Local teen's Shark Tank deal for spiced honey tanks
DEMING, Wash. -- Overnight success tastes pretty sweet. Just ask 16-year-old Henry Miller, whose spiced honey called "Henry's Humdingers" debuted on ABC's Shark Tank Friday.
"Over the weekend we've had $50,000 of online sales," Henry said. "That was just mind-blowing considering before Shark Tank we had 127 orders total over four years."
The teenager from Deming sold 75 percent of his company to investors Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec for $300,000.
"Before it even aired on the West Coast, we had a thousand orders coming in," Henry said. That was insane."
Part of the deal was Henry had to pay back his parents, who sank $150,000 into his business. But before that could happen, his family received some rough news.
"The day we got a call from Shark Tank producers saying our show was officially going to air, my Dad got laid off from his job after working there for 22 years," Henry said.
Henry the beekeeper is now the family's only breadwinner.
"I felt all this pressure riding on me to make this business work. I need this business to work. My family needs this business to work because if it doesn't, I don't know what's gonna happen," he said.
They've been negotiating with Cuban's people since taping the show in September, and there were some differences. The new majority owners apparently wanted to move the business to Texas and possibly outsource some of the packaging to another country. Henry's main focus was saving bees and providing for his family. But now feared he wouldn't have as big a voice in the direction of the business and wondered if his family could survive on the deal.
Both sides agreed it was best to keep the business in the family.
"My family and Mark and Robert, we decided that we shouldn't do the deal," said Henry. "There's no bad blood. We're nothing but happy."
Henry's dad, Tom Roberts, says the appearance on Shark Tank has led to an explosion of phone calls and emails. "We've have been knocking on doors for so long and now they're opening up and people are calling us that want to carry the products," he said.
Henry says Cuban has been extremely supportive. "Mark has been so nice about it. The day the episode aired Mark emailed checking in to see how we were doing."
For now, Henry is his parents' boss and can't afford to pay them back.
"I don't really want to say I am $150,000 in debt to my parents because then she'll make me work it off by cleaning the dishes in my room for life," he said. "But hopefully I can make that number a little smaller every day."