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Moldmaker’s creativity for proprietary product

Last May, Wayne Sikorcin and Scott Smith were lucky enough to get an appearance on "Shark Tank." Sikorcin, a moldmaker by trade, had invented a nifty device that made tying water balloons fast and easy. Sikorcin and his wife Laura own Craftsman Tool & Mold Co., a company that specializes in large, close tolerance mold bases, in Aurora, IL. Craftsman built the molds for injection molding the device and enlisted the help of their sales person, Scott Smith, to help them market and sell the Tie-Not.

Clare Goldsberry

December 1, 2014

2 Min Read
Moldmaker’s creativity for proprietary product

As most inventors know, it's one thing to invent a new product but quite another to market and sell the product. However, they made some headway with it. Then they were chosen to appear on "Shark Tank," the ABC show in which self-made millionaires and billionaires listen to pitches from inventors and then decide whether or not to become investors.

"It went fantastic," said Smith when I spoke with him recently to see how the Tie-Not was doing in the marketplace. "We had tremendous response after our appearance on "Shark Tank," even though we didn't get an investor."

The segment on the show lasted seven minutes, Smith explained, but the negotiations actually went for an hour and a half. "They knew we had a deal with Walmart for the Tie-Not but they didn't put that into the equation for the valuation," Smith said.  

However, Walmart gave them a purchase order for 250,000 Tie-Not water balloon tying devices, and they sold 750,000. Since that time, Sikorcin and Smith have licensed the Tie-Not to Imperial Toy, a huge toy marketer and distributor with a catalog of more than 900 items. Imperial supplies the water balloon categories for Target, Walmart and Kmart, and just about all the retail stores nationally.

"We learned that we were not going to get on the shelves by ourselves," Smith said. "The big stores just don't want to deal with small companies. They prefer to deal with a company they do 50 million or 60 million dollars in sales with already. So we looked in the stores and found out that Imperial Toy owns the water balloon category, so we went to them. They loved the product and bought the license. The Tie-Not is sold in all the major retailers in the county. Now we just get royalty checks in the mail. It turned into a pretty cool thing."

I've always been fascinated with the inventor mind and like many people who watch "Shark Tank," I find myself asking, "How did they think of that?" As Scott Smith said, "Sometimes you solve a problem that you didn't know you had until you have the solution."

While the original molds were built in the U.S., after the licensing deal with Imperial that company is having the product made in China. In spite of that, the Tie-Not is selling quite well and both Sikorcin and Smith are happy with the results they accomplished on their own even if they didn't get a big "Shark" for a partner.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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