewers at home did not see, was that I brought my ancestors into the tank with me. I envisioned them standing next to me on my left side and on my right side. I walked into the tank with a deep pride for everything my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents have gone through to get me to that moment on stage. I felt them. I heard them whisper in my ear, “mija, stand in your worth.”
I feel like the pride was felt in the room. The sharks were kind to me. My ancestors would have it no other way.
In the end, I felt they understood why it turned out the way it did.
My hope is that millions of people see this episode and remember to never settle. There’s always more. You deserve it. You are worth it.
Founder & CEO