Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

By stepping in 'Shark Tank' tonight, Pinellas couple hopes to score investment dollars

SAFETY HARBOR — Just when you thought it was safe to eat a second bowl of ice cream, summer temperatures arrived and with them shorts and short-sleeved blouses.

But fear not.

Those upper arms need not flap in the breeze. Thighs that jiggle like Jell-O can be history. And muffin tops that dribble over waistbands can be smooth and tight once again.

At least temporarily, according to Penilopee LaRosa.

She says her affordable line of clear, thin, "no pinch" cosmetic adhesives called Skinnies Instant Lifts, when applied to troublesome body parts, will make cellulite and wrinkles seem oh so yesterday. She has developed a product specifically for the upper arms, too.

To apply the adhesives, you peel off the paper backing, apply one side to the skin, pull the adhesive taut, and then stick the other side to the skin. A patented no-pinch strip in the center gathers up loose or excess skin.

Tonight, Penilopee, 47, and her husband Nick, 56, will appear on ABC's Shark Tank to pitch their products to a panel of five rich and shrewd investors, a.k.a. "the sharks," who could help them become millionaires. The episode was taped in September.

So will the sharks bite? Or be on the attack?

Will midthigh shorts make a fashion comeback?

Could a generation of women see their feet once again?

Because they signed a confidentiality agreement, the LaRosas aren't at liberty to say. You'll have to be among the 6 million viewers expected to tune in tonight to find out if the sharks decide to invest in the LaRosas' business. The episode airs at 8 p.m. on ABC.

In the meantime, their dining room is filled with boxes of Skinnies products in anticipation of a flood of new orders.

Penilopee was free to discuss their Oldsmar-based business and how they got on the show.

What was it like to pitch your idea to the sharks?

It was like being in a room with five Simon Cowells. (Only these people eat Simon Cowell for lunch, added Nick.) I've been on TV before and I've been in business meetings before, but I've never conducted a business meeting in front of TV cameras. It was intimidating and intense.

When else have your products been presented on television?

I was on HSN twice last summer. Our Skinnies arm lifts have been featured on the Rachael Ray Show and the thigh lifts were shown on the Today show. In 2011, Skinnies were selected for the 38th annual Daytime Emmy Awards swag bags and named one of the "hottest new fashion trends" by the bag organizers.

How did you land a spot on Shark Tank?

We applied in May along with 9,000 other applicants. Then it's a long waiting process where they examine both you and your products. They do background checks and go through all the legal processes. On Sept. 11, 2011 — the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks — they flew us to Los Angeles. We were among 85 finalists. Of those, they pick 52 that will actually make it on the air.

Where did you come up with the idea for Skinnies?

Four years ago, we were visiting Florida (from Tulsa, Okla.) and I wanted to wear a pair of shorts. My thighs were a disaster, so I taped them up with pieces of duct tape. When I pulled the tape off, it shredded my skin. But I knew if I could find the right adhesive, it could work. I tested 200 different formulas and substrates before I found the right combination for my thighs. After that, I started praying about a product for my flabby arms.

Is this your first invention?

No. In 2001, I developed a product that helps infants sleep safely on their backs. We've since sold it to another company and it's now called Baby Sleeps Safe. I've also invented Smooth Sleepers to prevent pillow-induced eye wrinkles. My ideas for inventions come from things I've needed, but they really come from the Lord. I'm a strong Christian and an ordained minister.

How do you market Skinnies?

Online. Our website is instant We find that people Google whatever they want to fix. After we found out we were going to be on the show, we expanded our bandwidth and are now prepared for 65,000 hits.

By stepping in 'Shark Tank' tonight, Pinellas couple hopes to score investment dollars 03/15/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 16, 2012 10:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  2. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  3. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    In their third year with pitching coach Neil Allen, the Twins have been one of the surprises of the American League.
  5. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond


    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.