Tim Talley came up with a cool new way to lace shoes. His product even allows the wearer to customize their look with fun colors and lacing patterns. Will his products earn him a deal on
Shark Tank U-Lace Update
- Entrepreneurs: Tim Talley
- Business: Custom color, no-tie shoelaces
- Ask: $200,000 in exchange for 25%
- Result: $200,000 in exchange for 35%
- Sharks: Mark Cuban
Tim’s U-Lace shoelace kits, let users swap their dingy old shoestrings for fresh and bright new laces. They come in an array of colors and are easy to use for different looks, but maybe better yet, they turn any conventionally-laced shoes into slip-ons!
The award-winning laces were patented and had global distribution, Tim told the sharks, he just needed an investment and some good connections. A starter pack of the laces cost Tim $0.35 to make, and retailed for $3.49. In the U.S., they sold via the official company website and through a few shoe retailers. In the then-current year, the company had made $193,000 in sales and was on track to finish the year at $400,000.
When asked why the sales numbers weren’t higher, Tim explained that the company started shipping the product five years earlier, in 2009. Tim, who worked in the fashion industry, was in Japan looking for up-and-coming trends when he got his shoelace idea. In 2010, his laces had won a hot new product award in Japan and sales were off the charts, but then the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami happened, and his distributor there was out of commission for a long time as a result.
Later, Tim realized that the company had been packaging the laces wrong. To be more successful the company needed to sell fewer lace segments for less money per package, rather than many segments for more money. He noticed that after reconfiguring the quantity and pricing, people ordered several smaller packs in different colors rather than one large pack of one color. Sales were up. Tim told the sharks he expected to hit $2 million in sales the following year by getting into large retailers on a manageable scale.
Lori Greiner was the first shark out, saying the laces weren’t for her, and Robert Herjavec was next to go out. Daymond John, the fashion expert on the panel, said he had a conflict of interest as he had just acquired the old sneaker company, Etonic, so he went out.
Kevin O’Leary offered $200,000 in exchange for 50%, and Tim said he would be willing to do the deal for 35% equity. Mark immediately spoke up, telling Tim that he would do that deal, and Tim happily accepted. What happened next for his company? Keep reading our U-Lace update to find out!
We have great news to share in our U-Lace update! Tim’s company is still in business, with an estimated annual revenue of $2 million. Following the show, Target, Amazon, and even convenience store 7-11 sold the laces. In 2018, Tim was able to buy back the company’s equity from Mark, something that rarely happens. You can get your very own set on the U-Lace website, or on Amazon.
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Andrew Smith is the founder and owner of Shark Tank Recap. He is a longtime Shark Tank fan that has been watching it for years and has seen every episode multiple times. His friends know him as the Shark Tank expert, because he can answer any question about the show! His favorite Shark Tank products are Bertello's pizza oven and Bug Bite Thing!