Meagan Bowman’s path to entrepreneurship hasn’t been easy.
Her “rocky road” full of mistakes, trials, divorce and the challenges of raising two daughters as a single mother on welfare began to smooth out when she decided to start her new business, Eco Flower, which uses recycled and sustainable materials to make flower bouquets and arrangements.
“One day, I was watching the TV show ‘Shark Tank’ and I wanted so badly to be like the entrepreneurs on that show, on the verge of success and full of hope,” the Ogden resident wrote at ecoflower.com. “I've always had the idea to make gift bouquets out of wood flowers, but I never had the ambition or the guts to go for it. 'Shark Tank' inspired me to get off the couch, quit my desk job and chase the American dream.”
Just two years after she decided to become an entrepreneur, she has a “30,000 (square-foot) facility, almost 100 employees, a new marriage, a small but beautiful home and confidence that (she had) never before experienced,” according to the website.
While slowly growing her business, Bowman tried out to be featured on “Shark Tank” four different times. Although she wasn’t successful until her fourth attempt, each time, both her business and her presentation improved, she said.
“The very first time I tried out, I only had $8,000 in sales, which was silly,” Bowman said in a phone interview with the Deseret News. “Every time I went back, I improved. I was able to go back the fourth time and tell them I had $1 million in sales. I immediately got a call back.”
ABC’s “Shark Tank” is a business-themed reality television show that features “the Sharks — tough, self-made, multimillionaire and billionaire tycoons — (who) continue their search to invest in the best businesses and products that America has to offer,” according to ABC.com.
The episode of “Shark Tank” that featured Eco Flower aired on Nov. 4, 2016. Although the segment about Bowman and her company lasted eight minutes on television, she said that the entire presentation in front of The Sharks lasted an hour and a half.
In the end, one of the Sharks, Daymond John, agreed to offer $400,000 for 20 percent equity in Eco Flower.
“Afterward, the producer tried to interview me about what I thought, but I was genuinely exhausted,” she said. “I couldn’t even answer any questions. I couldn’t focus because I had just come off of my adrenaline high.”
After the episode premiered, Eco Flower saw a bump in sales and Bowman said she has been happy to watch her business grow.
“It’s a challenge to keep up with the orders,” she said. “This growth has provided more jobs and more opportunities. It has given me a financial push so I can start more businesses I’ve always wanted.”
As a successful entrepreneur, Bowman’s advice to those who wish to start their own business is to “take an entrepreneur to dinner, and it will be the best $50 you ever spend.”
“Find someone you would like to talk to for an hour to get advice,” Bowman said. “They don’t even have to be in your same industry. Absorb everything they say. Every entrepreneur that started a small business had to use short cuts and tight budgets — those are the people you want to talk to.”