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I have a deep, dark secret to reveal: I am not into reality TV. I haven’t watched The Bachelorette since middle school (does anybody remember Trista?), and I’ve never seen an episode of Real Housewives. I have no idea who’s currently a judge on The Voice, and I haven’t kept up with the Kardashians in nearly a decade.
There is, however, one reality show I do watch, and that’s Shark Tank. It’s my (not-so) guilty pleasure; I can watch reruns over and over again without losing interest, usually with a glass of something red in hand and a notepad so I can jot down all the products I want to try.
The business aspect of the show is endlessly fascinating. I love putting myself in the entrepreneur’s shoes and envisioning what I would do in the tank. I often end up shouting, “Take the deal!” at my TV (I get louder the more wine I consume). I mean, Shark Tank truly has it all: billionaire bantering, cutthroat dealmaking, inspiring American Dream stories, and — of course — ingenious products that make me wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Shark Tank has made household names out of items you didn’t know you needed, resulting in dozens of rags-to-riches tales. (As Lori Greiner would say, “I make millionaires.”) This epic piece of entertainment is now in its ninth season, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Below, check out six of the most gift-worthy products from the tank — just in time to start making headway on your holiday shopping list.
For your beauty blogger BFF: The Spatty
Admit it: How often do you toss a beauty product because you can’t squeeze out that last bit of liquid? Created by Cheryl Rigdon, the Spatty solves this conundrum once and for all. Think of it like a mini spatula — the tips are flexible and easily move around the curves and corners of cosmetic containers, allowing you to scoop out every last ounce of foundation.
As an added bonus, the Spatty is dishwasher-safe, plus FDA-approved, BPA-free, and made in the USA. The Spatty is also a testament to the power of determination, even in the face of rejection: Although Rigdon’s pitch was unanimously rejected by the sharks in season 4, she pressed forward with her invention and has since found success selling in select stores and online.
For your newly engaged cousin: The Bridal Buddy
This product is really a no-brainer for all the brides-to-be in your life. In season 8, Heather Stenlake pitched her proprietary product that makes it easy for a bride to, well, go to the bathroom on her big day.
The Bridal Buddy is worn like a dress slip under the gown. When a bride needs a bathroom break, she can bag her dress from front to back, securing it in place with an elastic cord. Arm holes marked with blue lining — it’s her something blue, get it? — enable brides to have full upper-body mobility. Friends and family members no longer need to perform bathroom duty to help lift up endless layers of tulle and lace. Stenlake’s pitch resulted in an investment from not one, but two sharks — Greiner and “Mr. Wonderful” himself, Kevin O’Leary.
For your sweaty significant other: The Thompson Tee
My boyfriend may or may not have been very interested in this product when we watched co-founders Billy Thompson and Randy Choi make their pitch in season 8. He’s always had trouble finding undershirts that aren’t bulky or ill-fitting and that actually do the work of warding off unflattering sweat spots.
What makes the Thompson Tee unique is its proprietary underarm sweat-proof technology, which prevents excessive underarm sweat from showing in the first place. In turn, the tees provide protection from unsightly wet marks and yellow stains.
You can choose between original fit (like a traditional undershirt) and slim fit (lies closer to the skin for a more streamlined look). Both options are available for men and women.
For the new mom in your life: The Milk Snob
I’m not a mom, but if I were, the Milk Snob would be at the top of my wish list. Also pitched in season 8, this thing is practically the Rolls Royce of baby accessories. It’s a five-in-one product that can be used as an infant car seat cover, a nursing cover, a shopping cart cover, a high chair cover, and a swing cover.
Created by Melanie Disbrow, the Milk Snob reached $1.2 million in sales in its first 18 months on the market, so it’s no wonder that she received offers from three sharks. She ultimately chose to work with Greiner, securing a $150,000 investment from the QVC queen in exchange for 10 percent equity.
For your stiletto-wearing sister: Solemates
It’s safe to file Solemates under the category of, “Where have these been all my life?” As someone who has attended numerous outdoor weddings, I know that heels + grass = trouble. I don’t even want to think about the shoes I’ve ruined trying to maneuver a four-inch stiletto out of freshly watered grass.
These kind-of-silly-looking heel protectors will keep your favorite footwear intact and undamaged; just pop the little piece of plastic onto the heel, and your shoes will be ready to withstand the wear-and-tear from outdoor terrain. And with an endorsement from Oprah — she was one of the first customers — it’s pretty obvious that these are a must-have.
For literally everyone else: Bombas
I know, I know. Socks might seem like the most stereotypically bad gift you could give someone (but let’s get something straight: They’re not). The creators of Bombas, David Heath and Randy Goldberg, spent two years rethinking the oft-overlooked product, which resulted in seven material improvements to the design, performance, and comfort of the everyday sock.
They made their pitch in season 6, much to the annoyance of O’Leary, who called the entrepreneurs “sock cockroaches.” Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban said “there’s not enough margin” in a $12 pair of socks to keep a business afloat.
Despite those setbacks, Heath and Goldberg secured an investment from Fubu founder Daymond John. The company is now on track to do $50 million in sales this year. With Bombas available for men, women, and kids, they’re a practical gift for anybody on your list. What’s more, since socks are the number one most-requested clothing item at homeless shelters, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need for every pair purchased.