More often than not, simple problems in life give rise to creative and remarkable ideas in your mind. The brand, HangEase, is no exception to this rule.
Mostly, we directly pull off our shirts from the hangers in a hurry, thereby damaging the shirt or the hanger, in the process. We all would have encountered this problem countless times in our lives.
This simple problem is what kindled the fire inside the mind of Ryan Landis, an 8-year old from Plano, Texas. As part of his third-grade school project, Invention Convention, he had to come up with something creative that would impress everyone.
Ryan had experienced the problem of damaging his shirt or hanger many times when he pulled off the shirts directly.
Hence, he created a hanger with a hinge in the middle. When the pressure was applied on the hanger downwards while pulling off shirts, this hinge would help the hanger to fold up.
This technique saved the clothes and the hangers from getting damaged. In 2014, Ryan pitched his idea on Shark Tank. Was he able to get a deal? How is HangEase doing currently? Keep reading to find out the latest update on Ryan’s startup.
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What is HangEase?
Ryan Landis created a new type of hanger named HangEase. These hangers had a hinge in the middle, and they would fold up automatically when you pushed them from down while pulling your shirts.
As an 8-year-old, Ryan showcased this project in his school, and he was quite lucky, indeed!
His friend’s mother helped him sell his unique hangers through Walmart in 2006, and the sales figures were reasonable, to say the least. He had to put the business in the backseat, as he got busy with his studies.
In 2014, when Ryan turned 19, he pitched his ideas before the sharks in the show, Shark Tank. You must be curious to know whether Ryan got the backing from the sharks and if he could revive the business that he had put on hold as a child.
|Product||Collapsible hangers, with a hinge in the middle to fold up automatically when force is applied from downwards|
|Investment Asking For||$80,000 for 30% share in equity|
|Final Deal||$80,000 and 30% equity, only upon patent verification|
|Shark||Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner|
|Episode||Season 5 Episode 27|
|Business Status||Out of Business|
Who is the founder of HangEase?
Ryan Landis is the owner and founder of HangEase collapsible hangers. He created this brand when he was just 8 years old to solve a personal problem that he had been facing.
While pulling out shirts from hangers, he noticed that sometimes his shirts got damaged, and other times the hanger broke. This triggered him to invent something unique for his third-grade school project.
He developed a hanger with a hinge in the middle that would propel the hanger to fold automatically when pressure was applied from downwards. This way, the hanger, and the clothes were safe.
While his school project impressed many people, his friend’s mother took note of it and encouraged Ryan to build his brand. Thus Ryan became a successful businessman at the tender age of 8!
However, he put the business on hold to concentrate on studies. At the age of 19, he wanted to revive this brand. Therefore, he pitched his ideas to various sharks on the Shark Tank show to help develop his brand and increase the sales of his hangers.
HangEase Before Shark Tank
Unlike most other business pitches that get a new way forward through Shark Tank, HangEase was already a reasonably popular brand earlier. Ryan’s friend’s mother had a lot of contact with retail chains, and she helped Ryan sell his unique hangers through Walmart in 2006.
Ryan’s mother was so impressed with this idea that she used her business contacts to help develop his brand.
In the Shark Tank episode that he participated in, Ryan revealed that he had made sales of $200,000 and a profit of $70,000 in 2006, when he was just eight years old. This definitely piqued the curiosity of the Sharks present, as they were impressed with the brand’s performance many years ago.
Despite tasting reasonable success, Ryan had to put his business aside to concentrate on his studies.
When he turned 19 in 2014, Ryan wanted to try his luck again in the world of business. This is why he approached the show, Shark Tank, to pitch for his product and ask for investment to develop further.
How was the Shark Tank Pitch of HangEase?
Ryan started his pitch of HangEase by explaining briefly what triggered him to create a collapsible hanger. He told the sharks all about his third-school project, and how his friend’s mother helped him increase his business by stocking his hangers at Walmart.
Ryan was confident as he presented the pitch. He asked the sharks to give him a chance to bring his childhood dream back to life!
While the sharks were quite impressed with the fact that Ryan had earned reasonable profits back in 2006, they weren’t so pleased with the fact that he had put this business idea on the back burner for almost a decade!
One of the sharks, Barbara Corcoran, was quite vocal about her dislike when she asked Ryan if he had kept the idea hidden in his closet for such a long time.
Some of the other sharks like Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary were genuinely surprised when Ryan informed that he had been involved with Walmart in 2006.
When asked more about this association, Ryan proudly claimed that he had sold 400,000 hangers with Walmart. This definitely got the judges’ attention.
They were surprised that Ryan had even managed to get associated with Walmart in the first place! That’s when Ryan told the story about how his friend’s mom helped him through her business contacts.
When Mark Cuban asked Ryan why Walmart had stopped selling the hangers even though they sold reasonably, Ryan answered that he didn’t market his product properly. However, he did not have any points to convince the judges of the reason.
One of the judges, Lori, analyzed the pricing of the hangers and confirmed that Ryan’s products were at least four times costlier than premium hangers.
When asked if he owned a patent for his idea, Ryan replied that he had a fully-issued utility patent of the same. Lori wasn’t convinced, though. She stated that she found many other brands of collapsible hangers in the market.
Ryan acted surprised when he was told about the completion. But what caught him off-guard was the fact that the Sharks already knew about this concept from the market.
Ryan confidently denied the knowledge of any competitors. However, when Mark Cuban pointed out a similar technology on luggage bags, he only nodded, as he couldn’t give a convincing answer for this issue.
Not wanting to dismiss Ryan right away, Robert steered the conversation by asking Ryan about the uniqueness of HangEase hangers. Ryan passionately explained that the hinge in the middle of his hanger was great when shirts were pulled off directly from the downward direction of the hanger.
While Mark Cuban agreed to have faced similar problems (shirt damage or hanger damage) when pulling shirts downwards from a hanger, Kevin O’Leary wasn’t clearly convinced.
Though Lori agreed it was a common problem, she didn’t think HangEase had a chance, because of the presence of a large number of competitors.
Robert was the first shark to reject investment as he wasn’t too sure about using these hangers in daily life. Kevin O’Leary was more direct in his rejection.
Since HangEase hangers were over-priced and lacked potential, he didn’t want to invest, either. Barbara, too, didn’t want to invest because she didn’t like the fact that the business was on hold for a long time.
Finally, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner decided to give Ryan a chance. Mark offered the $80,000 investment that Ryan had asked for in exchange for 30% equity. However, after a long thought, Lori and Mark decided that the deal would fall through only if Ryan’s patent was verified.
What Happened to HangEase after Shark Tank?
Though a deal was finalized between Ryan and the two sharks in the show, we understand that the deal didn’t go through on paper. Ryan’s HangEase products are not found anywhere online or in retail stores.
It appears that the deal between the sharks and Ryan didn’t go through the final round, after all. There could be many reasons for this – presence of many similar products, issues with the patent and design, etc.
HangEase Shark Tank Update
After 2014, HangEase’s website, too, doesn’t show much information. You cannot order these hangers from the brand’s official website. The website is not updated, as you only get a message from Ryan that he is looking forward to bringing his hangers to customers soon. Hence, we have all reasons to believe that HangEase is not functional now.
Is HangEase still in business?
Now, HangEase seems to be out of business currently. The company’s official website is not updated since 2014. Even the company’s social media pages have been closed since 2015.
None of the physical or online retail stores stock HangEase hangers, either. We only hope that Ryan Landis is currently working on getting his patent approved, so that he can bounce back into business soon.
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