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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hey Sharks, I’m John, and I’m Devier. We’re from New York, and we’re seeking $600,000 in exchange for 5% of our company. Do you know what everybody in this room has in common right now, besides being on television? We’re all wearing makeup. The chances are the women are fine applying and wearing makeup, but most men aren’t nearly comfortable enough to admit or use it.

Sharks, this happened to me on the day of my wedding, the greatest day of my life, and I woke up with a zit. And not just any zit. As you can see, this thing was the mother of all zits. Okay, it was a volcano, just waiting to erupt. Yuck! And while there were makeup artists there at the wedding, I was too embarrassed to do anything about it. So my blemishes were there to stay for the thousands of photos taken that day.

Every guy has an experience like this, whether it’s a first date, an important pitch like here on Shark Tank, or just coffee with a friend. When you look your best, you feel your best, which is why Strix is changing the way that men can instantly fix their appearance. You guessed it – it’s makeup for men.

Strix is the first company ever to engineer cosmetic and skin care products with completely custom formulations and packaging geared toward men. We launched with a sleek, discreet, and very sexy concealer tool and a tinted moisturizer. Since then, we’ve launched seven products at the intersection of cosmetics and skincare so that you can instantly fix your appearance, including our energizing eye tool and our beard and brow gel comb.

So Sharks, who’s ready to join us and show the world there’s nothing wrong with being handsome?

We don’t have pens in front of you. It’s actually our concealer tool. If you take a look there, we have it designed as a pen so that it’s sleek and discreet. The concealer, correct? Let me start at the beginning. What does a concealer do, and what are you supposed to do with it?

The formulation is made so if you want to cover up a pimple or dark under-eye circles, you just dab it on and you’re done. You don’t need a primer, a foundation, a sponge, a brush, a setting powder. It’s made to be as easy as possible for guys to cover up any problems.

And with the concealer tool, we found out one of the best uses for it: the guys were using it for dark under-eye circles, like under-eye bags. And so that’s what led us to launch the energizing eye tool, which is also in front of you. It tightens the skin underneath the eye, so it’s meant to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and it’s really an anti-aging type of product.

How are you supposed to even know how to do it? Like to me, it’s like war paint, you know? You just see a streak. I mean, now what? That looks good. So that’s a huge thing that we need to work on as part of this brand – education around these products.

Good job, Mark. I use a product like this all the time. Of course, I don’t sleep enough, so I get baggy eyes. There are lots of products, eye creams, everything, that are made for men. You’re saying you’re a brand-new category. What’s the brand new category?

Nobody’s approached the cosmetic category from this angle. Like for me, when I was younger, I was bullied out of middle school because I put gel in my hair, and that hit my confidence for years. People bullied you because you put gel in your hair? Yeah, oh yeah. This was also…

Seriously, I would love to hear, though, why this? I mean, were you guys chemists? Were you guys in this industry at all?

No. So when we first started, I partnered with two professional makeup artists. They helped us be able to formulate the first-ever real cosmetic products for men’s skin, as opposed to women’s. So what had happened was, I raised half a million dollars to start that before I raised half a million dollars to launch the company. Who did you raise it from? Friends, family, and then connections.

You guys are really good friends. How much of the company did you give away for the $500,000? So at the time, uh, we raised it at about a 1.5 million valuation. How long ago was that? That was back in 2018. Okay, and now you’re at a 12 million valuation because you have amazing sales. What are they?

So this year, we’re at about $130,000 in sales per month. That’s it? Per month, per month, per month. I knew it. Hey, okay, okay. Men’s makeup, I mean, JD, let’s get real here. Tell me about your routine. I mean, you got some, man.

Thank you. My wife isn’t pushing the moisturizers on me. Are you doing like the moisturizer, you know, retinol kind of routine? I mean, you look hydrated. Really, thank you. Well, I do drink a lot of water, and these are really good lights. But no, I just do moisturizer, just do moisturizer. And that’s it. SPF in there? Started doing SPF around 25. I don’t do any makeup. I think as I get older, maybe I would consider it. Maybe, I don’t know.

