What Really Came Of The Space Traveler Kid's Car Seat Cover From Shark Tank?

"Shark Tank," ABC's reality TV show about entrepreneurs, has delivered some incredible products, even for travelers. One such pitch was the Space Traveler car seat cover that was brought to the sharks by longtime friends Rachel Lincoln and Krissy Pruske. They came on "Shark Tank" during season 11, episode 15 in March 2020. The idea was that kids would have dividers in the backseat of a car on long road trips to give them some space and to mitigate fighting. The logic was, just because you have kids doesn't mean you have to skip out on road trips, and the Space Traveler gave kids a cozy sense of privacy.

Lincoln and Pruske have been friends for over 30 years. When they both became mothers, they started noticing gaps in the market for kids' supplies. The friends actually came up with a different product before they pitched the Space Traveler. In 2013, they created Sleepyheadz, a nap mat with a pillow attached, so they already had experience following through on an idea. Pruske came up with the idea for the Space Traveler in 2018 when she was traveling with her kids. To stop them from fighting, she used a laundry hamper to create dividers for them. This is where the Space Traveler cover comes in. It's a 32-inch-high soft divider with mesh windows on each side and an open front. It has pockets inside and cup holders, so kids can have easy access to their things. Sure enough, it received interest on "Shark Tank."

What happened to the Space Traveler on 'Shark Tank'?

Rachel Lincoln and Krissy Pruske pitched their Space Traveler car seat cover on "Shark Tank" while wearing, fittingly, space suits. Of course, their brand name, Space Traveler, was also a play on the concept of personal space. They were asking the sharks for $100,000 and 33.3% equity in their brand, so it was evident that they were looking for a real, involved partner.

Barbara Corcoran was taken with their pitch. "I happen to think you're going to sell a ton of these," she said to Lincoln and Pruske (via YouTube). "But I have to make money right away." Corcoran agreed to give the two entrepreneurs exactly what they asked for, but she upped the ante by asking for a royalty of $2 for every item sold. "But the royalty goes away the minute I recoup my investment," Corcoran added. She also promised to help the two entrepreneurs get through production and make a compelling website. "You'll have a non-naive partner, which you desperately need," she said.

Lincoln and Pruske didn't seem to know what to say to Corcoran. They paused for a moment and just looked at each other, so Mark Cuban jumped in to usher them forward. "You should say yes right now," he said of Corcoran's compelling offer. Sure enough, they agreed.

What happened to the Space Traveler after 'Shark Tank'?

Like most things that air on "Shark Tank," the Space Traveler car seat cover saw a swift increase in sales. The car seat cover sold out on their website by December 2020, but this was apparently the end of things, unfortunately. That month, they posted on Facebook: "We aired on Shark Tank in March 2020 (days before lockdown), spent the spring and summer dealing with factory shutdowns and freight delays, received our shipment in August and now here we are, sold out of our initial order!" 

There were also rumors that their deal with Barbara fell through. YouTube comments speculated that the very compelling deal with Corcoran never came to fruition. "Plot twist: after the cameras went off, Barbara called them back in to tell them she's out," Gustavo-xz8os wrote. Another person made a legit point. "Everyone will be pleased to hear that despite the fact Barbara made the deal on the show, it is likely it did not close, as she is not mentioned anywhere on their website, even underneath the section describing their shark tank journey," WalkerUch wrote. "Barbara was in, and for that reason, she is out."

The detail about the Space Traveler website appears to be true. A blog post details the pair's experience on "Shark Tank," but it makes no mention of Corcoran or the deal. They evidently never replenished their stock after it initially sold out, and by all accounts, it looks like the Space Traveler cover is off the market.

Why did the Space Traveler car seat cover apparently go out of business?

It wasn't for lack of creativity that the Space Traveler car seat cover went out of business. It seems that there were several factors, many of which were out of their control. For starters, entrepreneurs Rachel Lincoln and Krissy Pruske's episode aired on "Shark Tank" in March 2020. The coronavirus pandemic shut down most of the world only weeks after. Not only was there less of a demand for road trip supplies, but production stalled all over the world too. Since their samples were made in China, it seemed like Lincoln and Pruske couldn't get the stock that they needed. Unfortunately, this supply issue lasted for years. 

On the Space Traveler Facebook page, hopeful customers reached out to ask if they could buy a car seat cover. "Any stock in yet?" one person asked in February 2022, nearly two years after their episode aired. "Not at this time," Pruske replied. The next month, another person asked if they could buy Space Travelers for their grandkids. The reply was: "At this time we are unsure as to when we will have more in stock. We will keep everyone posted when we have inventory! Thank you everyone for your interest!" So it sounds like the issue wasn't that Lincoln and Pruske dropped the project. It seems they simply couldn't get any more inventory.

What's next for the Space Traveler brand? It seems unclear

Space Traveler entrepreneurs Rachel Lincoln and Krissy Pruske certainly had big ideas for their ingenious car dividers. In November 2020, they posted a video on Facebook that they were working on making a model for children with sensory processing disorders, and asked their fans for help. Clearly, they were hoping that this innovative idea would take off.

Lincoln and Pruske shared a new venture called "Merch Mamas" on YouTube in January 2021. The series description reads, "Merch Mamas features woman entrepreneurs and the products they sell." In the first episode, they interviewed Tiffini Miller, who works with MONAT hair and skincare, to talk about her techniques in sales and entrepreneurship. However, this was the only video uploaded on the channel.

Pruske has a public Instagram account and posts about her children. Her last post, from June 2022, was advertising her daughter's bracelets for sale in a very cute campaign. Entrepreneurship runs in the family! And as far as Pruske and Lincoln's business venture goes, sometimes it's early experience that paves the way for later success. We sure hope to see more from them in the future! They obviously have great ideas.