People have stopped carrying cash in this highly digital world. Instead, paying from their mobile devices, smartwatches, and credit cards through the NFC feature is much more reliable and easier.
And why should they when all you need to pay is to touch your smart device or card to the NFC detector machine?
But believe it or not, some people like the traditional way of carrying money on them – cash.
The feel of bills stacked in the wallet is quite satisfactory for many. However, not everyone prefers a thick wallet poking their legs or the backside when put in the pocket.
For this reason, a creative entrepreneur came up with the idea of a band that helped stack the cash in one place.
Ultimately, only the cash took space in your pocket, eliminating the thick look of your back or front pocket.
The million-dollar question is: was this product necessary? Does it solve a specific need? Well, Johnny Gennaro, the genius behind this invention, thought so!
In detail, let’s look at Broccoli Wad’s journey before, during, and after Shark Tank.
Broccoli Wad is a rubber band that people can use to keep their money stacked in one place. This rubber band is similar to what you will find in the grocery store, keeping the goods in a package.
This rubber band was named Broccoli Wad after looking at the image of how the band helps store the cash in the shape of broccoli packaged in a supermarket.
Johnny Gennaro and Vincent Pastrone pitched their product to the famous ABC show “Shark Tank” in 2011, seeking an investment of $50,000 for 20% of their business’s stake.
Here is the summary of Broccoli Wad:
|Company Name||The official name of the Company is Broccoli Wad|
|Website / social media||There is no website|
|Episode||It appeared in Season 2, Episode 4|
|Product Offering||Money band for holding cash|
|Founded||It was founded in 2012|
|Who is the Founder?||Johnny Gennaro and Vinny Pastore is the founder of the Company|
|What is the required Investment||$50,000 for a 20% share|
|How much is the closing deal?||$50,0000 for a 40% share|
|Offered Sharks||Barbara Corcoran|
|What is the current status of the business?||Out of Business|
Johnny Gennaro, the product innovator, got inspired to design Broccoli Wad from a documentary on the original Made Men (Mafiosos).
He observed how these mafia members used rubber bands as clips to hold money taken from the bunches of packed broccoli.
This led to him visualizing a stable, stronger, and customizable version of these ‘broccoli’ bands. Johnny Gannero chose the name Broccoli Wad to revere the band’s origin.
Johnny teamed with Vincent Pastore, an actor famous for his frequent mafia roles in the entertainment industry.
Vincent has appeared in multiple shows like HBO’s Sopranos and the Goodfellas (a critically acclaimed film).
Adding Pastore to the business as a subsidiary was a crucial step. However, it wasn’t enough. That’s how they both decided to take the product to Shark Tank’s platform.
As mentioned before, Johnny Gannero is the inventor and founder of the Broccoli Wad. Johnny has previously also introduced multiple successful products to the public.
Twinstars Productions LLC on LinkedIn in 2010 led to Gannero’s strong grip on team leadership and marketing skills.
Other businesses have deemed his marketing skills fruitful as he helped them reach their full potential.
Johnny also worked at Helen of Troy as their Vice President of Sales before creating the Broccoli Wad and other inventions.
His leadership and team-building skills and his team scored large-scale sales throughout the years.
Before working for Helen of Troy, Johnny was a Regional Sales Manager for Conair, where he studied and researched market trends.
Johnny Gannero and Vincent Pastore (Vinny) appeared on the famous Shark Tank seeking an investment of $50,000 in exchange for 20% of their business, Broccoli Wad’s equity.
Johnny gave the product demo by carrying a wad of cash and clipping the rubber band.
The inventor further said that investing in his business was a deal impossible to refuse. He further told the Sharks that the inspiration for this product came from a documentary about an FBI agent infiltrating a mafia mob.
According to him, intelligent men didn’t carry wallets. Instead, they opted for money in cash with rubber around to hold it. Kevin refuted this by asking where wise men could put their credit cards.
The guest Shark in that episode made a joke by saying that wise men didn’t use credit cards as they didn’t want to be followed.
