What Happened To Mavens Creamery After Shark Tank?

For a while there, the macaron was the treat of the moment, and maybe still is. These beautiful, infinitely Instagrammable little pastel delicacies lit up feeds and gift boxes starting in the 2010s (per Ventured). They can even be customized in special shapes like these super-detailed macarons that took Instagram by storm. Part of what's so fun about macarons is their customizability. The classic version of this French delicacy calls for two rounded almond meringue cookies sandwiched around a buttercream filling; according to The New York Times buttercream is the most traditional filling.

Now any of those parts can be swapped out to make the perfect cookie for special occasions, they can be flavored any which way you like them and are often tinted in candy colors with complementary colored fillings. The filling as well can be swapped out for flavorful and colorful options. Don't love buttercream? Virtually anything can be carefully spooned into the middle to make for endless fun color and flavor combinations. But two 2019 "Shark Tank" contestants had an unheard-of idea that took their macarons to the next level, in more ways than one. Season 10 of ABC's reality hit "Shark Tank" introduced viewers to entrepreneurs Gwen and Christine Nguyen and their gourmet ice cream sandwich company, Mavens Creamery (per Shark Tank Blog). The sisters had taken macarons to new heights, literally, by sandwiching more than an inch of ice cream in between the two chewy almond cookie layers.

Swimming with the sharks

Sister entrepreneurs Gwen and Christine Nguyen proved you don't need a culinary background to go into the food industry; they learned everything they know from Youtube (per ABC 7). Their premium products are all-natural, totally preservative-free, and were at the time of airing entirely hand-made (via YouTube). That's part of the problem. With that much labor involved, their labor costs were just too high. The cookie part of macarons is notoriously temperamental to prepare. Each tray of macaron dough has to be aggressively pounded to remove air bubbles and attain the proper proportions, a process one of the sisters likens to tossing pizza dough in an ABC news segment. Macaron production (the pounding) and delicate ice cream sandwich assembly have to be done on alternating days in their current facility. The sisters had an idea for how to successfully automate production, but they needed $200,000 to get there.

But they're asking for even more than that. The Nguyen sisters are asking for $400,000 in exchange for only 10% of their company (via Shark Tank Blog). Their asking price is backed by significant sales — they expected $2.1 million in sales in the year their episode was taped.

Despite their significant sales and impressive retail network, low margins and high labor costs scared off most of the sharks. They accepted a generous offer from Barbara Corcoran for $200,000 plus a $200,000 line of credit and guarantee of future credit as needed for 25% of their company.

Life after the Tank

So did the sharks offer the help the Nguyen sisters wanted? Sadly, according to Shark Tank Blog, the deal never closed. Since appearing on "Shark Tank" Mavens Creamery has expanded to sell in a number of supermarkets in market areas across the nation including Kroger, Whole Foods, King Soopers, Vons, Pavillions, and Albertsons, expanding their sales area into Colorado and Nevada, the Midwest, and the Northeast. More recently, they've expanded into Whole Foods stores in the Southeast and California. They now retail in more than 300 markets nationwide (vai Mavens Creamery).

The big news for Mavens Creamery is that they're expected to launch a limited-run durian fruit ice cream in Costcos this fall (per SF Gate). So if you've ever wondered if durian tastes as bad as it smells, now's the time to find out, at least if you live near a Bay Area Costco, where the flavor will be released. While unusual in most parts of the US, the sisters grew up eating this malodorous fruit as a traditional Vietnamese dessert and think its custardy flavor is a perfect pairing for ice cream. In recent years, the Creamery has also expanded its options to include macarons filled with an indulgent frozen cheesecake filling.

Annual revenues are chugging along around $3 million and it appears these sisters are still going strong. And more importantly, keeping up with demand. In part due to their new partially automated system, which they were able to achieve without the aid of "Shark Tank" after all (via Facebook).