The mother daughter team of Hong and Andrea Cao never could have guessed that their simple idea for a personal acupressure system would turn into a million dollar operation. The Q-Flex really is an innovative product. The Q-Flex is a curved acupressure wand ergonomically designed to apply pressure to precise points on one’s body.
They developed a prototype and sent it to a manufacturer to make a mold. The first batch consisted of about 400 units and in no time Andrea successfully sold 800 units, just by traveling door-to-door and perfecting her sales pitch.
In December 2014, they stepped onto the Sony Production set to pitch the Q-Flex on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Hong and Andrea fought back their nerves and overwhelming excitement when they heard that two of the sharks, Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran wanted to invest in their idea.
Getting through the paperwork from the Shark Tank investors was one of the major challenges faced by Hong and Andrea, so they connected with the Cal Poly SBDC to seek guidance.
The SBDC helped Hong and Andrea better understand the legalese of these documents, and jumped in to assist the duo in preparing for the 2015 Christmas shopping season with hands on training and consulting in marketing, social media and sales. The Company sales increased from $159,359 in 2014, to more than $1 million in 2015. The SBDC also helped them tackle the company’s accounting, tax and insurance processes. Currently, Hong and Andrea are making it a priority to build Q-Flex’s social media presence with assistance from one of the expert SBDC marketing consultant teams.
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