The ‘Shark Tank’ Ef­fect: Where Are Th­ese Shoe Com­pa­nies Now?

Shoes & Accessories - - The Month That Was Updates | International -

The founders of Sole­mates turned down a “Shark Tank” of­fer. When up-and-coming footwear brands Is­lide and Freshly Picked landed spots on CNBC’S “Shark Tank ,” they knew they it could turn out to be a case of sink or swim — or was it? While both re­ceived of­fers from panel mem­bers — Is­lide from Robert Her­javec and Freshly Picked from Day­mond John — they turned them down. Ex­po­sure on the pop­u­lar show has helped cat­a­pult their busi­nesses. “It was pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence and pub­lic­ity even if we didn’t get a deal,” said Ket­tridge, not­ing that vis­its to its web­site went from 500 a day to 50,000 af­ter the air­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Ket­tridge, who founded Is­lide in 2013 and ap­peared on the show in 2016, Her­javec’s of­fer wasn’t strong enough. Since Ket­tridge said he’d al­ready raised more than a $5 mil­lion val­u­a­tion for the com­pany, Her­javec’s of­fer of $500,000 for a 20 per­cent stake de­val­ued the busi­ness. “It would not have been fair to our in­vestors,” he said. Justin Ket­tridge, founder of Is­lide, on “Shark Tank.” Cour­tesy of ABC Busi­ness, how­ever, has con­tin­ued to soar. “We’ve had so many more deals come from the ex­po­sure,” said Ket­tridge, cit­ing re­tail­ers such as Neiman Mar­cus and Lids that have come on board. And the com­pany is now get­ting into the col­lege li­cens­ing game. In Fe­bru­ary 2013, hus­band-and-wife team Lena Phoenix and Steven Sasha, co­founders of Xero Shoes, a col­lec­tion of nat­u­ral-move­ment footwear based on a bare­foot-shoe phi­los­o­phy, re­ceived a $400,000 of­fer from shark Kevin O’leary for a 50 per­cent stake in their com­pany. How­ever, said Phoenix, the two be­lieved O’leary un­der­es­ti­mated the value of their com­pany and also walked away from the deal.

To­day, said Phoenix, com­pany sales have hit $2.7 mil­lion, with the line ex­panded from its orig­i­nal sandals to in­clude ath­letic looks, causals and a se­ries of boots set to de­but this fall. In or­der to take the busi­ness to the next level, the com­pany re­cently launched eq­uity crowd fund­ing. “While it’s taken sev­eral years to get to the point where our cus­tomer base was large enough to have a suc­cess­ful eq­uity crowd fund­ing raise, we al­ready have more fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments than Kevin O’leary of­fered us, at a much more fa­vor­able val­u­a­tion.” Chil­dren’s footwear brands have also had their show mo­ments.

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