Local inventor to appear on Shark Tank March 5

Pinch Me Dough creator Nancy Rothner pitches idea to celebrity investors
March 4, 2021

Although she couldn’t reveal many details about her upcoming appearance, local Nancy Rothner is set to pitch her Pinch Me Dough creation on ABC’s “Shark Tank” Friday, March 5.

About a year ago, Rothner said, representatives of the popular TV show reached out to gauge her interest in appearing in front of The Sharks - a panel of multimillionaire business tycoons looking to invest in products and business deals.

The application process was very demanding, Rothner said, and she was ultimately accepted. The March 5 episode was taped several months ago, she said, but she can’t discuss the outcome until after it airs.

“It’s been a surreal experience,” Rothner said. “I’m really excited, and very lucky to have this opportunity.”

Pinch Me Dough is a squishable putty designed to relieve stress through the senses. Packed in a small tin, the dough comes in a variety of calming colors and scents, including beach, spice and melon, chosen for their pacifying properties. As users massage the dough, their hands relax and the body releases tension.

“It’s a multisensory, fun, feel-good way to decompress and unwind,” Rothner said. “Many people like to use it while multitasking; you don’t have to give it focused attention.”

Rothner devised the idea for Pinch Me Dough through her work as a clinical hypnotherapist who specializes in stress reduction. After seeing the toll that stress and tension can take on the body and mind, Rothner said, she looked for a way to help more people reduce their stress. 

About 2012, she said, she had the “epiphany lightbulb moment” that led to the Pinch Me Dough idea, and she immediately started researching and creating dough at home.

“I was somewhat like a mad scientist,” she laughed, noting she put the putty through thousands of test runs for two years until she perfected the compound.

Several Pinch Me Dough products are available locally at Browseabout Books, Rothner said, and the entire line can be purchased at

“Shark Tank” airs on ABC at 8 p.m., Friday, March 5. 

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