Benjamin Stern is a mogul in the making. Determined to create a shampoo that was mindful of plastic and waste, Stern has dedicated himself to his Nohbo shampoo ball, the world’s first of its kind.
In ninth grade, Stern watched a documentary about degrading plastic waste that got him thinking about making an ecologically beneficial form of shampoo. He experimented with his mother’s laundry detergent pods and realized that shampoo could function in a similar way.
After acquiring the help of a freelance chemist, Stern helped develop the prototype: a dissoluble ball blanketed in biodegradable plant-based material. This prototype developed over time into the waste-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free shampoo ball that landed Stern on the second episode of Shark Tank season seven.
Stern demonstrated attentive dedication to the development of his product. His mother, Carrie Warren, revealed that Stern did everything independently, including finding his chemist. He told Forbes Magazine that his chemist is fully committed to Nohbo, and has proved himself to be instrumental to the evolution of the product.
Through borrowing money from friends and family, investing in his college savings and taking on a job, Stern was able to make ends meet. He’s even raised nearly $15,000 through his Indiegogo campaign.
His meeting with Billionaire investor Mark Cuban was the real cherry on top: Stern received $100,000 and Cuban got 25% equity in the company. Stern told Forbes that Cuban won him over with an offer of more than just money: he offered mentorship, advice, and the use of patent attorneys.
On the advice Stern has received from Cuban, the most important concept is that of walking before you run. As Stern explained, “You want to be prepared, but you also want to eliminate the most amount of risk before starting and going into something, and that’s the best way of approaching a company. It’s just to take things slowly until you get an order. Be excited, but don’t overexcite yourself until everything goes through.”
This thriving entrepreneur is certainly not short on ambition. Looking ahead, he hopes to license the technology of the shampoo ball to large companies, and then incorporate this technology into sunscreen and shaving-cream balls. For now, his shampoo ball is available for pre-order in two scents: smokey sandalwood and Japanese cherry blossom.
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