Last night on Shark Tank, America met Nicole Jones of Chicago. "I've been in love for a very long time," she purred. "In love with shoes!"
Thus was introduced Pillars of Slippers, a retail store with a service that throws shoe parties at ladies' homes. When her pink SUV arrives, the pink carpet unfurls, the champagne cork pops, and the fondue melts. "I throw the ladies into a shoe frenzy," exclaimed Jones, and everyone hopefully racks up big bills buying footwear.
Jones, wearing a pink jacket and sashaying with a hand on her hip, flounced into the Tank and took no prisoners. She vogued in half-light, she kicked open a pink carpet, and she and did a flirtatious mini fashion show before a word was spoken.
During her tightly scripted pitch, there was hooting. There were semi-orgasmic yelps. There were even some basic numbers about how many young women there are in America. A very impressive presentation, theatrically speaking, and certainly one of the sexier showings we've seen. Some of the male Sharks' eyes appeared to go glassier than actual Shark eyes. We were definitely a long way from balls.
But then, the demand: Jones wanted $150,000 for just 15% of her business. That would mean her company would have to be worth at least a million dollars. Knowing she's a one-woman show right now, could she follow that up with justification?
Jones admitted her business, as it existed, was too hard to maintain, and she wanted to dump her retail store so focus on selling at shoe parties and via the Web. "When I look back at all of my financials, where I made the most of my money was in the two distribution channels." -- she made $64,000 last year at her parties -- "So I want to redefine my business."
Jones wanted to franchise out her pink SUVs, which would sell her online product. The catch? That price, too, was high: Franchisees would have to pay $100,000 to get started. Sure, that would include the SUV and inventory, but Herjavec quickly identified a problem: "Do you think that's a problem in this economy, that women are going to have $100,000 to buy a pink SUV?"
No, Jones, said. This would be for women who understand the market.
O'Leary: "Nicole, you're really intriguing, because you get these shafts of white light and pure thinking in between a wafer of nut-bar factor six. I'm trying to decide if you really know what you're thinking or you're just crazy."
Harrington had a few problems. He didn't believe that all of her franchisees could sell shoes like she can, and what's more, to a degree that would justify the $100,000 outlay. He went out. So did Daymond John, saying there was nothing there for him.
Herjavec laid a clever trap for her: "Nicole, would you say you're the ultimate shoe doctoress-professor?"
As if by reflex, she sprang into sales mode: "I am the shoe professah, Robert!"
"I agree with you. I think you've gone to the top of the mountain and you are the best. Here's the problem. The best shoe doctor lady in the world makes $64,000 for the entire year with these parties but now she's going to ask other women to give her $100,000. Your concept is ludicrous, with all due respect, unless you sell one."
Corcoran: "You're too doggone exhausting... As a partner? I'd be on drugs." She went out.
"You're too crazy. That's the bottom line," said O'Leary, going out.
After she had been dispatched empty-handed, Jones proclaimed O'Leary "nutbar number 10." But really, she didn't seem at all perturbed. Was she? Watch our interview with her and find out.
WalletPop doesn't stop there. We've got another interview from last night's show, too. Click here to hear from the two Chicago-area sisters behind SendABall, and find out if there was really some sexual tension between one of them and Robert Herjavec.
You can also check out our video interviews from the entire series by visiting our AfterShark home page: www.dailyfinance.com/after-shark-tank
Nicole Jones, 'The Shoe Professa,' and how losing $150,000 bought her a future