Lamar Family Appearing on “Shark Tank” November 6

Gloria Hoffman and Linda Clark on Shark Tank

Gloria Hoffman and Linda Clark on Shark Tank

A Lamar based mother/daughter entrepreneurial team will be the featured guests on ABC ‘s ‘Shark Tank’ television show, this Friday, November 6th.

Contestants Making their Sales Pitch

Contestants Making their Sales Pitch

Linda Clark who owns and operates the Play Clay Factory at 215 South Main Street in Lamar, and her daughter, Gloria Hoffman, will appear and pitch their balance board, a physical fitness device, to five investors. Their goal is to entice the five ‘sharks’, investors, to buy in to their marketing idea for an investment.  One shark may run with it, or two may attempt to outbid the other if they’re really interested in the product, or all five may decide to pass on it.  The audience will have to tune in November 6th to learn the fate of the Lamar duo.

The device, the Simply Fit Board, has already been on the market and is selling well, but exposure from the program could skyrocket the product with national attention. Gloria Hoffman explained how all this came to pass.  “We’re currently marketing to various Mom and Pop stores and my mother and I have gone to some shows around the country promoting our board, but we have the chance to be seen by as many as ten million viewers this Friday and that will be an amazing boost for our company,” she explained.

The board is similar in concept to those rolling balance boards that came out in the mid 1960s in which the user would stand on a two foot wooden board and roll back and forth, balanced on a heavy-duty cylinder. It was like a small-scale circus act for one person, until you fell off, landed on your backside or a piece of furniture and decided to put the thing in the closet for the next fifteen years.

Gloria Hoffman’s concept is similar but safer and allows a person to select what type of exercise they’d like to do on the board. It’s about two feet long, curved in the middle for a 2 ½ inch lift off the ground and made of a strong plastic that can hold several hundred pounds.  “Our board can be used by people from three to 93 years of age.  The 93 year old woman who bought ours uses it to help her balance and strengthen her ankles and legs and you can hold on to a table or chair for the exercise.  It’s very safe,” she stated.  Users can twist left or right as much as they want to strengthen their core or obliques and it targets the waistline, from the ‘muffin top or spare tire’ that develops as we grow older.  She said she uses it for planks, squats and push ups to work on her arms and upper torso.  “Our website has about fifteen different exercises showcased,” she explained.  It’s

Hoffman said it’s made in Colorado and distributed around the country, “So far we’ve sold about 30,000 over the past two years, but we’re expecting more sales once the show airs on tv and we’re gearing up for increased distribution.” She explained some behind the scenes activities for the “Shark Tank” program.  “Mom and I went to an open audition in Denver about one and a half years ago, last June and the producers liked our presentation, but from that we went through several very long interviews with the show’s producers.  We got word in February that we were accepted for filming in Los Angeles, and that was only the first part of the process, because even then, you’re still not sure that you’re going to be accepted onto the program.”

Hoffman said 50,000 people audition for the program each year and only 120 make it to the filming aspect and from there, only about 80 actually make it to air on the show. “It was very exciting to do that part of it and was a huge deal for us, and then we got word that after the producers saw our edited audition we were chosen for airing.  We’re not supposed to say how it turns out, that’s a strict part of the contract, but it will all come out this Friday.”  She added that even if there’s no deal, it’s still worth about $1,000,000 in national advertising for us.  Hoffman added that they’ve been fortunate with the timing of the show.  “It comes on the edge of all the holiday shopping before Christmas and with people getting weight-conscious around this time, it’s a perfect tie-in for a holiday gift and a way to stay healthy and trim.”

The product, she said, took off in the first six months, so at that time, she and her mother knew they had produced a hit.  Hoffman added that it only took nine months from the first idea to manufacture the finished product. “I’ve watched my mother develop her play clay products at our kitchen table years ago and I’ve seen it grow and expand, so I come from a family that has a business background.”

By Russ Baldwin

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