Your average teenagers spend their time playing video games and trying to get into house parties. However, Carson Grill is different. He was busy developing the Touch Up Cup, an airtight cup for storing excess paint. With the help of his dad, the young entrepreneur got a deal with Shark Tank guest investor, Blake Mycoskie. As of 2023, Touch Up Cup is worth $3 million.
Carson and Jason Grill are from Cincinnati, Ohio. Jason works full-time as a medical salesman, while his son is currently studying at Bishop Fenwick High School and is expecting to graduate in 2024.
For as long as he can remember, Carson has been an avid fan of Shark Tank and it inspired him to start his own business. With his father’s help, the duo has created a promising business.
When he was just 13 years old, Carson helped his dad do some touch-up painting in their house. Upon opening a few cans of used paint, they realized the liquid was rusty, smelly, and should be thrown out. It was a waste, but it sparked a business idea in Carson’s mind.
Founding Touch Up Cup
Carson thought that there must be a way to conserve paint for future use. The concept for the Touch Up Cup came to him after discussing the issue with his father. The product is a polypropylene container with a silicon seal that can store paint for up to ten years.
The Grills founded DZ Innovations, Inc. in 2016 to start production. The two founders split the company’s roles 50/50. Jason took care of patenting and public relations, while Carson was focused on daily operations.
After getting a manufacturing partner in Nashville, Tennessee, the product became available in 4,000 stores. Under DZ Innovations, the entrepreneurs also made unique containers for bagels, muffins, and donuts. With this, they earned $220,000 in two years.
Shark Tank Pitch
In 2020, Carson and Jason Grill appeared on season 12 of the show, asking for $150,000 for 10% equity. The 13-year-old took control during the pitch. His father Jason stood back and let him shine but was also there when he needed help.
He was very composed throughout the presentation, and the Sharks were impressed with his business vocabulary. The cup design was a bestseller, but their other patented containers were also part of the deal.
However, after the entrepreneurs admitted that neither of them worked on the startup full-time, most Sharks backed out. Nonetheless, Blake Mycoskie stood his ground and did $150,000 for 17.5%.
Success After Shark Tank
While the episode was airing their website TouchUpCup.com, received around 40,000 visitors and got over 5,000 orders, which Carson and Jason had to ship personally.
The company eventually added new products such as a food-saving product for bagels, muffins, and donuts. They also increased their average order value from $15 to $25. Apart from the Touch Up Cup website, the product can be purchased on Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes.
With the big surge in sales and publicity, they are working hard to keep up with demand. The Grills have been getting calls from Australia and New Zealand from people who want to rep the product. The business was featured on Good Morning America’s “Steal and Deals” segment and got another huge bump in orders.
So far, the products are receiving mostly positive reviews with 67% of customers giving them five stars on Amazon. Touch Up Cup is booming and Carson is balancing his school work with running the business. The company was forecasting $2 million in revenue for 2021 and is worth an estimated $3 million.