Steve Gadlin's Custom Cat Drawings a Hit
Mark Cuban invested in the 'Shark Tank' contestant's I Want to Draw a Cat for You!Published December 7, 2012
Courtesy of Steve Gadlin
Cats are HUGE right now. They serve as muses for popular clothing designers, have film festivals about their antics, are the subject matter of reality shows and even, are passionate topics for water cooler discussions in many offices. So it was no surprise to hear earlier in the year that a billionaire funded a business based on cat drawings.
During an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank, a show where investors get pitched by budding entrepreneurs and decide to invest their own money in the contestants’ fledgling businesses, Chicago-based Steve Gadlin (a full-time web developer and part-time comedian), presented his idea of drawing cat stick figures for profit. Billionaire investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, liked the idea and helped to fund I Want to Draw a Cat for You! with a check for $25,000 in exchange for a 33 percent stake in his unconventional company.
Since the show aired January 27, 2012, Gadlin estimates that he’s rolled out more than 10,000-plus custom kitty pics at a cost of $9.95. Although he did not say the exact, dollar figure he has made to date, he has used some of the money to invest in many of his other ideas and businesses.
Gadlin has a long history of drawing cat stick figures. In 1990, he started drawing a comic strip, Silly Cat Comix. Then, his drawings were featured on his notebooks in high school and in college. Eventually, he started creating them on the web and posting them to a website.
In an interview for Medium at Large, when ask about how he came up for the idea for the business, Gadlin responded, " 'I'm not really sure when the idea popped into my head. I come up with all sorts of ridiculous projects. I wanted to learn the ABC's of running my own business, soup to nuts. So, I started with something simple... stick figure cats.' "
Hard to believe that Gadlin is allergic to cats, and that he describes himself as not really an animal person. In terms of his artistic skills, he also notes “Cats are super easy to draw; their heads consist of a circle and two triangles.”
As his business has grown, the orders are less and less specific. “Not as much details,” he says. “Many people ask for a birthday cat or wedding cats which makes the work much easier."
During the holidays, he is super busy. So if you are going to treat yourself or want to gift one of his drawings for a friend, order as soon as you can. Currently, Steve has about 500 orders which represent a three to five week backlog. He suggests that purchasers buy gift certificates in time for the holidays.
I just can’t wait to receive mine!