SEASON 1 EPISODE 7
gluten free play dough
$125,000 for 25%
$300,000 for 51%
Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, and Kevin O’Leary
IN BUSINESS, ACQUIRED
What is Soy-Yer-Dough?
Soy Yer Dough is a soy and corn-based, gluten-free modelling clay, created as an alternative to wheat-based play doughs for those living with wheat allergies. It is estimated that up 6% of the US population suffers from some form of gluten intolerance, with approximately 1% of the US population suffering from the more severe form, Celiac Disease.
Who Owns Soy Yer Dough?
Soy Yer Dough was co-founded by Sawyer Sparks and his wife, Samantha Sparks. Sawyer was a 22-year old college student when he first pitched the company on Season 1 Episode 7 of Shark Tank. Today, he serves as the CEO of YER Brands (formerly Soy Yer Dough) and Samantha remains on board as the production lead.
Founder’s Story: How Did Soy Yer Dough Start?
The idea for Soy Yer Dough came to Sawyer in 2008 while still a student working towards a degree in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. Sawyer had discovered that his favorite professor had Celiac disease – an illness characterized by an allergy to wheat protein. His professor’s daughter was also afflicted by the disease so he set out to create a fun, scented product that they could both enjoy.
The home grown operation began in Sawyer’s mother’s kitchen where he, his girlfriend Samantha and his mother produced and sold over 8000 units by the time of his appearance on Shark Tank.
What Happened After Shark Tank Update
Did Soy Yer Dough Get a Deal on Shark Tank?
After receiving several offers for his gluten-free play dough, Sawyer Sparks left the Shark Tank, with a deal from Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, and Daymond John for $300,000 for 51% of his company.
During the pitch, Sawyer revealed that he had rejected several offers from Hasbro’s Play Dough, including an offer of $500,000 for the Soy Yer Dough patent.
The Sharks intended to negotiate a better deal with Hasbro, but the deal reportedly never closed.
The company saw a huge boost in sales following the episode’s airing and Sawyer ended up keeping 100% of his company.
Is Soy Yer Dough Still In Business?
According to Sawyer, it was important for him to help bring employment back to his community in Greene County, Indiana.
With the boost in sales, Sawyer was able to build a 6000 square-foot facility in his community where Soy Yer Dough is now produced.
In March 2020, Sustainable Projects Group (SPGX) acquired 100% of Soy Yer Dough’s production rights, know-how, trademarks and manufacturing equipment, with Sawyer remaining on board as CEO and his wife Samantha as the production lead.
Now rebranded as YER dough, the gluten-free modelling clay can be found in over 300 stores nationwide and on their website.
Before the acquisition, SPGX’s financials were in a downward spiral. They hope Soy Yer Dough will be a great asset towards potential revenue and profit generation.
As of March 2021, the YER dough website is up but YER Dough products are currently out of stock and are no longer available on Amazon.
Revenue, Sales and Valuation
Soy Yer Dough left the Shark Tank with a valuation of $588,236 and has grown to over $5 million in sales revenue.
Sales have steadily declined over the past 10 years but the brand hopes to make a come back with its acquisition by SPGX.
Soy Yer Dough Reviews
The company went through a bit of a rough patch in 2012 when batches of dough were recalled due to some missing ingredients which made the dough sticky and difficult to mold.
Customers were understandably upset, but since then reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.
Soy Yer Dough Competitors
Aside from Play Doh, which holds the largest share of the modelling clay market, YER Dough also faces competition from Aroma Dough, a gluten-free and soy-free, aromatherapy play dough that’s been in business since 1992.