Snarky Tea: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Jenni-Lyn Williams holds the title of Chief Snark Officer, a fitting role for the founder of Snarky Tea, a brand celebrated for its profanity-laced product names. Before founding the company, Williams was a stressed-out mom juggling a corporate job while earning an MBA. She was fueling her busy schedule by drinking multiple cups of coffee a day — sometimes up to seven. When this habit led to jitteriness and anxiety, her doctor advised her to cut the caffeine and switch to herbal tea. Williams was horrified at having to give up coffee, and didn't think the tea options available in stores appealed to her lifestyle, wants, or needs. Undeterred, Williams started blending her own functional teas to get her through the day.

Snarky Tea was established in 2016 with a mission to share with other women the benefits of teas designed to support both body and mind. Rebelling against antiquated ideas of women as weak and demure, Williams gave her blends assertive names that reflected their intended effects.

The products took off quickly thanks to publicity from a feature in Vogue, as well as a table at the 2017 Oscars' celebrity gifting lounge. Although Snarky Tea had been in business for less than a year at that point, it was growing fast. Williams turned to "Shark Tank" for an investment partner, and ended up accepting a combined offer from two sharks.

What happened to Snarky Tea on Shark Tank?

Jenni-Lyn Williams appeared on "Shark Tank" in Season 9, Episode 8, seeking $150,000 for 25% of Snarky Tea. To pitch her unique and boldly named teas, she served blends matched to the judges' personalities. Kevin O'Leary was given the "Calm The F**k Down" tea, while Robert Herjavec received the "Wake The F**k Up" yerba mate morning tea. Lori Greiner was offered the "Peace & Love Motherf**ker" overall wellness blend, and Mark Cuban the "Get Your Sh*t Together" tea. Guest shark Bethenny Frankel tried the "Fierce B*tch" rose petal black tea.

Williams reported impressive earnings of $190,000 in the previous eight months, with 85% of sales coming from the brand's website, and 15% from wholesale. Each tin of tea sold for $12.99, costing $4.34 to produce. However, Greiner didn't think the gimmicky branding had longevity. Herjavec felt the concept was too edgy and niche, and Cuban didn't believe the brand could compete with Amazon, leading all three to bow out.

O'Leary, however, thought Snarky Tea was a good fit with his existing wedding business, and made an offer of $150,000 for 50%. Frankel, citing her beverage market experience with Skinnygirl, matched O'Leary's offer. Williams asked if O'Leary and Frankel would partner together. They agreed, but neither would yield their full 25% stake. Despite Cuban's warning about losing control of her company, Williams accepted the combined offer from O'Leary and Frankel.

Snarky Tea after Shark Tank

Although agreements are reached and handshakes are exchanged on "Shark Tank," things can change behind the scenes. While many deals do end up finalized, some fall through, and others are renegotiated before money is exchanged. Jenni-Lyn Williams encountered this scenario. After taking a closer look at her business's performance, a more favorable deal for Williams was negotiated. Initially, both Kevin O'Leary and Bethenny Frankel were set to receive a combined 50% (25% each), but the revised contract reduced their shares to 12% each, granting a larger stake to the company's founder.

Frankel expressed concerns that Snarky Tea's sassy product names might be too aggressive for retail shelves. To address this, she and Williams created a wellness product line that was a little less snarky. Williams retained her original provocative tea titles as well, but those blends now have their own separate line called ProfaniTEAS.

In 2020, Snarky Tea bought the BRUW cold brew filter company from Max Feber, a fellow "Shark Tank" alumnus who had scored a deal with Mark Cuban. Featuring a fine mesh infuser designed to work with Mason jars, the BRUW can be utilized for brewing both iced tea and cold brew iced coffee.

Is Snarky Tea still in business?

Snarky Tea is still adding to its product line, brewing up dozens of new flavors and blends since appearing on "Shark Tank," along with drinkware and infusion tools. Innovative items have been rolled out regularly. In July of 2023, the brand advertised its new line of simple syrups, made with fresh fruits and herbs to sweeten tea blends, iced cold coffee, or boba tea beverages, on its Instagram. The company's online store now also sells a crossbody Mason jar carrying sleeve, available in black or teal neoprene.

Capitalizing on the enduring popularity of Taiwanese boba tea, Snarky Tea has also introduced a classic boba tea starter kit, complete with a boba drinking glass, instant boba pearls, and a choice of black or matcha tea. Refill packs of the vegan brown sugar-flavored boba pearls are sold separately, which can be prepared in just 25 seconds in the microwave.

In August 2023, the company launched six new summer tea blends. The limited batch of herbal, green, and black teas comes in refreshing summertime flavors.

What's Next for Snarky Tea?

Connecting with its customers appears to be where Snarky Tea is focusing its marketing efforts, leveraging programs and products that engage the brand's large social media following and returning customers. For example, the company offers a monthly subscription program that delivers exclusive seasonal blends and limited editions.

Snarky Tea has also established a private Facebook group known as the Snark Squad. Those who join get access to product drop announcements, giveaways, and special discounts. To make its teas even easier to access and purchase, Snarky Tea has also launched its own phone app. The app facilitates quick reordering, in-app deals, early access to new products, and other exclusive content.

Snarky Tea also continues to expand its reach through wholesale distribution, providing a website form for resellers with a $30 minimum order. The company also uses the Faire online marketplace, a portal that connects independent brands with small businesses, and handles the process of setting up wholesale accounts and inventory management. With its frequent new releases and active social media presence, Snarky Tea shows no signs of slowing down — with or without the caffeine.