Albert Einstein said, “Necessity is the mother of all invention.”
Mark Peterson agrees with that. CEO of Western Mortgage Brokers in Eugene, Mark always knew he would invent something great; he just didn’t realize the housing market crash would be the match to light his creative flame.
When Mark contacted me at Turell Group earlier this year, he was seeking help promoting his upcoming appearance on Shark Tank, the hit TV show that lets entrepreneurs pitch their ideas before a panel of moneyed investors.
A national audience was about to be introduced to the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket, the all-in-one gold panning kit that Mark invented. Pretty exciting when you consider that this year alone, Shark Tank producers received applications from 45,000 entrepreneurs.
Since Mark had already taped the show months before, he knew how it turned out, but he couldn’t tell anyone—including us—whether or not he swayed one of the famous sharks to back him financially.
Mark knows the ins and outs of business—he has that part down. He’s also charismatic and well-spoken, which reporters appreciate. What Mark needed was our help connecting him to media outlets that would tell his story, and in doing so, not only bring attention to his product but also to Western Mortgage Brokers. After all, if it wasn’t for the latter, the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket may never have come to exist.
“Owning a mortgage company during the housing crisis was the furthest thing from fun,” Peterson told reporters. “I almost lost the company twice over that time. Because of that, and because I needed a departure from reality, I started thinking about something else.”
He rigged a couple wire screens onto a plastic bucket so his daughters could try their luck panning for gold. After spending several hours together down by the river—getting his mind off the stresses surrounding his mortgage business and seeing his girls having so much fun—Mark knew he was on to something. He began working on a patented design that he could manufacture and market.
The media found Mark’s story both interesting and inspiring, and reports appeared in The Register-Guard, Lane Monthly, Willamette Living Magazine, on all three local TV stations, as well as in Portland Business Journal and other publications and blogs around the nation.
Mark produces the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket in west Eugene and says the company pulled in as much sales revenue in the six weeks following the Shark Tank airing as they did the entire previous year before. And now, with the clout and support of his business partner, shark Robert Herjavec, he’s been in talks with several national retail chains to expand distribution.
What Mark is most proud of is that, while his two businesses couldn’t be more different—one helps people with mortgage loans, the other makes gold-panning buckets—both are contributing to the local economy.
With the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket getting national exposure, Mark decided what he needed next was a new, highly functional website that accurately represents Western Mortgage Brokers.
So, I was happy to tell him, “We do that too!”
Check back soon for part II of this story, and see how we did it.