Finding tasty treats that accommodate specific dietary needs can be a bit of a challenge. As someone who enjoys ice cream as much as anyone else, it's no wonder Frankie Yamsuan -- the founder of Coconut Girl Brands -- set out to make her own paleo-friendly goodies after joining a paleo challenge at a crossfit gym. While she started with a date-based shake, it wasn't long before she made ice cream. She shared that ice cream with her fellow crossfitters, and it was a big hit -- eventually blossoming into the ice cream sandwiches she pitched on Season 11, Episode 14 of "Shark Tank." The frozen sandwiches, made from nice cream (fruit blended with bananas instead of milk) instead of actual ice cream, are dairy- and gluten-free.
In search of investors to grow her brand, Yamsuan took her product to "Shark Tank," where she asked for $180,000 in capital in exchange for 18% of the company. She certainly made an impression on the Sharks and viewers alike by riding a funky turquoise-colored, bicycle-powered ice cream vendor cart (or icicle tricycle, as she called it) onto the stage. Her energy was strong, and it was clear that her sales pitch was well-practiced.
Read more: The Ultimate Ice Cream Brands, Ranked
What Happened To Coconut Girl On Shark Tank?
The Sharks responded to Frankie Yamsuan with matched enthusiasm. She offered each of them a bite of all three flavors of her ice cream sandwich: Beach Bum Maple, Aloha Chocolate, and Hang Loose Vanilla. Shark Mark Cuban was the most notably excited about trying the frozen treats, exclaiming, "Me! Me! Me!" when Yamsuan asked who was interested in trying them.
The Sharks were also impressed by the taste despite having no dairy. "No dairy," she assured them, "...made with coconut milk."
Shark Kevin O'Leary challenged this, asking if the substitution meant the treat was high in calories. "My main focus is the good-for-you ingredients," Yamsuan said.
She explained that the reason she created Coconut Girl was that the health food industry was deceiving consumers with claims like low fat and zero sugar, but the products were actually making her sick. Excited by both the product and the business' success so far, Cuban cut the pitch off, saying he'd heard enough. He then offered $180,000 for 25% of Coconut Girl. A bit of a bidding war developed from there, with Cuban, O'Leary, and Shark Lori Greiner all vying for the opportunity to fund Coconut Girl. Cuban eventually won the battle with an offer of $180,000 for 20%.
Coconut Girl After Shark Tank
"Literally as it is airing my phone was blowing up. I had to turn it off during my viewing party, "Frankie Yamsuan told Salesmate. Unfortunately, her success came just before the COVID-19 pandemic, which created a bit of a hiccup in distribution. Nevertheless, she said the show gave her credibility and, thus, an advantage when marketing her product to distributors and buyers.
According to the interview with Salesmate, Yamsuan reported doing weekly check-ins with Cuban. And although the Shark was aggressive in his tactics, she assured readers that she had not been bullied into contracting with him. In fact, at the end of the episode, she told viewers that it had been her goal to work with Cuban in the first place.
Coconut Girl was available in a few select markets as of its appearance on "Shark Tank" -- most notably Whole Foods stores in California. According to the company's website, it has been available at numerous retailers, including Bristol Farms, Erewhon Natural Grocer and Cafe, Lazy Acres Natural Market, and many more. It is unclear which of these sellers carried the product before and which came after the "Shark Tank" episode. Still, availability expanded outside California to reach the West Coast and Northeast.
Is Coconut Girl Still In Business?
While it appears that Coconut Girl may still be in business, Daily Meal could not independently confirm this by press time (a message was sent via the contact form, but only an automated response was received). The company's website is still up, but its products are showing as currently not available on Amazon.
The company's social media is not updated regularly either; its most recent tweet is from 2020, and its latest Facebook post is from July 2023. The most current social media activity from Coconut Girl Brands appears to be on Instagram, with a photo showcasing branded t-shirts at a crossfit competition from November 2023. Branded clothing is still listed on the company's Square site, with all items showing either low in or out of stock, and website visitors are able to sign up for the newsletter through the Coconut Girl website.
What's Next For Coconut Girl And Its Founder?
Coconut Girl's founder had previously expressed interest in expanding into other products, including a clothing line. Frankie Yamsuan also noted that she was experiencing more significant challenges as a result of the business getting bigger -- which is to be expected, of course -- so it would take time to do so. A line of branded clothing was developed at one point and is featured on both Instagram and the company's website, but it is unclear whether Yamsuan intends to design or produce a line of retail clothing that goes beyond what's currently posted.
Whereas her company was initially called Coconut Girl Ice Cream, she changed the name to Coconut Girl Brands to expand beyond just frozen sandwiches. Naturally, seeing a whole line of paleo-friendly and gluten-free treats from Coconut Girl would be nice. The brand's fans are no doubt hoping for the same.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.