Swimming with sharks

Bon-Affair-Sparkling-Wine

I first met Jayla Siciliano a little over three years ago when one of my employees suggested we invite her into the studio to pour wine for our endless summer fitness challenge wrap-up party. Jayla was a local entrepreneur and a friend of a friend who had just started her company, Bon Affair. Bon Affair is the ultimate wine spritzer! It’s made with 6.5 percent alcohol, California wine, electrolytes, and no added sugar; which makes it significantly lighter than typical wines and gives you far less of a hangover! After we met, Jayla and I quickly bonded over the grind of running our own businesses, our love for wine, and our old stomping grounds, Santa Barbara. We both went to UCSB for our undergrad – GO GAUCHOS! – and fell in love with the central coast. In fact, now that I think about it… I’m not surprised a UCSB Alumnus came up with this brilliant idea considering the amount of drinking that goes on at that school. Sorry, Mom! I think I still turned out okay.

After our anniversary event, Jayla began to send me monthly shipments of wine in exchange for mentions in our monthly newsletters and social media posts. An agreement that made me very happy… and drunk! (just kidding). It was the beginning of a mutually beneficial & supportive relationship. About a year later, maybe less … Jayla went swimming with Sharks and her entire life changed.

In September 2014, she was chosen amongst thousands of other applicants to pitch the investors on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank.” One of my all time favorite shows. At the time she pitched, her business was not yet breaking even and she had run into some major issues with a bottling manufacturer, as she describes on the show, that left her in a seemingly desperate situation to raise some more money to turn her company into a profitable business. She described this opportunity as her last ditch effort to secure more financing since she was already fully extended with other investor relations. Jayla was sworn to secrecy about what happened in the Shark Tank until it aired on May 9, 2014. I was lucky enough to get an invite to her screening party at Masuo’s in Solana Beach in which approximately 50 of her friends, family and investors gathered around for what we hoped would be a celebration of her success in the tank! We all watched (sipping Bon Affair, of course) each shark question her business plan for different reasons and “go out” one at a time until there was just one: Mr. Mark Cuban (my personal fave). Masuo’s was very quiet as we clutched our champagne glasses, eagerly waiting to see what Mark had to say. If you watch the show, then you know Mark either jumps in first “to get the ball rolling” or he hangs back and observes. I can’t imagine what she was thinking before the pin dropped and Mark Cuban proceeded to offer Jayla exactly what she asked for: $150,000 for 35% of her company. Masuo’s went crazy! It was so much fun to be there and see the reaction of all of her friends, family and investors.

 

Not only did Jayla secure a deal with Mark Cuban, but she later said he has been an amazing mentor and advisor since signing on the dotted line. He and his team are involved in everything from business development, finance, website development and more. Sales have grown 500% since first airing on “Shark Tank” and she’s capitalized on a whole new market of “day drinkers” with her new Aluminum bottle. In addition to that, Bon Affair was just featured on the spin-off hit show “Beyond The Tank.”  “Beyond the Tank” is all about entrepreneurial lessons and there was definitely a good one in this episode. Read Bon Affair’s latest blog post https://bonaffair.com/beyond-tank-update to find out what has happened to Bon Affair since that episode filmed over a year ago.

When asked in another interview what her biggest takeaway was from her experience in the Shark Tank her response was to“Find someone who believes in you and be proud to be a woman in business. It’s an opportunity to differentiate yourself amongst a mostly male dominated space.” Jayla is Bold for creating a product out of a necessity and a passion, Outspoken for defending her business against the intimidating and hungry sharks on national television, Smart for presenting a deal in the tank that was real, honest and came from a place of integrity and of course, Sassy because she went to UCSB! There’s no doubt Jayla is the real deal and Bon Affair will be an enormous success. Bon Affair is available for purchase through their wine club or in the wine section at Whole Foods. Cheers! https://bonaffair.com

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3 comments

  1. Always so inspiring to learn about a local entrepreneur’s path – the struggles, the successes, the unexpected turns! Mark Cuban FTW!

    1. It is and I was so happy when Jayla told me Mark Cuban was great to work with. He’s my favorite Shark!

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