|SEASON 11 EPISODE 24|
|Pitch||vegan, halal, cruelty-free customizable soap and body care|
|Entrepreneur||Anthony Duncan, Mohamed A. and Mohamed M. Mahdi|
|Asked For||$60,000 for 10%|
|Deal||$60,000 for 20%|
What is The Mad Optimist?
The Mad Optimist makes sustainable soaps and body care products. Everything from: Soap, lip balm, shaving creams, scents, and bath soaks.
Their USP (unique selling point) is that you can build, personalize and customize the size, shape, and smell of the products—aptly named build your body care, with a sliding scale on prices and inclusions.
Customers can do this on their website using helpful step-by-step guides, and pay what they can afford between $7 to $14 per product.
They also make use of all-natural products for the ingredients, which are plant-based and vegan friendly.
Who Owns The Mad Optimist?
The co-founders include brothers Mohammed A. Mahdi, Mohammed M. Mahdi, and best friend Anthony Duncan, who started the business in 2012.
All three attended the University of Indiana and majored in political science (Mohammed A), psychology (Mohammed M), and linguistics (Anthony).
In addition, all three worked in their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. The three men are still listed as co-founders and executives of the company, with their headquarters in the same town.
The idea for the business started while all three founders were flat sharing, learning that the list of inclusions for making traditional soaps is animal fats. Being Muslim and vegan, this went against their core beliefs.
So they started out making the soap in their kitchen using oils as the key ingredient, then partnered with a rebranding firm, LPK. And so the Mad Optimist was born, the name coming from putting people and the environment before profits.
Focusing their sales to primarily online and at farmers’ markets, they managed to generate around $800,000 in sales over seven years. Having quit their jobs, and living off family donations in order not to take a salary, they felt the need to grow for the business to be sustainable long-term.
Hoping to raise their brand awareness and attract a well-known investor, they began looking for opportunities to showcase their business to a greater audience.
What Happened After Shark Tank Update
Despite an unusual approach, allowing the customer to decide what they pay, the unique “honesty box” model, transparency in revenue, and publicly known charitable donations have worked and increased its popularity. As a result, the business remains operational and thriving—having had to employ additional staff to cover and assist with the increased uptake of order requests and fulfillments. The company has an active website, and you can purchase its products on Amazon too.