Entrepreneurs and celebrity cast members Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Lori Greiner, “Queen of QVC” and prolific inventor of retail items, offered Marshall $450,000 for a 35 percent stake in his company. The deal also included an $80,000 salary for Marshall for three years and a 10 percent royalty for Cuban and Ms. Greiner until they recoup the money they loaned Marshall.
Ms. Greiner said The Gameface Co. could become an overnight sensation.
Cuban initially offered Marshall $1 million to buy the entire business but after talking to his wife, Marshall declined that offer.
“I really think it's too early in the game for us … to give up 100 percent of the company,” Marshall said on the show.
“Mark and Lori, put your game face on,” Marshall said after accepting Cuban's and Ms. Greiner's counter offer.
“Shark Tank” is in its fourth season of providing budding entrepreneurs with the chance to make their dreams come true and possibly make a business deal that will make them a millionaire.
Marshall, 51, created a full-face temporary tattoo with all of the detail of face paint but without the mess. Marshall started out with four or five designs and now has more than 100, he said during an interview out of his home office in June.
Marshall grew up in Tyler, graduating from Robert E. Lee High School before studying finance at Texas Tech University. Until Jan. 1, he worked full time for Documents Solutions as its Xerox representative while running The Gameface Co. out of his home office. His wife of 13 years, Lori, is a paralegal and works full time for Southside Bank and has handled all of the order processing, contracts and accounts receivable and payable for The GamfFace Co.
“It was a great experience for the whole family,” he said. His wife and two children, Will, 10, and Katie, 12, also made appearances on the show.
Marshall said he was nervous before going on the show, trying to memorize his pitch. But once he was in front of the “sharks,” he was comfortable he could answer any question about the company he started about five years ago.
He said what viewers don't get to see on television is the chemistry between him and the “sharks that are interested” in the business. Marshall said he could feel Cuban and Ms. Greiner were really interested in his business and saw its potential.
“I felt it was a great opportunity to be in front of some real successful business people,” he said, adding that it was like a big counseling session. “I was there to absorb whatever they had to offer.”
Marshall had several friends tell him he should try out for the show, so when he found out auditions were being held in June in Los Angeles, where his brother lives, he decided to take a trip with his son and father. He said when he got to the auditions the line was more than a mile long. About a month later, he got a call telling him to come back to be on the show, which filmed in July.
“It happened really quickly,” he said.
Marshall believes the “Shark Tank” representatives were impressed with The Gameface Co. being a visual product for television, and that it had a family business element to it. He said he also believes they liked the idea that he created and patented a product and built it into something.
For six months Marshall has known the outcome of the show but couldn't tell anyone. “It wasn't easy,” he said of keeping the secret. He was told not to tell any family and had to emphasize to his children how important it was not to tell anyone. He said they were under contract and could be fined if they told anyone the outcome before the show aired. He also had to keep it a secret from his employers. Marshall said he was informed of the air date via email about 10 days before the show came on TV.
He said eventually people stopped asking what happened. But about 150 people came out for a watch party held during the airing of the show Jan. 4.
“Everyone was so excited about finding out what happened,” he said.
He said the deal allows him to work full time for The Game Face Co. (he quit his job at Xerox Jan. 1), and to start building distribution outlets and fulfillments for accounts, as well as concentrate on sales and develop new products.
Marshall said they are expanding their college products, as well as getting into professional sports, such as the National Football League, National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, as well as international soccer. He said they also are working on a glow-in-the-dark face for Halloween and Ms. Greiner is working with him on Disney faces.
He said he is looking to move out of his home office and find a space for the business, as well as looking to hire people for positions in sales and marketing, graphic designs and an office manager. He also is looking for distribution companies to warehouse and distribute his products around the world.
“We've got to kind of man up with all of the things we've got to do,” he said.
Marshall said he went on the show not just to get aired on TV or for funding for his business, but because he wanted to tap into the knowledge and expertise of the “sharks.” He said he feels he made a deal with the “sharks” that would benefit his company the most.
He said they could possibly do a follow-up “Shark Tank” show in the future.
Marshall said the Tyler Junior College Small Business Development Center has been really helpful to him throughout the process. He worked with the center to grow his business through its new angel investors group, which is a group of investors looking to help small businesses grow.
In 2008 — Marshall's first official year in business — The Gameface Co. sold $6,500 in products. Last year, the company sold 65,000 faces for $102,000, he said.
For more information, call 903-526-8880 or visit www.thegamefacecompany.com.