BarBees Bartending Shark Tank Update – net worth, Pitch & Deal

Jess and Willow, two school friends, started a unique bartending business where they teach and serve people at social gatherings. The business started in Nashville, Tennessee, and has experienced rapid growth. The founders kept the same thing in mind for their plans as they entered Shark Tank Season 15, Episode 12. 

Willow Sprague answered each question diligently to earn herself a deal. The business did get a deal, but the rapid growth ended up being a significant setback. Why did Mark Cuban refuse to offer anything to BarBees Bartending due to its exemplary growth in the service industry? The questions are answered in our BarBees Bartending Shark Tank Update.

BarBees Bartending net worth

The founders of BarBees Bartending have valued the company at $750,000, as their ask was $75,000 for a 10% equity stake. However, Daniel Lubetzky offered them $75,000 for 20% of the company. This revised the valuation to $375,000. Willow Sprague tried to increase the valuation to over $500,000, but Daniel disagreed. Hence, the best estimate of the company’s net asset value is $375,000.

Did BarBees Bartending get an offer on Shark Tank? 

Jess Blakley and Willow Sprague had a great start to their pitch on Shark Tank Season 15, Episode 12. They presented their services and business model brilliantly. The initial ask was $75,000 for 10% of equity in the company. However, things got worse when the founders explained their expansion plan. 

Kevin O’Leary refrained from investment due to a conflict of interest with his wine business. Daymond John opted out because he only preferred funding product-based businesses. Mark Cuban found the company attractive, but the growth pattern seemed problematic (explained in the negotiation section of our update). 

Daniel Lubetzky gave in to his passion for cocktails and social gatherings. He offered the company $75,000 for 20% of the equity stake. The founders kept negotiating, but Daniel stuck to his numbers. The duo agreed and made a deal.

Shark(s)OfferDemandCounterofferAccepted?
Daniel Lubetzky$75,00020% of equity stake$75,000 for 15% of equity stake ‘or’ $115,000 for 20% of equity stakeYes (original offer)
Lori GreinerN/AN/AN/AN/A
Kevin O’LearyN/AN/AN/AN/A
Daymond JohnN/AN/AN/AN/A
Mark CubanN/AN/AN/AN/A

BarBees Bartending Shark Tank Update

barbees bartending shark tank deal

BarBees Bartending products

BarBees Bartending is a mobile cocktail class company that provides instructors for different gatherings. It was founded by Willow Sprague and Jess Blakley in 2019 initially as a bartending service company. However, the pandemic forced the founders to focus on bartending classes instead of serving them.

The company does not sell any products. The business is entirely a service-based concern where customers provide liquor and place. The instructors show the participants how to make the best cocktail from the liquor and ingredients. The service had many opportunities for the company, so did it impress sharks? Let’s find out in our Shark Tank Season 15 Episode 12 Update.

BarBees Bartending Founders

barbees bartending founder shark tank

Jess Blakley and Willow Sprague founded the BarBees Bartending company in 2019. They were friends at Belmont University. Willow graduated with an International Business in 2018. Jess was in her final year in Economic and Political Science when she got a call from Willow regarding the idea of launching a bartending company. 

The company started with just the duo working at parties in 2019. However, the team grew to 25 individuals instructing clients to prepare the best cocktails. The company faced many challenges, but the founders overcame them with concrete plans. The challenges are mentioned at the end of our review.

Pitch and initial presentation

Jess Blakley and Willow Sprague entered Shark Tank with cocktail shakers in their hands. They quoted, “It’s time to shake things up,” and called themselves best friends and cocktail-lovers. BarBees Bartending presented a unique way to celebrate in gatherings and make cocktails. The company was a mobile cocktail class business for family, friends, and anyone needing a liquor buzz. 

The customers had to book the services initially. An instructor shows up at the customer’s door and does their job. The duo stated that most of their business consisted of birthday parties, corporate events, and bachelorette parties.  They presented the sharks with their popular cocktails at the end of the pitch. 

Discussion on the pitch 

Daniel Lubetzky was instantly impressed by the pitch and considered the business concept important for people who worked double shifts. Willow agreed that people had no time to plan their parties, so the company was founded to address that problem. 

