Florida State grads Ilana Karcinski and Kelly Nova will appear on ABC’s “Shark Tank” on 8 p.m. Oct. 20 to make a pitch of a lifetime for their wedding day pet-care service.
The business is called FairyTail Pet Care. Launched in 2015, childhood friends Karcinski and Nova said their business filled a niche that appeared to be largely overlooked amid the long list of to-do’s leading up to the I do’s.
“But once we graduated, we got a job working at the Hilton here in Tampa and started seeing this problem popping up all the time,” Karcinski told the Tallahassee Democrat. “For the first time, everyone you trust is unavailable because they’re attending your wedding.”
“It’s the last thing you want to be worried about. They’re literally your baby, and who’s going to take care of them on one of the biggest days of your life?”
Just like that, a business was born.
However, the first two years were rough considering the concept was so foreign in the wedding industry. They leaned on a network of wedding photographers and planners who’ve witnessed the frenzy and angst of couples over wedding day care for man and wife’s best friend.
Now, Nova said, the FairyTale is a reality. The business, based in Tampa, is expanding to other markets through franchises in West Palm Beach, Las Vegas and Pittsburgh.
“From the very start of our business, we’ve been hearing from people that it’s such a brilliant and unique idea,” Nova said. “So many people have said, ‘Wait, you should go on Shark Tank.”
“We were big fans of the show, but we just never seriously looked into it.”
So how did FairyTail Pet Care make it to the ‘Shark Tank’?
Karcinski and Nova have been best friends since middle schools and their friendship continued throughout high school and their time at FSU, where they also were college roommates.
In 2013, Karcinski, 32, earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology. Nova, 33, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in business. They’ve always been animal lovers and took in rescue dogs over the years, including their fur babies Cooper, Rowdie and Grizzie, who inspired their logo.
They’ve spent nearly a decade crafting a blueprint that would inspire the creation of the wedding pet care industry, they said.
A year ago, they received an email that was so unbelievable that they thought it was spam. But, it was the real deal: a “Shark Tank” casting producer reached out to them and invited them to appear on the show.
Shock ensued, followed by excitement and nerves. They spent the next six months preparing to enter the Tank, armed with business figures and every presumed questions that will be fired at them from the show’s sharks. In June, they flew out to the “Shark Tank” set.
They appeared on the show with a few four-legged companions, all dressed in tuxedo bandanas.
“So that was really special to be able to have them be a part of our pitch,” Karcinski said. “I think it really created quite the grand entrance of explaining what we do and how it all works.”
Karcinski and Nova aren’t the first FSU graduates to appear on Shark Tank.
In 2020, FSU alum Michael Benarde and his sister made a pitch for NightCap — a protective drink cover doubling as a hair scrunchie that was created to prevent drink spiking in public. The duo received a $60,000 investment from Lori Greiner, an inventor of more than 500 products.
Contact Reporter TaMaryn Waters at [email protected]. Follow @TaMarynWaters on X.