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The rise of Spatty from startup to Shark Tank to empire

As much as people don’t like to waste food, money, or time, we all do it and sometimes, it’s unavoidable. When it comes to kitchen stuff like ketchup or sauce–or cosmetic stuff like foundation, lip gloss, or lotion, the containers are not designed to give us all the product that we paid for therefore dooming us into the habit of wasting. Luckily, Shark Tank showed the world that there is a solution to this problem that’s saving everyone some green—Spatty. 

Grit Daily spoke with Shark Tank alumni and inventor Cheryl Rigdon, who is the Founder and CEO of Spatty. Rigdon has developed Spatty from scratch and pitched the Sharks with just a handmade prototype–now she has grown it to a multi-million dollar product line. 

Grit Daily: What did your transition from your career to entrepreneurship look like? 

Cheryl Rigdon: I created my Spatty business in 2012. I continued to work full time as a Speech and Language Pathologist as well as run the Spatty business until 2014. Then, as the business grew and I had my first child, it became too much for me to work full time, run a business, and take care of a baby so I quit my full-time job as a Speech and Language Pathologist in the schools but I continued to do Speech and Language evaluations for the state to help supplement the income that was going to be lost from me no longer working full time in the schools. I worked part-time as a Speech and Language Pathologist, ran Spatty, and took care of my daughter until 2018. In mid-2018, I quit working as a Speech and Language Pathologist completely because I was about to have my second child. Since 2018 I have been a full-time mom and running my Spatty business out of my home. I have had great support from my family, friends, and employees that have allowed me to make my entrepreneurial dreams come true! 

GD: What are the biggest problems that you are trying to solve with Spatty and what unique approach are you taking in regard to the solution? 

CR: Spatty solves A LOT of problems! You never know what you might use your Spatty for! I have heard of at least 100 different ways people have used their Spatty! But the two main problems Spatty solves is:

1. Getting every last drop of product out of the container
2. Saving you money/Getting your money’s worth out of your products 

Consumer Reports studies show there is up to 25% of product left in containers when it is no longer easy to get out! So when you throw away your product simply because you can not get any more out you are trashing up to 1/4 of your product and with it 1⁄4 of the money you spent! That adds up to A LOT of money and product thrown in the trash a year! 

Spatty is a money-saving tool that is designed like a spatula and goes into practically any container on the market and retrieves every last drop of product! 

It is reusable, made of BPA free and FDA approved material, made in the USA and is easy to clean. 

GD: Was sustainability and climate change a driving force in the creation of Spatty? 

CR: The driving force behind my creation of Spatty was being frustrated with not being able to use all the product I spent my hard-earned money on. I was tired of not being able to get all my product out of the bottle. I was tired of wasting money. I was tired of throwing products in the trash just because I could not get to it. It was a waste of product and a waste of money! Sustainability is a great by-product of Spatty. By using Spatty, you are able to get all of your product and thus are not having to buy and throw away as many containers. Spatty was also created to be reusable and not just a one-time use product like a Q-tip. 

GD: Why did you choose clean water as the supported mission for your non-profit donations? 

CR: UNICEF and WHO state that 1 in 3 people globally do not have access to safe drinking water! I feel everyone should have close, safe, and easy access to safe drinking water. You need water to live! Plain and simple! 

GD: How has mentorship played a role in your journey as an entrepreneur? 

CR: Finding the right mentor(s) is a very important part of being an entrepreneur. It is an invaluable resource to have people you can go to that have been through starting up a company from the ground up and have reached success and who can help you navigate the challenging but rewarding life of being an entrepreneur. 

GD: Do you aspire to be on the other side of the pitch, giving out the money as an investor? 

CR: I would love to have the money to invest in other people and help them achieve their dreams. As of now I am not there…but hopefully one day I will be 🙂 In the present I do help out other entrepreneurs to the best of my ability when they reach out to me. 

GD: What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur who wants to create physical products? 

CR: There were times in my life that I did not do things or say things or go into a career I wanted to, etc. because I let fear and self-doubt talk me out of it. I look back at those times and I have regret or I wonder what if. Spatty was no different. I had fear and doubts about starting Spatty but I did not want to wonder 10 years down the road…what if! I am so thankful that I went for my dream!
 

For the young entrepreneurs out there who want to create physical products that you are passionate about, I say go for it! Find the right people to mentor you. Be prepared for a lot of ups and downs! Know that in the beginning, you are going to be working long hours. It is also extremely important to know your market (the people who are going to be buying your product). Starting a business is not for the faint of heart but for me it has been well worth it!