The Woobles sells kits teaching people how to create adorable crochet animals. A company that was started with $200 as a side hobby is now a million-dollar business. Founders Justine Tiu and Adrian Zhang, appeared on season 14 and got a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. As of 2023, The Woobles is valued at $7.5 million.
About the Founders
Justine Tiu and Adrian Zhang are a married couple from Apex, North Carolina. They first met as students at Duke University, where Justine studied electrical and computer engineering, and Adrian pursued biomedical engineering and economics.
After graduating, Tiu worked at Google as a UX designer and product quality associate. A year later, she was promoted to senior UX designer and became a senior UX instructor at Kenzie Academy in 2018.
On the other hand, Zhang started his career as an associate at JP Morgan where he specialized in stock trading algorithms. After four years, the trader was hired as a director at Deutsche Bank.
Founding the Company
Despite having high-paying corporate jobs, Justine and Adrian weren’t satisfied with their career paths. Tiu quit her job at Google, while Zhang worked on Wall Street for seven fruitless years.
When the pandemic started, something moved them to learn about crocheting. They had fun weaving tiny yarn animals, which inspired them to start a business together.
The husband and wife duo started The Woobles in July 2020, selling six cute crochet pets with beginner kits and video tutorials. Their products took the country by storm! They reached $1 million in sales in under a year. As of September 2022, the business has generated $5.3 million in lifetime sales!
Getting on Shark Tank
In early 2022, an ABC producer contacted Justine Tiu and Adrian Zhang about appearing on Shark Tank. The producer read a magazine article regarding their online crochet store and felt it would be a good fit for the show.
The couple was hesitant at first believing they were not reality television material. But in the end, Tiu and Zhang accepted the offer because they knew it could be a game changer for their business. The amount of publicity Shark Tank will drive, is hard to turn down.
Shark Tank Appearance
The couple was looking to raise $250,000 for 5% equity. Based on their sales, they valued the business fairly and were eager to bring a Shark on board. The Sharks loved the product as it was generating strong cash flows and the margins were amazing.
A bidding war soon started as the Sharks all wanted a piece of the action! In the end, Cuban threw Barbara Corcoran under the bus and teamed up with Lori to close the deal. Tiu and Zhang happily accepted $450,000 for 6%.
After Shark Tank
After Shark Tank, Tiu and Zhang anticipate a big increase in orders, and the couple are prepared. Previously, they made their products manually but secured a manufacturing deal with a Chinese company. This will help them scale production and improve their margins in the long term.
Mark Cuban revealed to BizJournals.com that the deal never closed after the show. Cuban believed the couple only wanted the publicity and it was their choice not to finalize the deal.
You can purchase their kits on TheWoobles.com, Amazon, and Etsy. The company is working hard to get into large retail stores such as Target and Joanne. The Woobles are looking to expand internationally as they’re only available in USA and Canada.
They have an average rating of 5 stars from over 1,500 Etsy users. People love their crochet creations, and the company is thriving. The Woobles made $3.1 million in 2021 and were forecasting $7 million in annual revenue for 2022. Currently, the company is worth $7.5 million!
For now, they are still selling crochets but will eventually move into other products. As mentioned during the pitch, licensing and wholesale are two massive avenues to expand. Given the company’s strong growth, it won’t be long until they top $10 million in sales.