AnyTongs are an ingenious, simple kitchen tool which turns any two ordinary kitchen utensils into a handy pair of kitchen tongs. They are very easy to use and versatile. But will the Sharks want to grab a piece of this new take on a common kitchen tool? Read our AnyTongs Shark Tank update to learn more.
What is AnyTongs?
AnyTongs is a company which manufactures a simple kitchen tool which transforms ordinary utensils into kitchen tongs. The company is located in Clifton, New Jersey.
AnyTongs says that their kitchen gadget works wonders in kitchens, campsites, and more. They’re easy to control, and surprisingly versatile. You can turn a spoon and a fork into salad servers, or turn two spoons into tongs for getting bagels out of the toaster, and you even use two forks to make a handy pair of grill tongs. AnyTongs, anytime.
Who created AnyTongs?
AnyTongs was created by Tog Samphel. Tog began his college education studying film at Montclair State University in New Jersey. However, after an internship at MTV, he left college to take a job at AOL. Interestingly, just a month after Tog’s Shark Tank episode was filmed in September 2022, he completed a degree in Visual Arts at Montclair University, 17 years after he had quit school to take the full time position at AOL.
Prior to both going back to school to complete his degree, and to founding AnyTongs, Tog worked in developing products for online user experiences at a number of large companies including ADP, Facebook, and Loop, and recently, he started a full-time position as a Staff Product Designer for Walmart Global Tech.
How did AnyTongs get started?
During the taping of his Shark Tank episode, AnyTongs founder Tog Samphel related to the Sharks that he grew up in a Tibetan family, and they always used to have dinners and parties at his house, where his mother would cook a large variety of dishes. Tog described scenes in which his mother always needed more kitchen tongs for cooking and serving, so she would simply tape some plastic utensils onto a clothespin in order to make extra sets of tongs.
When Tog became older, he shared his mother’s love of cooking, and one day while cooking, he found himself looking for an extra set of kitchen tongs, and he remembered his mother’s homemade tongs from his childhood.
By this time, Tog had been working as a user interface designer in the tech world for many years, but he had always wanted to design a physical product, so he decided to design an easy way to convert any ordinary kitchen utensils in a pair of useful kitchen tongs; thus, AnyTongs, was born.
What happened to AnyTongs before Shark Tank?
After coming up with the idea for AnyTongs, and doing design work on the project, in late 2020, founder Tog Samphel launched a KickStarter Campaign, with a goal to raise $10k, to both prove the concept and to get some products into the hands of KickStarter backers. The campaign ran for 30 days, and far exceeded the original goal, with 974 backers pledging $33,454.
After shipping the orders from the KickStarter campaign, not all was smooth sailing for AnyTongs. In an article in NJ.com, Tog told the publication that not everything went to plan. The online magazine reported:
“While the Kickstarter response was favorable, the process of bringing Anytongs to market hasn’t been easy. Because of COVID-19-related shutdowns in China, Samphel’s inventory dwindled, and he hardly had any sales in 2021. Instead, he pivoted to developing a newer version of the tongs. Not exactly a great situation to be in when you’re trying to sell famously tough investors on your idea’s profitability.”
Tog also related to NJ.com that his KickStarter campaign had attracted the notice of a Shark Tank producer, but he didn’t see the email until some three months after it was delivered. And Tog said of the Shark Tank email, “Honestly, I thought it was like a scam or something like that.” Eventually, he did reply to the email, and the producer was still interested and invited him to apply to pitch on the program.
Finally, because of the manufacturing struggles during Covid, and with the difficulty to get more products made, Tog decided to hold off on making more of the original version of AnyTongs. So, at the time of taping his Shark Tank episode, Tog had designed a second generation of AnyTongs; however, because of the pause in manufacturing and the redesign process, the company had managed only $7k in sales since the close of the KickStarter campaign.
What do customers think of AnyTongs?
First, when looking for reviews for AnyTongs, we observed that both the products available on the company website and on Amazon look to be the original version which we saw in the Tank. Neither Amazon nor the company website describes the tongs offered as AnyTongs2.0, so it appears that the new version has still not been released.
On the company website, AnyTongs displays 144 ratings with an average of 4.33 stars out of 5 stars. On Amazon, the rating is a bit lower, with 94 reviews, and a rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars. We tend to look for independent customer reviews, so let’s examine what Amazon customers had to say about this new kitchen gadget.
What are customers saying about AnyTongs?
Over on Amazon 56% of reviewers gave AnyTongs either 4 or 5 stars, while a full 24% of customers rated the product at only 1 or 2 stars.
One happy verified purchaser wrote, “These tong handles (2 to a pack) are the most ingenious products we have purchased lately – and they really work! They take up very little space in a drawer and can accommodate either forks or spoons, or one of each, to make perfectly useful tongs. The material is sturdy and smooth. I will buy more as stocking stuffers this Christmas!”
Another satisfied Amazon customer simply said, “I love the fact you can use large to small spoons and forks with this tong! Easy to use and no more plastic or rusty tongs.”
Most of the critical views for AnyTongs described difficulty getting their utensils to stay firmly in place. One disappointed customer wrote, “Seems like it would work, but when you try to use the tongs the spoons just move around and fail to hold anything.”
Another unhappy Amazon purchaser declared, “These did not fit a single utensil in my drawer! Versatile? I think not!”
It will be interesting to find out whether or not AnyTongs will move forward and release their new model, and if so, if there will be fewer complaints concerning utensils not fitting properly.
When did AnyTongs appear on Shark Tank?
AnyTongs appeared on Shark Tank in Season 14, Episode 13, which aired on January 27, 2023. They pitched to regular Sharks Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, and Robert Herjavec.
Aside from AnyTongs, another kitchen gadget appeared in the Tank during Season 14. Check out our Nutr Shark Tank update to see if this was good a season for kitchen-related pitches in the Tank.
