Myself Belts Before Shark Tank
When Talia Goldfarb was looking for a belt for her two year old son, Jake, who had problems with the buckles on adult style belts, she was surprised to find that no belt companies made buckle-less belts specifically designed for young children. Her sister, Danielle, suggested that Talia should make her own. The siblings developed their own one-handed belt closing system and soon managed to obtain a patent for their innovative and original design. They launched their Myself Belts business in 2004 and began selling online, initially through their website, and later through bigger online retailers such as Amazon.
Danielle had greater family responsibilities as time went on. Her personal commitments, combined with her location on the East Coast, the other side of the country to Talia, caused her to leave the day to day operation of the company to her sister. Talia sent an application to Shark Tank in March 2014 and was accepted to be an applicant. She appeared on the show in October of that year.
Myself Belts On Shark Tank
Talia appeared on Shark Tank in October 2014, along with her young assistant, Tegan. She was hoping to gain an investment of $60,000 in exchange for 10% equity in the Myself Belts business.
Beginning her pitch, Talia informed the sharks that any toddlers favorite words were ‘All by myself’, and Tegen agreed. She went on to detail her experiences with her own son, Jake, who couldn’t quite manage a belt by himself when he had been two. Wanting to encourage him to gain his own independence, she developed her own belt that could be opened at a moments notice by anyone. She and Tegen both opened their belts to demonstrate just how easy the velcro based system was.
Talia wrapped things up by informing the Sharks that although sales had been good so far, there were many avenues of growth for Myself Belts that she would like to become involved with. The uniform market, licensing and international sales were all suitable for her product, if a shark could provide the contacts and experience.
Young Tegen handed out some samples for the sharks, and was clearly a winner in their eyes. Robert admired the youngsters own Myself Belt, which had Pirates on it.
He asked his fellow Shark ‘Daymond, Why are they called Pirates?’
‘Because they Arrrrr!’ came back Daymond, proving that he could always do stand-up if his business empire suddenly collapsed.
After having done his job, namely charming the socks off of the sharks, Tegen left the adults to it and the Sharks got down to business.
Robert asked how long Myself Belts had been in business, and what the sales had been like so far.
Talia explained that the company had been founded a decade before and sales in the last year had been $205,000. Robert inquired what the sales the previous year had been.
Talia admitted that sales the year before had actually been higher, at $220,000, provoking worried looks on the faces of a few sharks. Lori asked what sales had been achieved in the year before that.
The entrepreneur confessed that sales had actually declined, slightly, for three years running. She explained that the recession had created problems for most companies, including many of the small independent boutiques that she had regular orders with. Many boutiques had gone out of business during the harsher economic climate, and that had caused a decline in her own sales, even though online business had remained steady. She had decided to ‘Weather the storm’ as she phrased it and concentrate on online sales until the economy improved.
The Sharks didn’t look impressed with Talia’s reasons for her lack of action to reverse the declining sales. Robert Herjavec was the first to speak, telling her that she couldn’t blame the economy for her shrinking sales over a three year period.
Kevin O’Leary suggested that Myself Belts had reached a natural sales limit of around $200,000 a year after a decade in business. He estimated the size of the entire clothing market was approximately $100 million and asked Talia what was stopping her from grabbing a bigger slice of it.
Talia told him she had been learning during her years in business and had become far more effective at operating her company as time had gone on. The recession had hit and impacted her business negatively, but she now knew that in order to grow her business, she should move away from dealing with those vulnerable independent boutiques, and supply to large retail chains that could provide huge sales contracts.
Lori inquired if she had tried contacting the big retailers and Talia admitted that one of the reasons for her appearance on the show, was to obtain a ‘strategic partner’ in one of the sharks, someone who could open the doors for her to the big names in the market, and the lucrative sales she was aiming for.
Mark Cuban was of the opinion that Talia needed a strategic partner to do the things that she should have done herself during the last five years. She explained that she knew what to do, but opening the doors to big retailers was not an easy task, unless there was a shark involved to ease the process.
Kevin O’Leary wasn’t impressed and, as usual, he was fairly direct about it. He told Talia she had lots of issues, the stagnated sales were telling him the product wasn’t working. $200,000 in sales was not a lot in such a huge market, and despite Talia’s last second protestations, he shut her down and dropped out.
