How I started a mini spatula business that has generated $2million in sales.

Spatty brand journey profile image
Cheryl Rigdon Spaty founder image
Cheryl Rigdon
Founded: June 2012
No of employees: 3
Location: USA
$41,000 Revenue/mo

Cheryl Rigdon is the inventor of Spatty. Spatty is a multi-purpose miniature spatula that gets every single drop out of foundation bottles and other containers. It can also be used for mixing, spreading and decorating. 

After coming up with the idea, building the product and branding her business (all with her husband’s support), Cheryl has today sold $2 million USD in Spatties. She also generates around $41,000 per month. Spatty can be found in multiple brick and mortar stores, including Wal-Mart, Bed Bath and Beyond, and many online stores, including Albertsons Marketplace, Beauty Bridge and Amazon. The future's looking bright...

Who are you and what brand did you start?

I am Cheryl Rigdon, the owner of Rigdon Creative Solutions LLC and the inventor of Spatty. Spatty is a must-have money saving, multi-purpose miniature spatula that allows you to get every last drop of product out of containers. Spatty is also great for mixing, spreading, and decorating. 

When I’m not working on Spatty, I’m spending time with my husband, two little girls, and my parents. I run the business out of my home in South Carolina. In fact, everything — from the Spatty, to the packaging, to the fulfilment — is all done in South Carolina. 

Spatty’s target audience varies on the product but in general our biggest audience is women aged 30-60. Spatty has also had so many great milestones since conception, but the biggest one is the very first one I reached, which I achieved even before I had the product manufactured! This was appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank. I took Spatty on Shark Tank back in 2012 and when I did, I only had the hand-made Spatty to show!

Cheryl Ridgon Spatty founder

How did you come up with the idea, brand name and logo for Spatty?

I was getting ready to go on a date with my husband one Saturday night. I was putting on my foundation and had gotten about half my face done when I discovered I couldn't get out any more foundation from the bottle. I could see there was still a lot of makeup in the bottle so I turned it upside down and banged it on my hand, the table and the floor, but nothing was coming out.

I didn’t want to throw the bottle away with a good amount of makeup still inside and I also didn’t want to just throw my cash in the trash — makeup is expensive. I went online to find something I could buy to get my makeup out of my foundation bottle. I couldn’t find anything so I decided to make something I could actually use instead. This was when Spatty was born!

Spatty product image

After I had created Spatty and tried it out myself, I saw how great it worked at getting the product out of my makeup bottle. I then made a few more to give to my friends and family. Everyone loved it! 

After that feedback, I decided to sell a few on eBay to see if people who did not know me would love the product as much as myself, my family, and friends did. I sold out of the 15 I had on eBay within 3 days. Everyone that commented expressed just how much they loved it. 

I then went onto Shark Tank with my hand-made Spatty. After my episode aired, I was bombarded with emails and social media comments from like-minded people thanking me for creating it, while sharing how they had always wanted a product like Spatty. I knew after this that I had created a product that offered a true need for a lot of people and that Spatty would make a staple item in customers’ homes. 

My husband came up with the name Spatty, getting inspiration because it is a small spatula. The logo I am currently using is my second version. My first logo had a makeup spot with the word ‘Spatty’ that had been written inside it by an actual Spatty. I updated to my current logo with just the word ‘Spatty’ because I rebranded my packaging to make it look more modern.

Describe the process of launching Spatty?

After I identified that I wanted to make a tool small enough to go into a foundation bottle, I started brainstorming ideas of what that tool would need to look like. I thought about how well a regular spatula removes things like batter from the sides of a bowl, and decided to try and make a tiny spatula to go into my foundation bottle and move around the sides and bottom of the bottle to get the product out. 

I tried a few different materials from items I picked up from grocery and craft stores. After three different hand-made prototypes, I made one that worked just like I had imagined.

I spoke above about how I first got my Spatty to friends, family and a few customers on eBay. Looking forward, the next step in the process is different from most other startup companies.

Spatty_in profile image 1 (1)

My company got launched on national TV on ABC’s Shark Tank. As I mentioned above, I went on Shark Tank with only a hand-made product to look for money to get a mold made. This was so I could have a manufactured product that I could sell on a website and in brick and mortar stores. 

The Sharks all loved Spatty and thought it was a great idea and product, but I was just too early in the process for them to invest in me. My husband and I spoke and we decided this was a once in a life opportunity and I had to move forward with getting the mold made and products manufactured, even though I did not get the money I needed from the Sharks. 

I had so many HUGE hurdles to overcome to get Spatty started and I had many long and sleepless nights. There were several times I cried because the tasks were just so big to me and it seemed like I was not going to be able to make my dream a reality. 

I knew nothing about getting a product manufactured and I certainly knew nothing about starting a business — I was a Speech Language Pathologist who had no business education. But I did have amazing support and encouragement from my husband and my parents that kept pushing me to keep going. 

I found great business owners who believed in me and made it possible for me to get a mold made, products manufactured, and packaging created. These were United Tool and Mold, Strategy Plastics, Ultra Pak Inc, and Century Plastics. 