What happened to AnyTongs on Shark Tank?
AnyTongs founder Tog Samphel entered the Tank and asked the Sharks for an investment of $150k in return for a 20% equity stake in the company.
Tog began his pitch by telling the Sharks that he loves to cook, and kitchen tongs are one of the best tools he has in the kitchen, but he said, “You know what sucks, it seems I never have enough when I’m cooking or serving food.” Tog told the Sharks that buying lots more tongs isn’t the answer because they’re large, clunky, take up space, and everytime you need them, they seem to be under dirty dishes in the sink.
He then explained that he solved his problem of wanting more tongs, without the clutter, by inventing AnyTongs, a simple, compact kitchen tool that transforms ordinary utensils into versatile kitchen tongs. Tog demonstrated to the Sharks how easy it was to put a set of regular forks, or one spoon and one fork, into AnyTongs, and instantly, create a set of kitchen tongs.
The Sharks now assembled some tongs with the samples in front of them, and Mark and Lori both said that they were really impressed. After this short demonstration, Lori opened the questions by asking Tog how he came up with this idea, and she learned that he had been a user experience tech designer for many years, but he had always wanted to design a physical product.
Tog described large family dinners with his Tibetan family in which his mother cooked lots of different dishes and was always looking for more tongs for cooking and serving, so she would tape plastic utensils to clothes pins and make homemade tongs. Later, as Tog developed a love of cooking, one day while looking for an extra set of tongs, he remembered his mother’s homemade devices, and the idea for AnyTongs was born.
Lori followed up to ask Tog if he had a patent, and he told her no, that he just decided to run a small KickStarter campaign to see if there would be any interest in the product. Kevin O’Leary asked if the KickStarter orders had been filled, and he learned that they had been shipped.
Mark Cuban then inquired about the retail price and cost to make AnyTongs, and Tog said that they sold for $19.99, with a cost to manufacture of $2.00. Mr. Wonderful jumped in and told Tog that $19.99 was far too expensive, as most kitchen tongs went for $9.99 or even less. Kevin then followed up to ask about what had happened since the KickStarter campaign was completed, and the Sharks all looked a bit shocked to learn that since the KickStarter campaign, the company had only $7k in sales.
Tog next explained to the Sharks that due to Covid, his manufacturer had major problems, so he decided to change gears and start to work on an updated version, AnyTongs2.0, so he spent his time designing the new model rather than pursuing sales for the original version.
With the surprising news about the lack of sales after completing the KickStarter campaign, some of the Sharks looked ready to head out to deeper waters.
Did AnyTongs get a deal on Shark Tank?
AnyTongs successfully negotiated a deal in the Tank with Daymond John. Daymond agreed to invest $150k for a 49% stake in the company.
After hearing about the recent lack of sales for AnyTongs, Mr. Wonderful quickly hit the exit, as he told Tog that he would need to make this product very inexpensive for it to work. Robert spoke up next, telling Tog that his passion for design was not translating into the market.
Mark Cuban revealed his thoughts next, saying that the product was an ingenious idea, but that Tog was only 10% there, and because he wasn’t dedicated to the business full time, it made it difficult for a Shark to invest.
Cuban’s comment prompted a response from Tog unlike anything we have seen in the Tank before. Tog told Mark that “Look, I’m doin’ this all by myself, and this grind culture, where you’ve gotta give up everything to start something that you always dreamed about is bullshit!” Tog said that he wasn’t willing to put his family in financial crisis and give up seeing his family and friends.
Mark Cuban appeared offended by this comment, and he told Tog, “That is up to you; it is your company my friend, but it’s our money, and I’m gonna tell you again, I’m out.” Lori and Mr. Wonderful appeared to agree with Mark’s assessment, but Daymond saw things a little differently.
He told Tog that he understood that the business is not commanding enough for him to put all of his attention into it. And Daymond agreed with Tog that he needed to be able to work to keep the lights on and the bills paid at home. Daymond finally told Tog that, “Maybe you’re a little early; however, this is a flier, I’ll give you $150k for 49%”
Tog countered Daymond at 40%, and then, for some reason, said, “And you know what, screw it, just for the sake of everyone out here, I’m gonna say it, I’ll quit, I’ll focus on this 100%.” After his previous rant, the Sharks looked stunned at this declaration, and Mark told Tog, “Look, you’re sellin’ yourself out of a deal.” Mark wanted to know why Tog simply didn’t make a counter to Daymond rather than going on another rant to reverse what he had just said a few minutes ago.
Tog then countered to 40%, but Daymond declared that he would remain at 49%, and despite having exploded twice in the Tank, completely contradicting himself, Tog told Daymond, “I love your offer, and the fact that I got an incredible offer, let’s make a deal.”
AnyTongs Shark Tank update, what happened after Shark Tank?
While we found no reliable evidence concerning whether or not the deal between AnyTongs and Daymond John has closed, there are a few signs which point to the fact that while AnyTongs most likely saw a Shark Tank effect after its episode aired, the company may not yet have really taken off.
First, we took a close look at the AnyTongs products listed both on the company website and on Amazon. Thus far, it does not appear that the newer version of the product, AnyTongs2.0, which founder Tog Samphel indicated was his priorty during the episode, has launched. The products still appear to be the original version of AnyTongs that were created during the company’s initial KickStarter campaign.
Next, according to an update in his Linkedin profile, in August 2023, just seven months after his Shark Tank episode aired, Tog started a new full-time position as a Staff Product Designer at Walmart Global Tech.
With little reporting about the company since the episode has aired, the jury is certainly still out on AnyTongs, and whether or not designer Tog Samphel’s first foray into the world of designing physical products, rather than computer interfaces, will be successful.