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Naomi Simson Shark Tank season 1 behind the scenes

Walking into the studio to film Channel Ten’s Shark Tank for the first time was like a first day at school – of all my experiences, TV production was not something I knew much about. Janine and I were both called earlier than the guys so that we could meet with wardrobe and hair and makeup. We were taken around and shown the Fox Studios facilities and in a way it was like we had a buddy in the playground… we didn’t actually hold hands though.

Janine and I had known each other socially through mutual friends and through the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, but I was yet to truly get to know the others. I had met John on a number of occasions over the years, and Andrew and I had done a little business together more than a decade a go, so it was only Steve that I had never met before.

We had an area set aside for the sharks in the studio – and we rarely left it.  The pitch props and other things used for the show were kept very separate from us (in fact we hardly saw Sarah Harris at all except for early in the morning in hair and makeup).  We literally had no clue as to what pitches we would be seeing next – we had to rely on our experience and instincts.

We were working side by side with each other for long days of shooting. Really early on we shared why we had done the show, and more importantly we all reminisced about our own early days in business. Each of us recounted the first sale we made and the first customer we had. We all remembered what it was like to start out; to be at the beginning; to live and breathe only ‘the business’ – just like the people pitching to us.

The way we connected was fascinating to experience – learning about each others strengths and ‘non’ strengths. Now this is not to say we all agreed on things – in fact quite to the contrary. We often saw things from completely different view points, and that is what made working together so interesting and exciting.

There were disagreements and battles – in some ways we became like siblings, sometimes squabbling over a deal. Sometimes we shared our ‘toys’ too… the result I think will make very interesting viewing.

Every single person who pitched was given our business experience, insights and value. Some delivered quite forthrightly and some tenderly with love.

Each shark has a deep sense of empathy for all of those pitching…

Here is a bit more about each of us….


SharkTank_Bio_JanineAllisJanine Allis Boost Juice Bars and Retail Zoo 

Janine is an adventurer at heart. Traveling the world as a young backpacker in the 1980s, she took jobs ranging from a camp counsellor in the US to working on David Bowie’s yacht in the south of France….


To view her background video click here

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Andrew Banks Talent2 International

Andrew was born and raised in the UK, beginning his career as an actor in England before emigrating to Sydney to tread the boards with the Old Tote Theatre Company (adopted by NIDA). To support his then $60 a week wage, the struggling thespian decided to open a restaurant in Woolloomooloo with a mate, borrowing $5,000 via two credit cards for his share of the business….

 To view his background video click here

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SharkTank_Bio_SteveBaxterSteve Baxter Entrepreneur and investor

Tech start-up multi-millionaire Steve Baxter is a proud Queenslander, born in the remote town of Cloncurry and raised in Emerald in the State’s central highlands. He left school at 15 and joined the Army, enlisting in its apprenticeship program. There, he became an engineer working in the field of electronics, telecoms and guided weapon systems.

To view his background video click here

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SharkTank_Bio_JohnMcGrathJohn McGrath CEO McGrath Estate Agents

John McGrath is one of the most influential figures in the Australian residential property industry. He founded his real estate company from his lounge room in 1989 and it is now one of the world’s fastest growing real estate groups, selling over $12 billion of residential property this year.

 To view his background video click here

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SharkTank_Bio_NaomiSimsonNaomi Simson (me) RedBalloon

Considered one of Australia’s recent business success stories, Naomi Simson founded RedBalloon in 2001 from her front room with just $25,000, a second-hand computer and help from her neighbour. RedBalloon is an online “experience” gift retailer which has sold more than 2.5 million experiences and has been featured on BRW magazine’s Great Places to Work list five years in a row.

To view my background video click here

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I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the show when it airs. And who knows what it might inspire you to do in your own life…

Reader Interactions


  1. Hello Naomi. How are you? Shark Tank. I’ll certainly be watching it for intrigue, insight and inspiration. Not just the ideas, but the conversations. I recently met Sarah Harris whilst on Studio 10 for a segment talking motherhood and running a business from home. She mentioned you after the show with a comment relating to cashflow and the importance of having enough to survive on for potentially a long time…’Naomi said she didn’t pay herself anything for 7 years’ with a look of great surprise that said it all. I smiled and nodded knowingly 🙂 My web-based business launched in 2007. 90% of what I’ve made, has gone back into it.

    Being on Studio 10 has transformed me in ways I didn’t see coming. I am re-charged and have more belief in myself; a new confidence to connect with those I admire, in order to learn and grow. To let them know that they are making a real difference to me and to say a heartfelt thanks.

    I sincerely wish you all the very best for the show and for what it brings your way. Your red balloon:)
    To your continued success Naomi. Thank you. Thank you.

    Sequins and Sand

  2. Hi Anita – yes we had great fun getting to know each other… and yes it is often forgotten just how long it takes to build a business… great to hear Studio 10 had such a wonderful impact… All the best Naomi

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