Tower Paddle Boards is a company that knows the value of being at the right place at the right time. Stephan Aarstol, the founder, had years of experience in running an e-commerce business. He has been operating in the arena since the nineties.
As a result, Stephan has excellent experience in dealing with SEO and driving traffic online. When he is working, he is something of a beach bum in San Diego. During one of his beach trips, he noticed how paddle boarding was starting to get popular.
Tower Paddle Boards is Started
As a result, Aarstol started his company, Tower Paddle Boards. It operated solely in the e-commerce space and sold the boards direct from the manufacturer to the end-consumer. That means significant savings for the customer; sometimes as much as half off the regular price.
The company has since opened a showroom in San Diego.
Aastol Had Bigger Dreams
Aarstol realized that he wanted more for his brand. He wanted to create a lifestyle brand in the beach niche market.
He decided that the next step was to take his idea to “Shark Tank.” This he did in 2012. It didn’t go well. Aarstol said that the pitch he gave was awful. As a result, it was only Mark Cuban who bought into the idea.
That’s where the value of being at the right place at the right time becomes apparent. Cuban offered Aarstol $150,000 for a 30% share of the company.
That Was the Beginning
Aarstol credits that as being the first step in the meteoric rise of the brand. Before his appearance on Shark Tank and the subsequent investment by Cuban, no one knew who Tower Paddle Boards was or the products they offered. With the publicity from the program and Cuban’s backing, that quickly changed.
The investment enabled the company to start offering other products that fit in with the beach lifestyle. These products included longboards, surfboards, sunglasses, snorkels, air chairs, and so on.
The company also started publishing a twice-weekly publication, Tower Magazine. The popularity of the publication is undeniable with more than 80,000 subscribers.
There’s More to Come
Aarstol is not resting on his laurels. He is planning to expand further. His eye is firmly set on the market for beach bikes and skateboards now.
Were the Other Sharks Right?
About now, the sharks that turned the idea down have egg on their faces. The company has made over $30 million in the few years since the episode aired. It has achieved the honor of being crowned the San Diego Business Journal’s fastest-growing businesses for three years running.
Cuban Played a Big Role
Aarstol is quick to give credit to Cuban for being good to the company. He says that even with the investment from Cuban, banks would not provide them with financing. Cuban monitored the performance of the company, and when it was doing well, extended them credit to the tune of $300,000.
This capital injection tided them over for the next couple of years until they were able to obtain financing from the bank.
So, as it turns out, being in the right place at the right time is useful. However, let’s look beyond just that point. Aarstol also had the gumption to stick with his idea and expand his business. It’s clear that he had the right mix of brains, courage, and determination.