Vinny jumped in with his part of the pitch and told the Sharks that the idea behind this product was ridiculous.
However, after seeing the product, his mind changed, and he found the rubber bands adorable. Robert questioned how Johnny came up with a $250,000 valuation of a piece of a rubber band.
Despite the humor and laughs surrounding the pitch, Barbara remained unimpressed by the product and called it ‘the worst ever product on Shark Tank’ and decided to opt-out. Kevin asked about the marketing efforts put into this product.
According to Johnny Gannero, each Broccoli Wad kit had two rubber bands with metal sliders at a retail price of $10 to $14.
He further explained that they made two 2-minute advertisements starring Vincent and other former Sopranos colleagues.
They were ready to launch their marketing campaign, where Vincent added that he gave his word on appearing at Atlantic City casinos.
When Daymond asked about the money invested in the project, all the Sharks were stunned to find that Johnny had spent $200,000.
But Vinny pitched in and said $190,000 was his fee. Broccoli Wad had two 2-minute television promos, and Kevin inquired if he needed the money to purchase more air time.
Robert found the idea absurd that the product was sold without Vinny’s picture on the packaging.
Barbara entered the debate again and inquired why wasn’t the product called the Vinny Wad. The other Sharks went out of the deal, and that’s when Barbara presented what she thought. She decided to give Johnny $50,000 but at 40% equity.
This deal came with conditions like the packaging would have Vinny’s name and face and that she would split her 40% with Vinny to reimburse him. Barbara further asked about the number of pieces Johnny Gannero had in inventory.
Johnny said that they currently had 50,000 units. He further explained that he didn’t pursue air time on Shark Tank solely for finances. He needed marketing expertise for his product to reach the heights he envisioned.
Since Barbara excels in sales and marketing, she asked if Johnny would accept the offer. Eventually, he accepted the offer and got the deal done.
Typically, products airing on Shark Tank receive fame as soon as they move out of the set’s doors.
The same happened with Broccoli Wad. Barbara helped sell Broccoli Wad products. Vincent Pastore’s face was placed on the product’s packaging.
However, the name remained the same. You may still find the product on Amazon. Moreover, the product’s price has increased significantly to $55 for two bands with metal sliders. The sad truth remains that the product was discontinued after a few years.
Johnny mentioned that he moved on to other endeavors by collaborating with Twinstars Productions’ team and creating hair care and home products.
The iCurler is an excellent example of another innovation by Johnny. This innovative item uses infused air technology to curl hair.
According to Johnny Gannero’s valuation, Broccoli Wad had an estimated net worth of $250,000 before appearing on Shark Tank. However, since the business is out of order, we can assume its net worth to be 0.
Johnny Gannero received the investment he sought of $50,000 but at 40% equity of the business. Johnny allowed Vinny’s face on the product’s packaging but didn’t change the name.
According to July 2021’s update, Broccoli Wad remained licensed under the State of New Jersey. However, the site remains unresponsive due to a lack of management. In fact, the socials of the company remain unused.
The product received good ratings from people on Amazon but didn’t soar high and ultimately collapsed after a year or so.
Only a few offline products soar and make a name in this fast-paced digital world. With proper marketing and funding, these products can compete.
Otherwise, inexperience and lack of funding result in the bankruptcy of these small businesses within a year of their launch.
Shark Tank is, without a doubt, the biggest name in reality, TV shows. It has garnered incredible popularity over the years among entrepreneurs for the perfect reasons.
Entrepreneurs come on this show hoping to seek good investments and expertise from the Sharks to establish and scale their brands.
Only businesses with unique ideas are given a chance to appear on Shark Tank and land a mesmerizing sales pitch that can score the right Shark investors. Broccoli Wad tried to do the same thing.
Even though the business landed a good deal, it didn’t come through. This is because products with no real use don’t last long.
Currently, the product is out of business, and the story of Broccoli Wad ended with Shark Tank.