The Cookie Kahuna: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Wally Amos walked into season 8, episode 3 of "Shark Tank" hoping to win an investment, but he was no young businessman new to running a company, nor was he a novice inexperienced in the world of cookies. In fact, the 80-year-old entrepreneur was already a cookie legend: He was the man who founded Famous Amos in 1975.

Amos began his career as the first African-American talent agent at the William Morris Agency where he would walk into meetings with record companies and people in the movie industry with a box of homemade cookies in hand. His cookies became a hit with industry friends and soon, Amos had a $25,000 check from celebrity investors including Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy to start Famous Amos. The company became a hit: The cookies were sold in Macy's and Bloomingdale's, Amos made appearances on shows like "The Jeffersons," and Famous Amos was making $12 million in revenue in 1982.

But as Amos himself admitted to the Sharks, he was not a very savvy businessman, and Famous Amos soon pummelled into losses. Amos kept raising funds from investors to keep afloat until he was eventually left without any equity of his own in the business. Along with his business, Amos had also sold away the right to use his own name and image on marketing materials. Not one to be deterred, however, Amos launched several businesses in the years to come until he finally came up with the idea for The Cookie Kahuna.

What happened to The Cookie Kahuna?

Amos was seeking $50,000 in exchange for 20% equity in The Cookie Kahuna, an amount that he jokingly said was "chump change" for the Sharks (via YouTube). The Sharks were quick to recognize the Famous Amos founder and agreed that his reputation was legendary — but when it came time to focus on The Cookie Kahuna, they sensed trouble on the horizon.

Although The Cookie Kahuna was already available in select Costco stores in Hawaii at the time, steep packaging, handling, and shipping costs left the company's margin at a slim 20%. The Sharks believed that the margins weren't enough to sustain The Cookie Kahuna in the long run, and the numbers simply didn't work for them. Kevin O'Leary was troubled by the fact that Amos had no rights over the use of his name and image, Mark Cuban cited a conflict of interest, and Lori Greiner suggested that it was perhaps time for Amos to use his passion in something besides cookies. So while the Sharks agreed that they had learned a lot from Amos' previous business and had great respect for him, The Cookie Kahuna was not investable enough for them to make an offer, leaving Amos without a deal.

The Cookie Kahuna after Shark Tank

Amos left the Tank without a deal, but there was still a lot that The Cookie Kahuna gained from its appearance on the show. The entrepreneur told Business 2 Community that he was grateful for "Shark Tank" and wouldn't change a thing about his pitch even in hindsight. Investment or not, he still thought that appearing on "Shark Tank" was the right move for his business: The company needed publicity and exposure to create more brand awareness, it needed more media opportunities and customers, and it needed more sales. The appearance on "Shark Tank" gave The Cookie Kahuna all of that.

The show made The Cookie Kahuna more popular among the masses, and Amos was selling more cookies than before. The entrepreneur also anticipated more growth for both The Cookie Kahuna and himself in the years to come and teased that there were several surprises in the works for fans. All seemed just as Amos had anticipated as The Cookie Kahuna's chocolate chip, chocolate chip pecan, and chocolate chip macadamia cookies were being sold at select ABC and Costco stores in Hawaii. Amos also ran several offers during the holiday seasons, offering perks like discounted prices and free shipping to patrons. Sadly, much like Amos' previous endeavors, trouble soon followed The Cookie Kahuna.

The Cookie Kahuna is no longer in business

The Sharks had hoped only the best for the Famous Amos founder, but sadly The Cookie Kahuna was not meant to be as the company is no longer in business. Amos himself admitted that despite having a deep-rooted passion for cookies, he wasn't a business guy, and this seems to have been the downfall of The Cookie Kahuna as well. Speaking about The Cookie Kahuna and his other business, Uncle Wally's Muffins, to Charlotte Magazine, the entrepreneur said that he "had a not-so-good business arrangement ... I put the whole business together, my business partner put up the money, and it didn't go so well."

In March 2017, Amos posted a video on YouTube announcing that he had departed from The Cookie Kahuna, adding that the move both "saddened" him and had left him "flat broke." Amos said that despite the perception of being famous and consequently rich, the entrepreneur had never made a lot of money through selling cookies and was now finding it hard to even cover the cost of rent, food, and gas. He hoped that fans would buy one of his many books to help him tide over the financially tough time, or donate money on his GoFundMe page. The Cookie Kahuna's Instagram account has also been inactive since November 2018, indicating that the company is no longer selling any cookies.

What's next for The Cookie Kahuna's founder?

Amos may have walked out of "Shark Tank" without a deal, and The Cookie Kahuna may have subsequently gone out of business, but its entrepreneur has never been one to stop at his failures. When The Cookie Kahuna pulled down its shutters, Amos set his sights on the next venture: another cookie-selling business of course! The entrepreneur packed up his bags and moved from Hawaii to Charleston to launch Aunt Della's with the help of a crowdfunding campaign — a cookie company named after his aunt who baked him his first chocolate chip cookie 70 years ago.

Amos told the Charlotte Magazine that Aunt Della's would be his last business: "Put that on my tombstone: 'He died starting one last cookie company,'" he joked. But coming from someone who has launched several businesses in his lifetime, most of which involved handmade chocolate chip cookies, whether or not Aunt Della's will actually be the last that the world sees of Wally Amos remains to be seen.