Long before they launched PiperWai on Shark Tank, entrepreneurs Sarah Ribner and Jess Edelstein were fourth-grade friends. But they went from pals to colleagues after Edelstein concocted her own natural deodorant and gave Ribner a sample.
Ribner took the sample along with her on a service trip to Guyana, according to The Chestnut Hill Local, and she called her future co-founder on FaceTime to rave about the results. “It’s a million degrees here, and this deodorant you gave me is working,” she told Edelstein at the time. “We need to sell this because it will change people’s lives.”
The product did change lives, especially their own. After Ribner and Edelstein appeared on Shark Tank in Season 7 and landed a deal with Barbara Corcoran, their sales went through the roof.
PiperWai was overwhelmed with orders after their 'Shark Tank' episode aired.
In a Shark Tank update ABC released three months after the PiperWai episode, Ribner and Edelstein said they were inundated with orders. “When we first pitched, we had 110,000 in sales, and we had been in business for only a year and a half,” Ribner told viewers. Edelstein added, “It’s been four weeks, and we reached $1.3 million in sales. Because we had so many sales, we are back-ordered, and we have about 50,000 orders to get out.”
In the clip, Corcoran met with the duo and told them to find new facilities. “The moment you were on Shark Tank, you outgrew this copacker,” she said. “You need a second copacker, two labelers. You need two of everything because you can’t rely on only one supplier. It’s not good business.”
The company eventually parted ways with Barbara Corcoran
After Shark Tank, Ribner and Edelstein spent a year negotiating the details of their offer with Corcoran—even joining her for a retreat in Mexico—but the deal eventually fell apart. “By that point, so much time had passed that both parties were ready to part ways,” Ribner told Well Insiders in 2017.
But the company endured, and even racked up an estimated $5.9 million in revenue by 2017, as The Chestnut Hill Local reported, with Forbes listing both Ribner and Edelstein as one of the 30 Under 30 that same year.
Edelstein left PiperWai in 2019
According to a press release, Edelstein left PiperWai in Apr. 2019, selling her 50-percent stake in the company. “This has been such an epic journey,” she said at the time. “The opportunity to build an impactful business based on a product that I created, and to hear customers call that product ‘life-changing’ has been incredibly humbling and rewarding.”
These days, she’s the host of the podcast Wheels on My Back, which explores life as a neurodivergent person in a neurotypical world.
The company is still in business—and leading the way in sustainable packaging
Earlier this year, PiperWai made waves—pun intended—when it became the first natural deodorant brand to use ocean waste plastic for its packaging. And now, other companies are following PiperWai’s lead, according to Well+Good.
“Bigger brands are definitely hopping on this, and there’s a lot more attention being brought to this type of packaging as one of the potential solutions to the plastics problem in the ocean,” Ribner explained to the site.