WHEN IT BREAKS, FIX IT AND KEEP ON GOING
The scariest moment in Bantam history came during the most important night of our entrepreneurial careers: our debut as entrepreneurs on ABC’s Shark Tank. We spent months preparing for what we hoped would be our biggest break, investing every dollar we had in inventory and an e-commerce platform we built from scratch. We thought we were ready…
We watched our Shark Tank episode with family and friends, holding hands and shaking with butterflies as 9 million viewers tuned in. Thirty seconds into the show, just as our faces (and bagels) hit the screen, we refreshed our phones in the hopes of seeing thousands of orders pouring in, but instead we saw our worst nightmare—our website had crashed from the surge in traffic.
Once the site was back up, we rushed to our computers and hit up every means of communication imaginable, personally responding to every single customer to let them know that they could now place orders. We finally fell asleep as the sun was coming up, thinking our company’s big break had passed us by.
We woke up a few hours later to find the most amazing turn of events—at 7 am there was a line down the block at our Bleecker St bakery, web sales started pouring in at a steady rate, social media was blowing up, and within a few hours, “Bantam Bagels” was a National Twitter trend. That morning we learned that our customers are the most resilient, supportive people…That against all odds, they came back!
What started as a gut-wrenching disaster turned into one of the most influential moments of our business. When it felt that fate (or technology, at least) was against us, we were able to get through it because of the greatest, most supportive people all over the country, genuinely rooting for our success. It was both humbling and inspiring, and still to this day makes us work harder every day to make sure we don’t let any of them down.