Do it all. My wife has, like, I don’t know about your wife, my wife has like a very elaborate skincare routine, a meditation. She does layers and stuff, yeah. Oh, she’s like the cleansers and the essential oils, and, you know, it’s a real thing. You know, meanwhile, like, you know, I’m washing my face with, you know, like a, you know, washcloth, shampoo. Right. I’m getting out, right. And that’s good, right? Good enough. But yeah, no, I just do the facial moisturizer with retinol. You know, keep it tight, good.

All okay. Well, so, um, I did pull up their product name, so Strix. Let me share the screen here. Yeah, a little bit because we’re talking about design patents. So this is their website, and there you know, they’ve got this going on. You know, treat your skin like it’s for life. You know, but they do have – I was able to find that, you know, the founder concealer pen. This is the applicant was The Company Strix Men. I’ll zoom in a little bit here.

And then I was Joe Liberman was one of the presenters. They have a design patent, 95542 just 052, last year came out. They’ve got the ornamental design for a concealer pen. So I like this concept, where they’re really not trying to go too deep. They’re going for something that is touch and feel that’s unique. They’re claiming this is a unique way to go to market. I think that’s kind of debatable. Robert was touching on that, like, ‘Hey, lots of men’s skincare products out there.’ I think they’re just being a bit more bold, if you will, and claiming makeup, just saying the word makeup.

I like how they put the dash lines here, so they can have different ends to this. What’s in-dash lines is not claimed; what’s in solid lines is claimed. So, it’s kind of this exact, sort of parabolic end look. They don’t claim one, you know, the top side of it, but they do claim this bottom side. So, this is the view from the top, view from the bottom. There are lots of different views. I think it’s well done. They do claim the actual applicator, the actual product as it comes out, but the cap can take on many different looks and feels. Almost reminds me of like a cigar, like a Swisher Sweet, yeah, right. Not that I smoke, but I mean, it looks like a flute end, if you will. It does, yeah, it does.

And there’s a second design, I’ll just show this quickly. You know, they got two different design patents for the different pens. So this one has the cap on it, the other one, I think, was an extension. I think that’s what it is, it was a continuation in part.

I think you’re right, JD. I mean, like, it’s the brand or the idea behind it. The offerings are unique in the sense that there are a lot of companies out there that market primarily to women but have also added men’s lines of products. Right, Nut is a big one that comes to mind, right? They’re kind of in the male category now, where they used to be. But it’s rare to see one that does this kind of stuff just for men and not women.

Certainly, there are a lot of personal care, and hygiene products geared toward men, like Squatch or Dr. Squatch. There’s a bunch of stuff like that. But it’s unique in the sense that they don’t offer women’s products, so it’s kind of cool from a trademark perspective. They do have two registrations in the Cosmetic class, class three, at the USPTO for both the word mark Strix and a design.

The way that they’ve applied for the design mark is kind of wrong, because they didn’t have a trademark attorney assigned to the application. So, when they filed the trademark, they did it incorrectly, and now they’re stuck with a trademark registration that’s not what it should be.

Also, one thing pretty glaring to me is that they don’t have a registration for class 35 at the USPTO, which is online retail store sales. Right, so they’re a DTC company, and a big part of being DTC is, you know, having that sales platform and those customer services, and they do not have that protected. So theoretically, somebody could come and register Strix, you know, for online retail store services at the USPTO. Maybe not mention cosmetics, but, you know, other kind of associated categories, like apparel and things like that, or towels or whatever. And it would get through the process. They were pretty limited; they really, maybe without knowing, had a very narrow application.

Got it. And so that would be, you know, if I was counseling them, I’d say, ‘Hey, like, you’re a big company at this point, right. You need to act like it from a registration perspective.’ Yep, love it.

Just to wrap up on the Shark Tank show, Robert Herjavec did say he was in for 10% for 600 grand. That was the handshake deal on the show, but as it turns out, he didn’t actually fund it after doing more diligence. The company’s still around; I assume they’re revenue-positive. Can’t speak, of course, to profitability, but they’re doing well. They’re selling products, so they’re out and about.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at