ABC’s reality television show “Shark Tank“ has been putting capitalist dreams on television for five seasons, but one episode has really taken off.
The show features business pitches from several entrepreneurs every episode. A panel of potential investors watch the pitch, then grill the entrepreneurial hopeful about business plans, pricing, marketing, etc.
The pitches last nearly an hour, but the magic of television boils each pitch down to a dramatic, and sometimes tear-jerking, 10 minutes.
One episode of the show, which originally aired in November, has gone viral because of one endearing and enthusiastic man, Johnny Georges, the Florida businessman behind the “Tree T-Pee.”
The Tree-T-Pee is a cone-shaped tree guard made of plastic. It’s positioned at the base of young trees to protect them from frost, but it also serves another purpose: to conserve water. The plastic covering is designed to work in tandem with the irrigation systems Georges installs.
According to the product’s website, the covering conserves water, reduces fuel and fertilizer costs and helps increase tree growth by promoting root growth.
From the product’s website:
“Instead of using 10,000 gallons of water per tree per year without the Tree T Pee, with it we are now using only 800 gallons per tree per year and watering more efficiently,” said Georges.”
It wasn’t the product that made Georges an internet sensation, though. It was his down-to-earth attitude and his love for his father.
During the pitch Georges reveals he makes his product for $2.95 a piece, then sells the t-pees for $4.50. When one potential investor, Kevin O’Leary, who is known for his outspoken and no-nonsense comments, suggests Georges sells his product for $12, Georges replies, “Yea, but you’re selling to farmers.” O’Leary promptly removed himself from the bid.
Investor John Paul DeJoria, co founder of Paul Mitchell, the international hair product company of the same name, jumped on board. “Johnny, farmers are the cornerstone of America. There may be a lot of farmers out there that can’t afford $12 a tree, but they may be able to afford $6 or $7,” said Mitchell. He then offered to partner with Georges with a $150,000 investment and a 20 percent stake in the company.
The episode has made the rounds on social media lately. On the farming section of the social media bookmarking site Reddit, users are leaving comments like, “The world needs more Johnnys” and “Amazing idea, and the fact that he doesn’t want to hurt the farmers is incredible. He’s not only saving them money by cutting their water costs down, but not ripping them off for the product.”
As of January 17, the video had more than 700,000 views on YouTube. Comments include things like, “Johnny is such a sweet guy someone hug him.” and “I’m suddenly in need of an eye-t-pee.”