Monday, October 3, 2022

U-Lace Update – What Happened After Shark Tank

U-Lace Before Shark Tank

Photo of Tim Talley, founder of U-Lace.

While trendspotting for New Era Caps in Japan, Tim Talley was struck with an idea. Although outfits consist of many different components, it seems as though shoes are considered one of the most important (and expensive) part of any casual outfit. Even schoolchildren will typically own dozens of different pairs of shoes. What if there were a product that allowed you to change the overall look and tone of your shoes, without breaking the bank? With that in mind, Talley immediately went to work, kicking off a two-year research development period before deciding that he had created a final product. U-Laces are elastic shoe lace inserts that are able to quickly and easily replace the regular laces inside of your shoes.

U-Laces are elastic shoe lace inserts that are able to quickly and easily replace the regular laces inside of your shoes. They come in a variety of different colors and patterns, so that regardless of occasion or outfit, customers have the perfect laces for the job. U-Laces sell in packs that contain a single set of laces, and they typically retail between $3.99 and $4.99. The laces are designed to work with every kind of shoe, so long as that shoe has eyelets to run the laces through. Each purchase comes with an easy installation guide and a lace guide, which can be used to allow customers to finely tune how the laces look, as well as how they feel around your feet.

U-Lace on Shark Tank

talley-u-laceU-Lace’s appearance on Shark Tank was certainly a notable one. The Sharks showed immediate interest in the product, praising the ease of use and ingenuity of the product. Daymond John, fashion mogul, even went so far as to say that U-Laces could possibly remain trendy “forever”. Talley expressed his desire to work with the Sharks and get into larger retail stores. Lorrie Greiner said that although she liked the idea of the product and thought it would be highly successful, she felt that the laces were too uncomfortable to invest in. Robert Herjavec also loved the product and he loved Talley, but he felt that he wasn’t experienced enough in the fashion business to give U-Lace the help that it needed.

And so it was Daymond’s turn. Being such a large presence in fashion, he would definitely bring a lot of value to the company. However, he said that although he loved the product, he had recently entered into a partnership with another sneaker company that could be seen as a potential competitor. It was a conflict of interest, and he didn’t feel right dropping the other company. Citing ethical concerns, he stated that he had no choice but to drop out of a potential investment. However, Daymond was sure to tell the other Sharks that Talley was “the real deal”, and that U-Lace was “a real company”.

Kevin O’Leary gave U-Lace an offer of $200k for 50% equity, which is much less than the $200k for 25% that Talley was looking for. Talley countered O’Leary with $200k for 35% equity, which Mark Cuban went in and immediately accepted. Mark promised that he would work hard to get the laces into the Dallas Mavericks shop, and the two embarked on their partnership together.

U-Lace Now in 2018 – The After Shark Tank Update

After Shark Tank, U-Lace continued to grow and expand as a product. During the premiere of Shark Tank’s 6th season (just six months after its initial appearance in season 5), U-Lace appeared in an official Shark Tank update alongside a some of Mark Cuban’s other investments. The update celebrated the products landed themselves on the shelves of Target superstores around the country. If you go onto their website, you can see that U-Lace has expanded their product line with things like U-Locks Words and U-Locks Mono’s, which are custom steel lace locks that can be affixed to laces.

According to the U-Lace FAQ page, in May of 2016, they intend to launch U-Lace Performance, a special kind of U-Lace that is intended for use in more high-tech or competitive athletic settings. Although the regular product can be used competitively, they aren’t really designed to give you an edge, placing an emphasis on style over substance. When Tim Talley came on Shark Tank, Daymond said that he was the real deal. Right now, it’s looking like that was a fair assessment.'
Jake Briscoe
Jake is passionate about everything tech, film, and gaming related. If he's not writing you can probably catch him at a local sporting event or coffee shop.


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