She added that BarBees Bartending was launched in 2019 before COVID-19 as an event bartending company. The company initially offered services at weddings in Nashville, Tennessee.  Kevin O’Leary asked if the duo were professional bartenders, to which Willow said they started as a duo, but the company now had a team of 25 instructors. Lori Greiner asked them about their background, which we have explained earlier. 

Kevin further inquired about the company’s sales. Williow explained that BarBees Bartending closed 2019 with $19,000 in sales as a bartending service company. They diverted their focus to virtual classes during COVID-19, where they earned $38,000 in sales. In 2021, the end of the pandemic led to a transition from the virtual to a hybrid model. The virtual and physical classes clocked $76,000 in revenue. 

The company expanded to four new cities in 2022. so the sales score reached $190,000 that year. Jess added that the BarBees Bartending was expecting to close in 2023 at $400,000 as their services were available in 7 cities. Willow explained that most of their customers were bachelorettes and corporations.  The revenue was divided between 52% bachelorettes and 26% corporations, and the rest consisted of other social events. 

Lori asked what the company wanted from the sharks. Willow put forward her expansion plans and asked Sharks for their guidance. She continued that $20,000 would be used to acquire an automated booking platform. Another $20,000 would be invested to enhance the onboarding (the ability to engage more instructors on the platform). The remaining funds were required for expansion. $5,000 for each city for six months. 

Negotiation and final deal

Mark was not very impressed by the growth of BarBees Bartending. He added that the company is expanding its operations to other cities to grow, but the real challenge would start when there are no more cities to reach. He opted out due to the scaling issue. John also opted out due to his reluctance to invest in service businesses. 

Kevin opted out as well due to a conflict of interest. He explained that he already had a wine business, which he loved. He did not want to invest in cocktails because it would divert his attention from the wine business. 

Daniel said that he loved the clarity Willow and Jess had in their minds. He offered them $75,000 for 20% of the equity stake in BarBees Bartending. Lori ultimately opted out, stating she could not provide anything better than Daniel.

Willow countered Daniel’s offer with $75,000 for 5% equity or $115,000 for 20% equity. Daniel did not negotiate and said he would love to name his children’s pets BarBees. Jess and Willow laughed and accepted the offer.

Challenges and motivation

BarBees Bartending started as an event bartending service company owned by Jess Blakley and Willow Sprague. The company made solid revenue in its first year, but the COVID-19 pandemic punched them hard. Like most other businesses, they focused on developing an online platform. The idea was to help people learn to make the perfect cocktails through online instructors. 

The business landscape changed in 2021 when the pandemic ended, so BarBees Bartending had to hire more physical classes and services instructors. The plan worked well, doubling its revenue to $76,000 that year. The next stepping stone was business expansion, so they grew from Nashville to four other cities. The service coverage reached seven cities in 2023, and the company was forecasted to achieve $400,000 in sales targets that year. 

BarBees Bartending availability

BarBees Bartending is not a product-based business but a bartending service provider. The services provided by the company include virtual & physical classes and instructors for precise cocktail mixing. Customers must supply liquor and a place to prepare the best cocktails; the company handles the rest.

BarBees Bartending serves people at different social gatherings. The company’s customer retention is exemplary, as the same clients always reordered their services. The revenue stream consists of 52% bachelorettes and 26% corporations, and the remaining is divided between other social events. 

The service is similar to wedding planners but on a smaller scale, and there is no liability for the material. The instructors are trained professionals who can prepare popular BarBees Bartending cocktails. Almost all the sales are via the official BarBees Bartending website (www.gobarbees.com). 

Moreover, the business sells complementary products like syrups for cocktail preparation, classy shakers & skewers, cocktail smokers, dried garnishes, booklets, glasses, and ice trays. The market is open to conquer since most people in the USA do not know where to plan their cocktail parties. 

Conclusion

BarBees Bartending was one of the fastest-growing services businesses pitched on Shark Tank Season 15, Episode 12. Jess and Willow knew what they were doing, as their journey through the pandemic and post-pandemic phase was inspiring. They digitalized their services and adapted to the physical model when required. They did not fear expansion, the most significant risk an entrepreneur could take.

BarBees Bartending could not convince most sharks, but Daniel Lubetzky offered them the demanded sum at half the valuation. Willow and Jess accepted the offer to fund automation, onboarding enhancement, and expansion. Daniel could help them with business expansion and scaling.

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