Carole Foster created a frozen gumbo product, to help busy people have a delicious and quick dinner. Will her product earn her a deal on
Shark Tank Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick Update
- Entrepreneur: Carole Foster
- Business: Fully-seasoned frozen gumbo base
- Ask: $200,000 for 20% equity
- Result: $200,000 for 50% equity
- Sharks: Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner
Carole created Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick using her grandmother’s recipe. Creating a fully seasoned gumbo takes hours, so her product was created for people who didn’t have much time to prepare dinner. Her frozen gumbo base combines with six to eight cups of water and up to five pounds of meat, to create a tasty meal.
Robert Herjavec asked about sales, learning Carole had sold $500,000 over the course of two years. Carole sold at her church and at one Costco location for three days a week where she would set up a station and pass out samples to drive sales. She did this in combination with being a commercial truck driver so she could provide for her daughter.
Robert was impressed by the sales and wondered what Carole needed the investment for. Costco had evidently asked for fifteen palettes of Mee-Ma’s, but Carole lacked the funds to finance the order and meet the demand. Kevin asked if Costco was looking to add Carole’s product as a permanent addition at Costco, and she confirmed that she had been accepted but could not keep enough inventory to keep Costco stocked.
Mark Cuban asked about the cost and wholesale figures, learning they were $4 and $9.99 respectively. Kevin O’Leary asked if she could get the cost cheaper, and Carole said she could at larger quantities.
Mark applauded Carole and told her the product was great, and he could see she was working hard. However, he felt giving up $200,000 required the entrepreneur to truly be ready to hit the ground running, and Carole seemed like a fish out of water in the business world. For that reason, Mark was out.
Carole agreed she lacked business acumen, and told the sharks she needed their help to succeed. Daymond John asked if she had a vendor lined up to manufacture the product. Carole said she was working with a co-packer who agreed to be the exclusive vendor of Mee-Ma’s, but she would need to cover packaging costs which were $10,000 for the Costco order alone. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the money.
Robert extrapolated Carole made $100,000 from the past two years’ sales. Where did the money go? Carole confessed that she and her family of six brothers and sisters were living off it because they didn’t have anything else. Daymond felt she was on the right path but, because of the risks, he was out.
Kevin confessed he was struggling with the valuation. However, it was a “fantastic product”, and Kevin seemed endeared to Carole and her struggle. Robert told Carole she should find an industry partner who knew the business inside and out. Because that wasn’t him, he was out.
We’ve partnered with six companies to put together a Shark Tank Stocking Stuffer Box that’s worth $100! Here’s everything that’s in the box:
- Sheets Laundry Club Travel Packs x2
- Honey Bee Bars - 12 Pack
- Snactiv Finger Chopsticks
- FryAway Cooking Oil Solidifier
- Pizza Pack
- Nature’s Wild Berry Sampler Pack
Silence fell over the tank. Kevin, seemingly with tears welling up in his eyes, turned to Lori Greiner and asked what she planned to do. Lori said she loved Carole and loved the gumbo, but $200,000 was a lot of money and she was on the fence.
Carole pleaded, sharing that she was homeless, often staying with friends and family or sleeping in a van. Robert asked where her daughter was, and Carole said her daughter was by her side through it all, also sleeping on couches and in a van.
Kevin insisted that it wasn’t right for Carole to be subjected to this life and agreed to put up half of the money. He told Lori to come in with him, but she still seemed unsure. After a pause, she agreed she would put up the other half of the money, but she would want 50% combined equity for her and Kevin.
Carole seemed taken aback by Lori asking for 50% equity, but Lori explained they needed enough equity to make the investment worth their time. Kevin expanded, telling Carole that she only had a product right now, not a business, but they would fix that for her. After a moment, Carole agreed and the deal was made.
Did Mr. Wonderful and the Queen of QVC help Carole live the American dream? Keep reading our Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick update to find out!
We have mixed news to report in our Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo update. Unfortunately, the deal with Kevin and Lori never did close. Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick continued to sell regardless, getting into Costco at long last, as well as Publix and Safeway. As of 2023, products can be purchased through the Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo website.
Would you like to learn about the other companies featured on Season 4 Episode 23? Follow the links below!
For even more on companies and products, be sure to stop by our Season 4 Products Page!
Jennifer is an avid Shark Tank fan that has been watching the show for years. She serves as Senior Editor at Shark Tank Recap and ensures that all our information is accurate and that our posts are up to date. Her favorite Shark Tank products are Le-Glue and Ring!