Wally Amos, aka “Famous Amos,” pitched his new company, Cookie Kahuna, in episode 804 of Shark Tank, seeking $50,000 for 20% of his company. None of the sharks agreed to the deal, leaving Wally disappointed.
However, Wally’s story is much bigger than what just happened on Shark Tank. And you also need to understand the historical context of Wally’s life to understand better the Cookie Kahuna Shark Tank Episode and what happened to Cookie Kahuna after Shark Tank.
So, in this piece, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Wally Amos, his Cookie Kahuna Shark Tank pitch, and wrap up with an update on Cookie Kahuna.
Wally Amos Before Cookie Kahuna
Wally Amos is a fascinating figure. He was called “the King of cookies” by NBC affiliate KSNV-TV in 2019. But he had very humble beginnings.
A mailroom clerk in the William Morris Agency in his initial days, Wally Amos later became the agency’s first African American talent agent. During his tenure as a talent agent, he attracted clients by sending them chocolate chip cookies. Why would he do that? After seeing his Aunty bake cookies, Wally developed a penchant for baking cookies at an early age. Seeing Wally Amos’ skills, a friend suggested he set up his store to sell cookies.
Taking the advice, Wally Amos opened his first cookie store, Famous Amos, in Los Angeles. Starting with the help of a $25000 loan, Famous Amos became a success story, and soon, the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies were present in supermarket stores across the US.
The company’s rise also led to Wally Amos being invited for speeches and publishing a few books. However, poor business calls led to financial troubles later, and Wally Amos was forced to sell the Famous Amos, which exchanged hands many times before settling with its current owner Kellogs.
The challenge for Wally Amos was that due to clauses present in the sale contract, he not only had no stake in his firm but could also not use his name in future commercial ventures.
After selling the Famous Amos, Wally Amos started another company but got sued by the owners of Famous Amos. Wally also started a company called Uncle Wally’s Muffin in 1999, which became successful but is now owned by Give & Go Prepared Food Corps.
All this while, Wally’s love for cookies never wavered. So, he started the Cookie Kahuna using all his expertise to develop a new cookie brand, attain his lost glory once again and relive his love of cookies.
Cookie Kahuna Shark Tank Pitch
When Wally Amos entered the Shark Tank room, he demanded $50,000 for 20% of the company. Given Wally Amos’ background in cookies and the fame he has amassed due to his previous endeavors, the Sharks were in absolute awe of him. To top it all off, he also sang a song named “Cookies for Sharks” and made them taste his delicious cookies. He also shared his story and how he came to create the Cookie Kahuna.
But when Robert began asking questions about the cost of production and profit margins, Wally removed a scrap of paper and started reading his notes. On seeing this, the Sharks were not pleased that Wally was referring to notes instead of relying on his memory.
Anyway, he informed the Sharks that he earns a profit of $2.64 per cookie bag and a profit margin of less than 20%. Until then, he had $36,215 in sales.
Robert said that his profit margin is not viable and shipping charges would bankrupt him, so he is out. Lori believed that Wally’s enthusiasm was misplaced and enthusiasm alone doesn’t sell cookies, so she also bowed out. Kevin did not like that Wally had to build his brand from scratch again despite his famous reputation, so he decided not to invest. Same for Barbara, who said the fact that Wally could not use his name due to copyright issues is a problem. Mark was interested, but he had a conflict of interest since he already has a cookie business, so he declined the investment offer.
What Happened to Cookie Kahuna After Shark Tank
Even though Cookie Kahuna failed to raise money from Sharks, the Shark Tank appearance helped increase sales. But Cookie Kahuna failed to generate enough revenue to sustain itself and was closed in 2018.
After the failure of Cookie Kahuna, Wally Amos started another brand called Aunt Della’s Cookies. However, that brand also failed, and Wally Amos had financial difficulties post that.
In 2020, Content Media Group came out with a documentary showing the life of Wally Amos, which was called The Great Cookie Comeback: reBaking Wally Amos.