Buck Mason Before Shark Tank
Sasha Koehn and Erik Schnakenberg are from Los Angeles, California, and are the founders of Buck Mason. They are seeking an investment of $200,000 in exchange for 8% of their company. Growing up, Sasha explains, he always thought his father dressed cool – he always wore the same thing every day, which was beat up blue jeans, a white v-neck shirt, and a flannel workshirt. He was a brickmason, so he was not trying to look cool, just dress out of function. These days, it is easy to feel like a woman when it comes to shopping for men’s clothes – there are too many choices, too many trends, and just too much stimulation going on. So, the two of them have created Buck Mason to create American-made, high quality clothing, all available at an affordable price point.
Buck Mason has focused on its niche, including categories like the perfect t-shirt, the essential blue jeans, and a classic oxford shirt. On their website, Buck Mason shows who is making the products and how they are made; they call this “American-made price transparency.” At Buck Mason, they are ignoring fashion trends as it is not about standing out or fitting in, but is about taste. Buck Mason is aimed at working-class men who want some sense of fashion.
Buck Mason on Shark Tank
Sasha and Erik pass out samples to each of the Sharks, which consists of a pair of jeans, a shirt, and an oxford shirt. Robert asks to be walked through the process of purchasing Buck Mason clothes – how does he buy them, and from where? Buck Mason products are sold online, direct to consumer, and there are two ways to purchase Buck Mason products. You can purchase the singular item, which are very wearable on their own with anything, but merchandise is also sold through a curated package.
Buck Mason will put together an outfit of 3-6 clothing pieces that you simply cannot mess up wearing, and will go with any piece of clothing. However, the Sharks might not find the clothing suitable, since the clothing is more aimed for people who lead a more physical lifestyle due to work or who just have no time to shop, or even no fashion sense. A pair of jeans goes for $135, which Mark explains is not cheap for a pair of jeans. However, $135 for an American-made pair of jeans is about as competitive as you can possibly get for the price. T-Shirts are sold for $24, and button-down oxfords are sold for $88.
The Sharks ask about sales, which come to $300,000 in the year-to-date, which has been 8 months so far. Robert asks what the two men did before entering into Buck Mason, and Sasha explains that he worked in the clothing industry for 20 years, and Erik comes from a more tech-media oriented side. Erik started working on a content platform called, “This Built America” which profiled companies that are re-imagining American manufacturing, which inspired Erik to bring some manufacturing back to the United States.
Kevin gives an example; if he was a customer and purchased a shirt and jeans, how many more times in a year does he have to buy? 38% of the companies are repeated in the last 8 months, Erik explains, and of that 38%, 10% purchased more than $1,000 worth of goods. So, you have men purchasing just a wife beater t-shirt and testing out the service, then coming back and buying 5 more at a time and finding they like the brand and service. Kevin says he understands the brand, as Buck Mason is taking pride in their American manufacturing and they are attempting to pick a price point which means the customer acquisition cost is going to be less than their lifetime value. However, Kevin does not hear retail strategy, rollout strategy, or anything else about expanding the business.
Robert jerks to Kevin, asking Erik and Sasha if Kevin is correct. Kevin is partially correct, Sasha explains; the two of them have been successful at acquiring customers for very little to no cost. They acquire customers through their social media and public relations channels, and the most success they have has been in the social media paradigm. On social media, their Instagram has been the most successful with an “influencer program;” Buck Mason finds people on Instagram that they can relate to, and typically have a high amount of followers. Buck Mason focuses on these people, and not fashion bloggers, since they are building a different type of brand – their customer are following the people on Instagram, and not the fashion bloggers. In return, there is a little bit of gifting towards the advertisement.
Kevin explains that he still does not understand how the expansion of the business comes in – are they just going to invest thousands of dollars and explode the model while keeping the current business model, or is there a plan to expand into retail or wholesale? The plan is to primarily stay with online retail. Mark asks about investment into Buck Mason, and Erik explains that both he and Sasha are the only investors and have invested only $10,000. Kevin gives the sales figure of $500,000, which is attainable of Buck Mason. How much would they make on a sales figure of $500,000? Sasha then reveals that both he and Erik have only begun to pay themselves, and on a figure of $500,000 in sales, they would be able to make around $35,000, which Daymond looks concerned about.
