FORSYTH COUNTY — By week’s end, social media will overflow with photos of spring break vacations, and one Forsyth County resident will be able to show everyone she swam with sharks.
Julie Thompson is scheduled to appear Friday on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a TV show that gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their companies before several wealthy investors, or “sharks.” Thompson said the experience was even more daunting in person
“Just being there, it’s just such an intense experience,” she said. “Far more than it looks like on TV, even just the days leading up to it. It’s really hard to explain, but for me it was feelings of complete excitement all the while being completely nerve wracking.
“I was a nervous wreck, shaking like a leaf before I went in there.”
During her segment, Thompson will attempt to get the sharks to make an offer on her business PullyPalz, which sells items for infants.
The main product, for which the company is named, features a stuffed animal with a pacifier coming out of each of its front arms and a pulley that will bring the lost pacifier back when the baby grabs the other one.
“When my kids were babies, pacifiers were constantly popping out,” she said. “They’d fall behind their shoulder or down in a little nook and they just don’t understand what they can’t see.
“So I was constantly picking it up and putting it back in their mouth. We called this ‘the pacifier game.’”
After one too many rounds of the game, Thompson decided to solve the issue herself.
“So I just kept thinking, ‘Boy, I wish somebody would invent something where the baby can see it and reach it,’” she said. “Eventually at some point, it donned on me to do something similar to a pulley system. Once that clicked, I felt like I had really maybe come up with a solution.”
Thompson said she made the first prototype in her kitchen, which looked like “a stuffed animal warzone.” But the company eventually grew and used a professional designer. She has since attended several trade shows.
For her episode, which airs at 10 p.m. Friday, Thompson is holding a viewing party at Black Diamond Grill on Peachtree Parkway in south Forsyth. The restaurant will donate a portion of its sales that night to Jesse’s House, where Thompson is a mentor. PullyPalz will match the gift.
Johnson didn’t want to spoil anything from the episode, but is grateful for the experience.
“Going in there as an entrepreneur, you have to set up parameters of what you’re willing to accept” she said. “So I did that, and I told myself as I was going in there, deal or no deal, this is a tremendous opportunity and be thankful for the experience.”