May 10, 2013
04:52 PMConnecticut Today
It was just a little more than a year ago that Barbara Lampugnale swam with sharks and lived to tell the tale. The West Hartford entrepreneur, and mother of six girls, appeared on Season 3 of ABC hit reality show “Shark Tank” hoping to make a deal to expand her company, Duality Cosmetics, and Nailpak, the ingenious three-in-one manicure system she invented.
Lampugnale went on the show looking for $50,000 to expand her Nailpak product—and a couple of “sharks” bit right away: Lori Greiner, “Queen of QVC,” and venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary. After a brief tussle, Greiner came out on top, meeting Lampugnale’s asking amount in exchange for 40 percent of her company. The rest is herstory.
But the biggest winner was Lampugnale herself. Greiner made good on her promise to get Nailpak on QVC right away and sold all of her inventory—10,000 bottles—overnight. Things went so well for Duality that "Shark Tank" featured Lampugnale and her product again in a Success Stories segment in Season 4.
The company had already hit $750,000 in sales when Greiner secured a meeting with Ulta Beauty. Now Nailpak is carried in all 500 of the company’s stores across the country. The all-in-one polish, remover and file product’s been featured in Real Simple, People, US Weekly, Hamptons magazine and the New York Post, among many others.
This was no meteoric success though. Lampugnale struggled for years to make her dream come true. For a while the family had to downsize to one car, and their house was in foreclosure. But Lampugnale held fast to her dreams, swam with the sharks and made them come true.