ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For over a decade hundreds of startups have looked to make a deal on ABC’s Shark Tank on NewsChannel 9, including Ithaca native Joshua Esnard.
Esnard’s company has been growing, even during the pandemic, thanks to one shark’s first bite. He had always dreamed of landing a deal on Shark Tank and got one for his Cut Buddy do it yourself haircut tool.
Almost four years ago, Damon John started driving Esnard and his friends from Ithaca into a sharp business plan. Beginning by licensing patents to bigger clipper and grooming companies for the royalties while fast tracking the Cut Buddy into retail stores like Wal-Mart.
“We had this board that said, work with a clipper company like Andis, partner with Damon and get into retail,” said Esnard.” “So, within two years of launching we were able to mark off all those things.”
Then COVID hit. While many businesses suffered, Cut Buddy soared with people trimming their hair at home. But Esnard’s success in business was met with a huge personal loss.
“I lost my grandma to COVID so, you know, it wasn’t all peaches for my business,” he said. “I would shut this whole business down if I could just have a week back with her. You know that was my best friend.”
Esnard pushed on watching sales grow day by day, but then another problem arose, shipping delays.
“So, even if I sold all of my inventory within two months, that means I’m waiting a lot of months without inventory, so I made about the same amount of money.”
He used the time and money to develop new products.
“I’m actually bald right now so we have this really cool ergonomic bald shaver that’s actually going to be in Wal-Mart and Target hopefully in 2022.”
But he’ll never forget where it all started.
“Ithaca will always be a special place in my heart.”
Esnard says besides trying to raise proper funding to keep growing the company, he’s branching out. He and his wife have started a truffle business where they live in North Carolina.