Here's What Went Down With Bridal Buddy After Shark Tank

After working in a bridal boutique for several years, Heather Fitzner (then known as Heather Stenlake) had seen it all. During her time in the business, she noticed there was one common question brides would ask when wedding dress shopping, especially if they opted for a big, poufy gown: How were they going to use the bathroom while wearing it? With that, Fitzner knew she had a business opportunity on her hands. Rather than having brides constantly take off their bridal dresses or head to the bathroom with their bridesmaids to lift up their dress, she invented the Bridal Buddy in 2015.

The Bridal Buddy is a slip used to scoop up a wedding dress so a bride can comfortably use the bathroom. The entrepreneur told Her Network she put $40,000 of her retirement savings into the idea — and she knew she had to get her product in front of a big audience. Cue "The Steve Harvey Show," which Fitzner appeared on in April 2016 to show off her innovative idea. She later admitted in a subsequent TikTok video she was so nervous before walking onto the set she couldn't stop shaking. But despite the nerves, her appearance resulted in an impressive cash injection. "[Harvey] was so wonderful, he gave us great advice. I was so thankful," she said, revealing he gave her $5,000 towards the business.

But that wasn't quite enough to get things off the ground the way Fitzner needed, so she turned to another big show for an even larger cash injection. And that show was "Shark Tank."

Bridal Buddy caused a Shark Tank bidding war

Heather Fitzner took the Bridal Buddy to Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec during the Season 8 finale of "Shark Tank." The May 2017 episode saw Fitzner head into the den with a bridal model, who gave the Sharks a live demonstration of why it's so tough for brides with big dresses to head to the bathroom on their big day. Which certainly got their attention.

Fitzner was looking to give away 10% of her business for a $75,000 investment. During her pitched, she brought up that the business had already brought in $195,000 in sales. But that wasn't enough to have all the Sharks on-board. Cuban was first to drop out after because he didn't want to be part of the bridal business. Herjavec was next, explaining he couldn't see Bridal Buddy getting big enough.

But that wasn't the case for all the Sharks. Greiner and O'Leary teamed up to give Fitzner the full amount, but for 25% each. They also suggested that Fitzner's friend who modelled the product would join the deal with 25% equity. The suggestion caused a stir though, as Cuban strongly encouraged Fitzner not to give so much equity away. Corcoran then swooped in and offered the full amount for 33%, to which Greiner counter offered by taking Fitzner's friend out of the deal and suggesting 20% each for her and O'Leary. Corcoran then dropped to 30% while Griener and O'Leary then offered 15% each — and Fitzner shook on a deal.

Heather Fitzner had big plans after Shark Tank

After Shark Tank, Heather Fitzner got straight to work expanding her company. Speaking to Her Network in 2017, she explained of what she had planned for the business, sharing, "I'm working on adding on to the line of Bridal Buddy — to accommodate different styles of gowns. I also have another bathroom related product that is in the works that will make everyone's life a little easier!"

Though she doesn't appear to have spoken publicly about Greiner or O'Leary's involvement int the business after the episode aired, Fitzner has also continued to spread the love for her time on "Shark Tank." In May 2022, she celebrated the anniversary of her episode airing by posting a clip from the show to Bridal Buddy's Instagram account. The company is also continuing to promote its products across social media on a regular basis. One of its most recent Instagram updates from January 2024 shows brides exactly how to use the product.

You can still get your hands on a Bridal Buddy in 2024

Good news if you're planning to tie the knot in 2024, because Bridal Buddy is still in business! Bridal Buddy offers three different designs on its website, ranging in price from $29.95 to $35 USD, proving Heather Fitzner made good on her desire to create new products. The product is also available for purchase via several bridal boutiques and even internationally on Amazon. The company also sells its designs via its own Etsy shop. But it's not just the original Bridal Buddy available for purchase. The official website also offers add-ons a bride might need on her big day, such as foot petals to sooth aching feet. And all those sales have clearly turned into money. According to Geeks Around The Globe, as of November 2023, Bridal Buddy has a net worth of $1 million, and has expanded to employ between five and 10 employees.

Heather Fitzner didn't stop inventing after Shark Tank

While Bridal Buddy is still very much available to buy, it seems as though Heather Fitzner's time is split when it comes to business. And that's because she refused to stop inventing after finding success with her bridal designed. On her LinkedIn, she still lists herself as the product developer and CEO of Bridal Buddy (and a "Shark Tank" alumni), but she also has another business on the book. As of January 2020, Fitzner also lists herself as being the owner and inventor of Christmas Tree Bagger, a bag designed to put your Christmas tree in when you throw it out to avoid mess.

But Fitzner certainly hasn't completely turned her back on Bridal Buddy. With the product still readily available online and its social media channels getting regular updates, it looks like she's still just as dedicated to helping brides hit the bathroom on their big day.