Surrounded by family and his team, Alexiou Gibson, 35, watched as he agreed to a deal with “sharks” on the season finale of the ABC network hit show “Shark Tank” along with everyone else, one week ago. Reliving the moment, he said, made him feel as if he was experiencing it all over again.
“Having to withhold the information from everyone was definitely challenging because I just wanted to share the good news with people that surrounded me, but I couldn’t,” said Gibson.
“Even though I filmed it – when it aired, it felt as though I was experiencing it all over again for the first time. Watching it was like seeing it for the first time.”
He taped the segment for close to an hour, and expected it to be edited down to between eight and 10 minutes, not knowing what bits and pieces production would keep. Gibson said he was pleased watching the playback and felt great about how well the conversation and pitch went with the “sharks”.
“I’m proud of the way I answered their questions. I practiced, studied, and researched for several months prior to the taping. I’m glad that I was able to stand in front of a room with such powerful entrepreneurs and was able to speak on their level.”
He admits he was nervous leading up to the double doors opening, but said once they opened, he felt like the late Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter.
“You have no other choice but to perform. The doors are open, the camera is on and the lights are on. It’s now or never. At that moment, it was fight or flight for me – and I automatically went into fight mode.”
Gibson, CEO of The Transformation Factory (TTF), a sea moss company, appeared on “Shark Tank” with Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and guest “shark” Kevin Hart.
The Wellington, Florida, entrepreneur introduced his line of health products using nature’s most powerful superfood – sea moss – which helped him transform his life. Gibson’s TTF offers nine sea moss gel flavors – elderberry, strawberry, strawberry/banana, mango, dragon fruit, goji berry, pineapple, soursop (guanbana) and raw. Other products include sea moss capsules and wild-crafted Irish sea moss (raw).
TTF received a 20 percent buy for $600,000 from “sharks” O’Leary and Hart. It’s an investment Gibson said will be used to grow TTF where they can scale their numbers further.
“This will provide for a bigger warehouse that can hold more staff and more inventory. The investment will also give us an opportunity to start the other product lines we foresee having in the future.”
He said having entrepreneurs at the “sharks” level take notice of his business as an opportunity for them to grow their portfolio, solidifies for him that what he is doing is something special, and can impact a bigger market.
Gibson said he sought out a “shark” investment because of the “sharks’” relationship capital more than their financial capital.
“Their relationships with vendors and other media outlets would give The Transformation Factory a much bigger platform to be seen and heard. The most enticing part of the deal for me was having the opportunity to work alongside a ‘shark’. They are sharp, intentional and successful. Being around successful entrepreneurs such as Mark Cuban and Kevin Hart will be something that I can study and learn from as a young first-generation CEO.”
In his pitch to the “sharks”, Gibson said his company had $3.5 million in sales in just 11 months into its formation, with a 35 percent profit margin.
“It’s all direct to consumer and 100 percent online.”
With more than half a million per month in sales, Gibson told the “sharks” he was seeking to sell five percent of the company for $500,000, so that he could take the product retail.
“The way this actually started, my 80-year-old grandmother was visiting from The Bahamas, who has a lot of comorbidities and takes a lot of medications. So, I knew I wanted to protect her, so I would put this in her coffee every morning. I was sharing online Instagram stories just showing sea moss lattes every day at 8 o’clock in the morning and people were like, I know what sea moss is, I keep hearing about it, can I please stop by and get some,” he told the sharks.
“I was giving this away for free not even thinking this could have been a business. It wasn’t until I was getting about 60 orders a week that I said why don’t I open an online store to make the process simpler? It exploded. From there, we started running ads and started getting more SEO [search engine optimization] traffic. We had 800 percent growth from February to March when we started running ads.”
Impressed by the company’s margins, Hart, actor and investor, said, “This is a culturally driven product. In our community, the African American community, this is something that is now being raved about and we are now seeing growth in. So, I’ve actually purchased it, it was in a plain jar and it was an exclusive buy.”
Gibson said he is most excited to work with the sharks and investors to see his company’s mission come to fruition.
“When I was 21 years old, I weighed over 500 pounds and was told I wouldn’t live to see 30. I wanted to do something right away to get my life back. I started working out more, eating healthy and even went vegan. During my transformation, I found a nutritious ingredient that had 90 percent of the minerals that our human bodies need, and I incorporate it into my life every single day,” Gibson said.
“What is it? It’s called sea moss. Sea moss is a powerhouse marine algae that exists in our oceans and has 90 percent of the essential minerals that the human bodies have. I want everyone to have this product, so that they can be the best versions of themselves as well, which is why I created The Transformation Factory, a line of mouthwatering sea moss gels that you can take to get 90 percent of your nutrients with two tablespoons every day.”
The “sharks” made an offer, Gibson countered; O’Leary, Hart and Gibson eventually agreed on the 20 percent buy for $600,000.
Post-taping, Gibson said a lot of negotiation and paperwork ensued behind the scenes.
The watch party was an evening of celebration with Gibson surrounded by family, friends, and his team.
Gibson, who was born and raised in Grand Bahama, lives and works in Florida. He is the son of Mavis Pinder-Smith and Alexander Gibson.
Gibson’s TTF team started with three people which he grew to a 45-strong complement and 200,000 customers.
Through TTF, Gibson helps motivate and inspire others on their journey – whatever that may be. Having lost over 300 pounds, he leads TTF as a continuation of his own transformation from one seeking answers, to one providing answers.
TTF, he said, is the culmination of his more than 10 years of battling health issues, and that he has used every disappointment, achievement, heartbreak, success, and learning moment to create the concept of TTF as a resource and inspiration for those trying to become their best selves.
Gibson started his transformation in 2014 when a doctor told him that he would not live to see the age of 30. He tipped the scale at over 500 pounds. At that time, he was plagued with multiple chronic conditions. He also had respiratory conditions making it difficult to walk long distances. Today, he has completely changed his life, and lives a vegan lifestyle, powers through dips and squats, and finds any opportunity he can to coach, inspire and encourage.