The sharks took the curly bait.

Controlled Chaos Curl Creme snagged three funding offers last Friday when Alanna York pitched it on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

The week since for her and business partner Erica Gray, a Winthrop native, has been, well, chaotic.

“Absolutely crazy,” Gray said Thursday. “We have orders coming in left and right. We sold out of product and are now taking pre-orders at”

York had wanted the national platform to relaunch and rebrand their curl creme. 

During the episode, she asked for $50,000 in trade for a 20 percent stake in the company.


York handled jabs from the sharks about the business’s viability — “Only on Shark Tank do we get a bidding war over a dying business,” moaned Mark Cuban — and then leaped at an offer from shark Lori Greiner for $60,000 funding in trade for a 50 percent stake in the business and the promise of trying to get the brand exposure on QVC.

So what’s ahead?

“Hopefully, all good things,” Gray said. “We have been talking with Lori and her team and really have our fingers crossed for QVC!”

Market outreach

This week, the Maine Office of Tourism awarded the Emerge Film Festival a $5,750 marketing grant to help extend the festival’s reach. It’s the second year in a row for the tourism award.

Emerge is planned for April 28 through May 1. Festival Programming Manager Katie Greenlaw said Thursday that more than 2,200 film entries have come in for this year’s festival. Friday is the last day for submissions.


After that, she and the festival planning crew have a whole lot of screening to do.

Last year, Emerge showed 52 films, attracted 765 attendees and hosted 72 filmmakers from around the world.

Start getting your popcorn ready. This year could be bigger and better.

Consumer outreach

Sabattus native Ben Nadeau is hoping to catch fire on Kickstarter with a campaign for a medical vest that makes life a little easier for chemotherapy patients and others getting outpatient treatment.

Nadeau, CEO and co-founder of Gentoo Inc., said the vest, which is made of a light compression material with right-sized pockets for pumps and IV bags, has been in research and development for two years. A year ago, the company had 50 made and asked patients to test them.


Typically, those patients keep pumps and equipment in a bag that looks like a fanny pack slung over the shoulder or worn around the waist, said Nadeau, who grew up around medial supplies and equipment because his parents owned Bedard Pharmacy. In that traditional fanny pack, tubing can peek out or snag and the set-up can attract stares or questions.

“Patients, while they were at home, they didn’t feel like they were necessarily free, that they could do what they want,” he said. 

In test runs, the Gentoo vests, which hold everything close to the body, helped with that mobility.

“A construction worker was on (chemotherapy) treatment and he used it and he did a roofing job,” Nadeau said. “That’s something that he couldn’t do before because he had to have this bag and he was worried about dropping it. That’s our big push — helping patients adapt to their treatment better, so the treatment doesn’t run their life.”

The company’s campaign to raise $25,000 — enough to launch full-scale production and make the vests available nationwide — launched Monday. They’ll eventually retail for around $75.

“Traditionally with Kickstarter, it’s always something a little fun, somebody made a new wallet or they made a new speaker,” Nadeau said. “In our situation, it’s a little different. People going through chemotherapy right now need it now, and we don’t necessarily have the stock to give it to them now — and in the future, they might not be on it. It’s a very interesting dynamic, but we have been getting huge support, which is great. People want to see us create a product that’s going to help other people, not just necessarily themselves.”

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected] 

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