Mark Cuban suggested that Talia had always needed a partner and suggested her lack of action was mainly to blame for the lack of growth of the sales.
Talia repeated that many of her customers, the small boutiques, had gone out of business during the recession and she had been waiting for things to improve.
‘Waiting for what?’ Mark inquired and Talia explained once more that she had concentrated on online sales since the retail sales had declined.
Lori thought Talia had a great product, but she also informed her that good products would continue to grow in sales, even during an economic downturn. She believed Talia had lacked the drive and determination to push her business to greater successes when it had needed it the most. Lori shared her own personal philosophy that she used when she wanted to achieve something in business, it was not ‘Who’s going to let me?’, it was ‘Who’s going to stop me?’. She didn’t see the same hunger for success in Talia, and for that reason Lori joined Kevin in dropping out of negotiations.
Robert Herjavec spoke next, he thought Talia had a strategic outlook to business, but that she lacked the motivation to fight for the growth of her company. ‘You’ve got to hustle’ he told her.
Talia tried to speak up about her plans for the future of the company, but Robert felt she hadn’t understood his point. He told her ‘You’re not listening’ as she continued trying to make her point. Mark Cuban joined in, supporting Robert’s comments, but Talia still couldn’t see things their way. Robert had made his opinion fairly clear and felt there was nothing more to say, he dropped out too.
Mark Cuban, often the most aggressive of the Sharks in negotiations, was nice about it, but Talia’s own lack of fighting spirit was a big problem for him. He assured her that he would love to see her be successful, she had a good product and the foundations of a good business were there, but he was concerned about her determination to succeed. He finished by telling her ‘You’re not a killer, and because of that, I’m out.’
With only Daymond still involved, it was looking as if Talia would be unsuccessful in securing a deal. Not because of her product, or because of her sales, but because of her own lack of competitive drive.
The Myself Belts entrepreneur made a last-minute, impassioned plea to Daymond, she expressed her desire to go into business with him particularly, and Daymond considered the situation for several long moments.
Daymond didn’t share his fellow Sharks concerns at the stable sales figures, he thought Talia’s strategy of moving her focus onto online sales during a recession was entirely reasonable. To her visible relief, he announced he would take a chance on her.
He offered $75,000 in exchange for 25% equity in the business. Talia thanked him profusely and told him she was grateful that he hadn’t listened to the other shark’s objections, but she didn’t immediately accept the offer. Surprisingly she asked if she could counter the offer and suggested 20% equity for the same investment.
The other sharks groaned in amazement but Daymond liked her courage, he told her that ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ but he wasn’t prepared to change his deal, it was his final offer.
With no other offers on the table, Talia had nowhere else to go and accepted his terms. After coming so close to failing to secure a deal, she looked overjoyed to have snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat.
Myself Belts Now in 2018 – The After Shark Tank Update
Talia’s appearance on Shark Tank led to a fifty percent increase in online sales immediately after the show aired, and the increased sales remained at that higher level afterwards. Daymond assisted Talia in obtaining a licensing deal with a major clothing accessories business, dramatically increasing sales and he has also helped her arrange an international distribution deal that should soon see Myself Belts retailing across Europe.
The range of belts available have been expanded since the show aired, they now include items aimed at adults and teenagers with physical disabilities. Talia has described the response from the special needs community as exceptional and she is overjoyed that her business has made such a positive impact on those with dexterity and self-dressing problems.
Talia has plenty of praise for her new business partner Daymond. In an interview in 2015 she described him as an incredible partner and mentor. She also revealed that he provides endless inspiration, advice and encouragement about branding and marketing. Daymond has assisted in the expansion of her product range, and he has connected her with valuable resources in various business areas. Describing him as supportive and accessible, its good to see that Daymond has been able to provide exactly the sort of help that Talia seemed to need the most during her appearance on Shark Tank.
She spoke recently of her excitement for the future, and the mass-distribution in large retails stores that she sees occurring before the end of 2016. However sales go in the future, she can be sure that Daymond’s help and involvement will see her business grow bigger than she could ever have imagined.