Author Archive for Herschel Miller

Cousins Maine Lobster

Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac are two cousins from Maine who moved to California but still loved the taste of Maine Lobster.  They realized that many people loved Lobster on the west coast but did not have access to it readily.   They decided to start up a lobster food truck business by creating some of their favorite lobster dishes and selling them on the streets of LA.  They met with very good success and their demand was outstripping their ability to ship and produce the lobster.  They needed to expand and buy new trucks, but they did not have the capital.  They ended up on Shark tank with a $55,000 investment from Barbara Corcoran for 15% of their Maine Lobster Truck company.  They have now expanded to 4 trucks and have 10 more franchises in progress.

Wild Friends Foods

Keeley and Erika, two friends from Oregon,  were in college and both had one thing in common: they loved Peanut Butter.  When they had run out of peanut butter all together, they started making their own peanut butter with fresh peanuts and a new food processor.  However, they didn’t stop at mashed nuts, they proceeded to add and experiment with every conceivable  ingredient in their pantry.  When their friends told them what they had was too good to keep to themselves, they started selling the peanut butter.  The product went into retail in 2011 and flew off the shelves.  The girls appeared on Shark Tank and recieved a $50,000 investment from Barbara Corcoran for 35% of their company.  This has proven to be a good business move because they have skyrocketed in sales and are branching out to other products.


Matt Canepa(right) and Pat Pezet (left) are San Francisco Bay Area natives who met as college baseball teammates at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Both Matt and Pat earned their degrees in Business Finance and Matt spent two years playing professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs.  One night while in college, the two students looked for something that would keep them awake for studying, after finding nothing but coffee grounds, they proceeded to put it in their mouths much like chewing tobacco.  However, it got all over their teeth and was pretty disgusting, so they decided to put the grounds in pouches and then in tins much like chewing tobacco, but without the nicotine or other dangerous side effects.  San Francisco Giants coach contacted the two entrepreneurs and told them he loved their product and that it might be saving his life.  This convinced the two to try to go big with the product they named Grinds. The duo appeared on Shark Tank to pitch their idea and ended up making a deal with Daymond John and Robert Herjavec.  This has propelled their product to the top of the tobacco substitute market.  The duo is hoping to go into the retail space very soon.


 grinds coffee pouches

Simple Sugars

In December 2005, Lani Lazzari was 11 years old and was prone to ecezema breakouts, which means she had very sensitive skin and was unable to use normal makeup or commercially produced facial product without experiencing skin irritation or a major rash.  She decided to make an all natural skin care product that would be safe for sensitive skin, and she did research and found sugar was useful in taking off dead skin cells and was very safe to use.  In 2013, Lani appeared on Shark Tank and acquired an investment From Mark Cuban.  This has proven to be very beneficial to the business, it has grown into 700 retail locations and employs 22 people.  The products are made in Pittsburgh PA.


Saw yer Dough

Sawyer Sparks from Bloomfield Indiana was a freshman in college and would babysit his Professors children.  He found out they had a condition called celiac disease, which means they had a wheat allergy and was not able to play with Play-dough because they would have an allergic reaction.  As a Freshman in College, Sawyer developed a Soy biased play-dough he called Sawyer Dough.  At 22 years of age, Sawyer appeared on the reality TV show Shark Tank in order to obtain an investment.  He ended up partnering Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, and Daymond John giving up 51% of his company for $300,000.  This has proven to be a good choice because Sparks was able to move out of his home kitchen and into a factory, and has sold over 50,000 units in 2013 in 50 states and across the globe.  The combination of wheat and gluten free in the toy product space has made this young entrepreneur a millionaire.


Idea Paint is a product that turns any wall or surface into dry erase boards by literally painting the slippery white surface onto the surface.   The company Idea Paint was founded in 2008 to create an environment that is more conducive to innovation and limitless outflow of human creativity.

Idea paint has been praised by the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Fast Company, and CNBC, as a tool that has accelerated innovation and has allowed humans to bring their ideas to life on any surface.  Since its start, it has been used in over 100,000 offices, schools, and homes around the world.

The idea for Idea Paint was brought about from frustration.  The owners John Goscha, Jeff Avallon, and Morgan Newman pondered “How can you think big when you have to write small?”  They soon came upon an “Eureka!” moment, and they proceeded  separate the limits of a board from the dry erase concept.  These young entrepreneurs say they exist for one reason: to fundamentally improve the way people work.  Now their paint is used to help the idea flow of Google, the space program at NASA, and Apple Computers.

Idea Paint can be bought for $225 for 50 square feet of paint.  This may be more than a white board, but it is way cooler and still not that expensive, especially to innovative businesses who are trying to stand out.  Its safe to say that the owners of idea paint have done what they charge others to do in their company tag line: “Leave Your Mark”.


Pennsylvania Outdoors Unlimited


Back in high school, my cousin Brandon, and my friends Brady and Grant Forney and I would spend countless weekends outdoors.  We were always thinking about fishing and gunning trips, chasing a variety of different species of game and fish, as well as perusing a variety of outdoor sport activities.  Our fathers and grandfathers owned many diverse and beautiful properties across Pennsylvania which facilitated our desire for exploration and sport.

Brady’s younger brother Grant was a little young to come along on all our our adventures as a participator, but in order to stay in on the fun he asked if he would be allowed to take his parents Sony HandyCam and film our expeditions.  Immediately, he started a YouTube channel and posted the film. Grant was really the innovator for this idea.  Without him, we probably would have never put in the effort to film and capture our experiences.  The rest of us jumped on board with his idea and we came up with the name Pennsylvania Outdoors Unlimited, a state specific outdoors channel.   Since then, we have become oudtoorsmen with a focus on photography and videography.  Three years and 100 videos later, the page boasts over 600,000 views and 2,100 subscribers.

With these numbers, the dividends from YouTube have been starting to slowly accrue.  More recently, we have teamed with Pennsylvania Whitetail Pursuit to create a marketable outdoors DVD for the 2014 season, and this past May, our organization won a Gopro Hero 3 camera in a video entry contest from  Even though we are all college age now, we are still excited to spend time outdoors in any facet we can find or experience.  This adventure filming idea is really just fun for us, and if it never pays off, we would have no regrets.  However, as time goes on, we see more and more potential to find some sort of niche market for our brand and put together a sustainable business model.

In the meantime, check it out!

Instagram: paoutdoorsunlimited on Instagram

Facebook: Pennsylvania Outdoors Unlimited

Youtube: Pennsylvania Outdoors Unlimited – YouTube

– Herschel Miller

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