The BLOG: Lifestyle

Boston baker and Shark Tank participant living her dreams

Shark Tank has been a popular reality TV show on ABC since its debut in 2009. Conceptually, the hour-long program allows business aspirants to pitch an idea to six venture capitalists who have already made their millions and billions through entrepreneurship. Pitching, evaluating, negotiating a product’s worth through rapid fire give-and-take exchanges between wannabes and already-bes, the show concluded its seventh season Friday night with a young Boston business woman center stage.

On the finale, Tania Green, a 2008 graduate of Gordon College who also holds a Master’s Degree from Simmons College, imaginatively pitched a PMS relief product to the Shark Tank team. She was articulate, humorous, and professional; as quick to share samples of her perfectly packaged chocolatey relief packs as she was to reel off her corporate statistics. Shark Tank members gobbled up her morsel-sized product while listening to her proposed VC funding of $50,000 in exchange for partial ownership of PMS BITES.

Tania’s dream of Shark Tank funding became a reality for Tracey Noonan and Danielle Desroches, in 2013, after they proposed Wicked Good Cupcakes to Shark Tank members. Originally whipped up in the kitchen of the mother-daughter duo, Wicked Good Cupcakes in a jar began to grow beyond their Cohasset store-front location. They were in need of further expansion money when Shark team member Kevin O’Leary proposed to sweeten their dreams. The venture capitalist from Boston, known more commonly to viewers of Shark Tank as Mr. Wonderful, gave Wicked Good Cupcakes $75,000 in exchange for payment of a dollar per sold cupcake until his investment was repaid in full. An additional negotiated fee, of less than a dollar, is to be paid per cupcake sold, in perpetuity, to the notoriously tough Shark. Coupling the visibility of their appearance on Shark Tank with O’Leary’s investment three years ago, Noonan and Desroches told in a January 2016 interview, “we’ve done $8 million in sales.”

Tania’s dream of hugging Mr. Wonderful and receiving his financial support wasn’t realized, but she says with her can-do persona “overall, being on Shark Tank has been a winning experience.”

Listening to the 30-year-old explain how her appearance on the hit show came to be is as entertaining as watching the reality show itself. Tania said she became tired of commuting to work and supporting the dreams of other CEOs who used less than 30 percent of her skill set. She decided in August of 2014 she would deploy her “refuse to lose” attitude and quit her job in December of that year. Confident her risk would ultimately be rewarded, she walked away from her unfulfilling 9-to-5 position into her North End kitchen.

Consumed with the desire to develop her own brand and deliver PMS relief to women, she began blending sugar-free, gluten-free chocolaty spheres to satisfy her ambitions as well as her premenstrual cravings. Knowing sugar exacerbates symptoms of PMS, Tania used Siberian ginseng, chamomile, and dandelion root as well as cocoa and nuts to make the comforting snacks that were initially funded through a Kickstarter campaign.

In March of 2015, after being a finalist in MassChallenge, a business start-up accelerator, Tania’s PMS BITES were featured on the Today Show. After that, the young woman who isn’t afraid to take a chance on herself by relying on a recipe for success that mixes determination with hard work and a lot of luck, said one serendipitous day she eavesdropped on a conversation at Boston Common Coffee Co. that changed her life. In June of last year, she overheard a conversation between a man and a woman she believed to be interviewing for a job. After the woman left, Tania asked the gentleman what the job might be. Unexpectedly, the gentleman turned out to be a producer for another ABC blockbuster show, Dancing with the Stars. The two chatted, explained their respective professional pursuits and exchanged business cards.

Tania returned to her routine of hand-making PMS BITES in her little kitchen and selling them through local vendors such as Boston Common Coffee Co., Mother Juice and Nourish Your Soul. Two days later, after her morning workout at TITLE Boxing Club she wondered if it was a friend’s practical joke when she received an e-mail from a producer of Shark Tank. She’s not inclined to say her chance meeting with the man from Dancing with the Stars was responsible for the e-mail connection, but she’s not a big believer in coincidence, either.

After speaking with the Shark Tank producers she said she knew instantly the team planned to expedite PMS BITES onto the show. She said she simply “felt it” through their fun, extremely professional interactions. She found the entire team to be upbeat and supportive, which respects the process of entrepreneurship and knows how to handle people.

She went on to say they made the entire reality TV experience a comfortable one by managing expectations, telling her even before she left Logan for the ABC studios in Los Angels, her pitch to the cast members of Shark Tank may not go anywhere. But the North End entrepreneur with a fighter’s spirit said she knew before she boarded the Delta flight her stars have been in alignment since she overheard the Dancing with the Stars interview conclude.

These days, the recipe for success of the functionally, non-medical PMS relievers are produced by Boston Baking Company. Within hours, the company manufactures 8,000 pieces of relief that Tania once spent months making by hand in her North End kitchen. In her dreams, plans for expansion have come to her. The growing enterprise is now called Everything Bites, with product lines that now include other calorically guilt-free snacks for insomnia, menopause relief and stress reduction.

After the disappointment of not getting a Shark to bite for her proposal, Tania’s four-day adventure to L.A. concluded with a 16-hour nap in San Diego and a visit to Coronado where she treated herself to everything she wanted, saying she felt it was smart to step back, take time for herself and gain perspective. With that perspective has come “lots of orders and an outpouring of support, as well as TV show offers for guest appearances with celebrities” — none of which she can talk about yet. Although Shark Tanker’s didn’t offer her financial backing Tania says, Mark Andrus, founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips, has invested in PMS BITES, and Wicked Good Cupcakes owners Noonan and Desroches, whose corporate motto is “Be Kind, Do Good and Give Thanks,” have been incredibly supportive in bringing PMS BITES to the next level.

Boston business woman Tania Green may not have realized her dream of winning financial support from Shark Tank, but she’s realizing her ambition of working as a CEO in her own rapidly growing company and taking a sizable bite out of PMS one month at a time. Fins crossed for Tania Green, with national exposure leading to expanding sales, next time we see her on Shark Tank, she’ll be one of the venture capitalist cast members who has made millions and billions through her entrepreneurship.

Contact Diane Kilgore at [email protected].