Curious about The Mad Optimist and whether you should buy one of their products? If so, you’re in the right place. We had a look into the company and wrote up a FAQ covering the main questions people have about them and a short review. Let’s get started.
(BTW, if you think anything here is incorrect or this article should cover something that we haven’t, please let us know).
Was The Mad Optimist On Shark Tank?
Yes, and they were successful in getting $60,000 from Mark Cuban in exchange for 20% of the company:
As you’ll see if you watch the short clip above, The Mad Optimist team also vowed to donate 100% of the sales from the day they appeared on Shark Tank (much to the dismay of Kevin O’Leary). And that’s revenue, not profits… meaning they would have actually lost a significant amount of money from being on Shark Tank.
Why Should You Buy The Mad Optimist? What’s Their Unique Selling Point?
There are a few interesting things about this company:
A lack of animal ingredients and GMO’s
A lack of animal products is the primary selling point of The Mad Optimist. The Mad Optimist claims that “everything we make is vegan, halal, cruelty-free, non-GMO, and gluten-free.” Therefore, if you are vegan or care strongly about animal rights, it’s worth considering their soap. Animal fat is in fact a widely used soap ingredient.
The Mad Optimist is definitely not the first vegan soap, however, and PETA has a long list of vegan soaps that you may consider as an alternative.
A commitment to transparency
Taken from the ‘Humanifesto’ page on themadoptimist.com (as of June 22 2020):
We practice radical transparency.
We have nothing to hide and everything to show. Our intentions are true, our quality pure, our conscience clean. Just ask, we’ll tell.
How’s this for transparency? Currently, this month’s sales are $23,812.24. Help us raise that number by ordering even more amazing, customized bodycare. Every sale helps make our Humanifesto mission a reality!
Beyond posting their exact sales figures, The Mad Optimist also lists their suppliers and writes in detail about why they started.
Choose your own price (see Why We Offer Sliding Scale Pricing)
Even stranger than posting their exact sales every month, The Mad Optimist allows you to choose how much you’d like to pay:
Apparently more than 2/3rds of customers choose a higher price than the lowest priced option. For their soaps, the lowest price they let you pay right now is $6, and the highest price you can choose is $16 (the default price is $10). That is a perfectly reasonable price range that is similar to what you’d pay for ordinary soap.
Create your own product
The Mad Optimist website allows you to create your own customized product. Taking soaps as an example, you can choose the type of soap (Bar, Shave, Shampoo etc), the scent (there are currently 20 different scents available, and you can choose up to 4), and packaging. They’ll then create your soap in just 24 hours. Taken from the story page of themadoptimist.com:
Our products are totally customizable, because we discovered a proprietary method that allows soap to cure in just 24 hours rather than the typical 30 days
Is The Mad Optimist A Viable Business?
Some of the business decisions The Mad Optimist team has made such as letting customers choose what they want to pay and donating 100% of revenue at times put some doubt into whether they are too idealistic to ever make a profit. When they appeared on Shark Tank, all the other sharks besides Mark Cuban hated this approach, believing that the company was doomed to fail. This quote from fellow-shark Robert Herjavec pretty much sums it up: “I really love your energy, but I could not hate your business more. The open market does not reward good intention, it rewards results.”
My own 2c is that The Mad Optimist has a high chance of failure, but that remains to be seen.
What Products Does The Mad Optimist Offer?
Primarily soaps, as mentioned, but they also have balms, sprays, bath soaks and scents.
Are The Mad Optimist’s Products High Quality?
Yes. I’m not an expert in this arena and haven’t compared The Mad Optimist to every other soap, balm, spray and so on. But I can say that The Mad Optimist’s products are exactly what’s advertised, and you get exactly what you pay for. So it’s worth buying from them if you like what you’ve heard so far.
Is The Mad Optimist Still Shipping Promptly During COVID-19?
There are major shipping delays right now, and themadoptimist.com says orders “may be delayed by an additional 30 days.” Many people have complained about this on the company Facebook page:
Many (most?) companies are facing the same thing right now, so this is nothing unique to The Mad Optimist. Be aware that your order may take several weeks to get shipped during this time.
Where Should You Buy The Mad Optimist?
The Mad Optimist is offered on the official website and Amazon. If you want to be able to customize the product you order, you’ll have to order through the website. However, if you don’t want to customize your order and just buy an off-the-shelf product, it may be better to order via Amazon, as I expect Amazon shipping may be faster than the shipping you’ll get if you order on the website.