When I got the call that my episode was going to air on Shark Tank, my mold was still being made and I did not have money to have someone create a website for me, so I went on Shopify and made one myself. It was very elementary looking but I had a website! 

I was also taking pre-orders from my Shark Tank episode. I was able to pay for my mold and first product run from these orders. Shark Tank was amazing and had a follow up on Spatty during the same season that my original episode aired. I was able to use money from those sales I got from the follow up episode to do another production run. 

I am very thankful to God, my family, Shark Tank, United Tool and Mold, Strategy Plastics, Ultra Pak Inc., and Century Plastics for making my dream become a reality.

Since launch, what has worked best to attract and retain customers?

Spatty is a great product and it does what it claims to do. It allows you to go get every last drop of your products and thus saves you a lot of money. Spatty has been featured on Shark Tank, Good Morning America, The View, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Women’s World, Seventeen, Forbes, Glamour, Strahan, Sara, and KeKe and others. These national and well known shows and magazines have given Spatty good notoriety. We continue to run ads on Amazon and are starting email marketing, Facebook and Google ads this year.

With regards to business growth, how have things changed from a digital, revenue, customer and sales perspective?

Spatty has gone from a product that I made in my kitchen, to only having sold a few Spatties on eBay, to being on Shark Tank all within a 6-month time period. I went from a hand-made product to a manufactured product within an 8-month time period. 

My sales have gone from just being on my own website (www.thespatty.com) to now being sold in multiple brick and mortar stores (Wal-Mart, Bed Bath and Beyond to name a couple) and online stores, including Albertsons Marketplace, Beauty Bridge and Amazon. 

I have sold around $2 million USD in Spatties. I am working on growing the number of stores Spatty is sold in and growing my online sales through email marketing and ads this year.

How is the business doing today and what does the future look like?

Spatty is doing great! We are growing at a pace that I am able to keep up with. Spatty is going to start offering special edition limited time Spatties this year.. I am looking to have a Christmas Spatty, glow in the dark Halloween Spatty, an all-purple Spatty, and a higher-end metallic Spatty. Those are just a few on the list for this year.

Also, be on the lookout for Spatty in more brick and mortar and online stores in 2020 and beyond. There are several currently in the works. 

Ultimately, I would love for Spatty to be a business I can hand down to my children one day (If they want it).

Spatty_in profile image 3 (1)

What’s been the biggest learning experience since starting your own brand?

There are so many lessons that I have learned but I feel the money lessons have big some of the biggest:

  1. There are people who want to scam you… do your due diligence. 
  2. Rebranding is expensive (packaging, logo, website, etc), so do a lot of research on other brands you like — especially competitors. Also, get other people’s options that you value. And put a lot of thought into your brand. If you get it right the first time it will save you a lot of money and headache.

What are your top 3 tips on how to setup an Ecom store for success?

I have not done a good job with this. My personal website, www.thespatty.com, is where I get my least amount of sales from. Increasing my own ecomm sales is one of the areas I am really focusing on in 2020. 

To do this, I have launched a new website. I have also added SEO and blogs to my website, and I am starting email marking in April. Google and Facebook ads will begin in March.

What are some of your favorite online business tools you use to run Spatty?

I like using Cohley for image content. Agorapulse has been good for managing social media. Google Analytics is going to be great for measuring my ROI.

TypeTool Name
PlatformWoocommerce
CMSWordPress
ReviewsSalesbacker for Amazon
AnalyticsAgorapulse, Google Analytics
ShippingShipstation
AccountingQuickBooks
PaymentsPayPal, Amazon Pay, Stripe
Social Media ToolsAgorapulse
InventoryExcel

See what business tools other founders are using.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts or other educational resources?

I like Daymond John’s Books. Power of Broke, Rise and Grind. I also like Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Blue Ocean Strategy.

Who have been the most influential people for you during this business journey?

My husband and my kids have been my biggest driving influences. Spatty has given me the ability to work from home and be a stay at home mom with my kids. I personally have always wanted to home with my kids and thanks to Spatty I can. My husband’s belief in me and his encouragement have pushed me to go on when I just wanted to give up. I am so blessed by my family.

Cheryl Ridgon family photo

Any other advice you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?

My entrepreneur journey has had a lot of ups and downs but it has so been worth it for me. It doesn’t always work out but you don’t know if you do not try. I didn’t want to be 40 or 50 and always have that nagging thought in my mind… ‘what if?’.

'Rebranding is expensive. If you get it right the first time it will save you a lot of money and headache! 'Click To Tweet

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now or open to new investors?

Not at this time.

Where can we go to learn more about your current offers/promotions/programs?

Sign up for my newsletter at www.thespatty.com and get a 20% off code when you sign up.

Online Business Tools that Spatty uses:

TypeTool Name
PlatformWoocommerce
CMSWordPress
ReviewsSalesbacker for Amazon
AnalyticsAgorapulse, Google Analytics
ShippingShipstation
AccountingQuickBooks
PaymentsPayPal, Amazon Pay, Stripe
Social Media ToolsAgorapulse
InventoryExcel

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