A MULO Brand Scales With a Shark Street Fight

A MULO Brand Scales With a Shark

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CEO and Founder of Crispý Cones Jeremy Carlson is on his way to a total of 300 stores across the country. Shark Tank Barbara Corcoran gave him $200K for a 20% interest in his company, which he runs with his wife Kaitlyn. Their back story is a true inspiration to other MULO (multi-location) brands that are contemplating scaling. He generously shared the story of his journey and what advice he has for other fast-scaling brands.
How did you decide to start your business? Decide to scale it?
“I volunteered in the Czech Republic and ate these unique dough-based cones. I had never tasted anything like them in the U.S. I started Crispý Cones in 2018 out of a canopy tent in Idaho when in my first years of college.  I then moved the business to a trailer where I also made ice cream.
I opened my first store in Utah (near where I was attending school). It was close to the Idaho border. I didn’t do any formal research about where to rent the space. It was on a main street and I got a good deal on the lease because of COVID. I was a sophomore in college at the time.
The second store was in Idaho — also near a campus. Our newer stores are in more diverse areas. We now have 5 operating stores and have sold 27 units in the West, South, and East. Georgia, Tennessee, Florida. Our goal is to have 50 store openings and 300 stores committed by the end of next year.”
What led to your decision to go on Shark Tank? Are you glad you did it?
“I had watched the show for years and after we launched the business, we said to ourselves, ‘Why not us?’ We were selected out of 40K applications. I still describe it as ‘an out-of-body experience’ and would not have done anything differently. (We did try to negotiate our deal but we ultimately took the offer.) We’ve now been working with Barbara Corcoran for more than a year. Part of the value of getting funding and consulting through Shark Tank is the connection to other companies similar to ours, who’s experiences help us as we overcome the challenges of scaling a business. The founders are all phenomenal people. 
What would be your advice for a brand thinking of growing through franchising?
“Do the foundational work first. Line up your partners. Establish your marketing, supply sources, and operations. We created a brand book early on and created guidelines for our franchisees. We haven’t yet gotten them all together for a team meeting, but might consider it as we scale.”
Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.