Using your phone while doing outdoor activities is a hassle, especially those that require you to wear gloves. Chubby Buttons is a bluetooth remote that allows you to control your phone while wearing gloves. Founders Justin Barad and Mike Cherkezian pitched their product on Shark Tank but couldn’t get a deal. Clearly their pitch didn’t press the right buttons! As of 2023, Chubby Buttons is worth an estimated $2.5 million.
About the Founders
Justin Barad hails from New York City, and studied chemistry at NYU. Barad has worked in business development at companies such as Rover Diagnostics, Fooda, and Boomerang, Inc. You could tell from watching the pitch that he has a background in sales!
Also from New York, Michael Cherkezian graduated from Boston College with a BA in Communications and Mathematics. He started out as a trading analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners and currently works in investment research sales at Envestnet | Yodlee.
Founding the Company
While skiing, one of Justin and Mike’s friends had trouble skipping a song on his phone with his little headset. As a result, he resorted to taking off his gloves and digging for his phone in his jacket.
An idea popped into Justin’s head during this moment, he thought of a bluetooth device with big buttons that could control a phone’s music and answer calls. It could also attach to your arm and different surfaces, making it ideal for most outdoor sports.
Chubby Buttons came to life in 2017 and sold 5,000 units in their first year. Although Mike worked part-time on the venture, their sales were strong and they managed to recoup the founders’ initial investment. Those 5,000 units resulted in a run rate of $275,000.
Getting on Shark Tank
The company’s growth continued at a healthy pace when it released Chubby Buttons 2. Due to its weather-proof and nano-suction properties, the new version became a favorite with adrenaline junkies.
Chubby Buttons has been featured on publications including Motorcycle Mojo, X Games, and Mashable. However, its founders want to expand operations and viewed Shark Tank as the perfect platform to get in front of 10 million viewers.
After Shark Tank
Despite the episode only airing, thousands of viewers will be heading straight to their website to place an order. The first 48 hours are the most manic for companies that appear on Shark Tank.
Chubby Buttons is a niche product and it’s an effective solution for outdoor enthusiasts. The device also sells for around $75 which is reasonable. You can buy it in three different colors through ChubbyButtons.io, and Amazon.com.
On their website, the latest version of the product has a 5-star average rating from 127 customer reviews. The majority of reviews online are positive but some Amazon customers highlighted the product doesn’t last long. The company has sold 16,000+ units with over $1.2 million in lifetime sales.