Mark admits that he loves the idea and loves American-made products, but he is not the guy to look to for advice in the apparel industry. Mark is the first Shark out of the deal, saying he will be a customer, but not an investor. Lori loves the story and the products, but ultimately, Buck Mason is just not far enough down the road; she does not know what to add to the mix to hit guys in their hearts with clothes that they find that they need to wear. Lori is out of the deal next.
Robert then says that he finds the initial investment of $10,000 excellent, as they have turned that into a revenue stream of more than $300,000. But, Robert is having a hard time understanding how they target and acquire customers; by limiting themselves to only shopping online, they have created a harsh struggle for themselves to grow the brand at the price points that they offer. Robert is out of the deal as well, leaving only Kevin and Daymond.
Kevin explains that companies that specialize in clothing trade at around 4 times their cashflow, and are much larger than Buck Mason is. Buck Mason would need to be making between $600 and $750,000 before tax to get a $2.5 million dollar evaluation, meaning they would need to make a lot more money to get a proper evaluation. While Kevin loves the branding, it is not quite clear yet on how Buck Mason will be able to increase their sales volume while retaining market share. To get an investment of $200,000 from Kevin, he would need around half the company. However, what Kevin would be investing in would be, primarily, the vision and talent that Buck Mason already has created.
Daymond says that the two of them have been in the business long enough to know that a $2.5 evaluation is crazy, since they are putting the value in what they are doing in the future. Daymond does not have two crystal balls, so he does not know exactly how the two men will do with his investment and his money. Daymond folds out of the deal, leaving Kevin as the sole remaining Shark in the deal.
Kevin says he is lost and does not know what to do; he feels a partnership would be appropriate for a brand that nobody has heard of before today, but this is still a very risky maneuver. Kevin then makes the offer of $200,000 in exchange for a 50% stake in the company, which he finds generous. There is no other offer available since they are so far from making money, and he wonders how the two of them are even eating; Sasha says that Erik sometimes rents out his place as an AirBNB and crashes on their couch, so they have some form of income.
Ultimately, the two men are a start-up and are governed by gravity. Kevin will stay firm at his offer of $200,000 in exchange for 50%, and reinforces the fact that is the only offer that Buck Mason will receive as all the other Sharks have exited. Sasha explains, they have scraped and clawed to build the brand and to give up more than 50% equity in the company is not something they are interested. Kevin explains that the two men have screwed themselves since gravity will begin to pull them down at some point, but Lori pushes for the two men to make a counter-offer.
Erik shoots out a counter-offer of $200,000 in exchange for 15% plus a $100,000 line of credit, which is specifically for inventory. Plus, a lifetime’s supply of free clothing. Under these figures, the two men will need to make $2 million after tax in order to generate that evaluation. However, Robert then offers a deal of $200,000 plus a $100,000 line of credit in exchange for 25% of the company.
Kevin exits the deal, while Robert stays firm with his offer. Unfortunately, at this point, Erik and Sasha do not find the deal in Robert’s deal and exit the Shark Tank without a deal.
Buck Mason Now In 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
They might have walked away without a deal but that hasn’t stopped them from growing the company. Following their appearance on Shark Tank, they received a huge amount of sales.
Not only that, but Wall Street Journal also praised their tees as being “one of the best in America”, which caused their sales to skyrocket. They went from doing $4,000 a month in sales to $100,000 in 24 hours. Thanks to that, Erik and Sasha had the funds to build up their business; they didn’t have to pitch to venture capitalists.
At one point, they also landed a feature in Esquire. That’s not all, Tom Brady was also seen rocking one of their tees on GQ. If anything, that only brought them national exposure.
In 2018, the company did more than $30 million in sales, and in 2019, they did nearly $50 million. Given that, it seems like they made the right choice by refusing the Shark’s offer. What’s the secret to their success? At least part of it has to do with the fact that they focus on quality instead of “fast fashion”.
As of 2023, they have over a dozen retail stores across the US. In Los Angeles alone, there are five locations. There are also stores in Nashville, Newport Beach, New York, San Francisco, Palm Springs, Seattle, and several more cities. You can check out the full list of their stores here.
They’ve also added a women’s collection (if you remember, the brand was originally aimed at working-class men), which includes tees, tanks, jumpsuits, dresses, pants, shorts, shirts, sweaters, and outerwear, all of which are “grown and sewn in the USA”. Some of their newest products include twill shirt dresses, muscle tanks, cotton pop-over shirts, and wide-leg sweatpants. That’s not all, they also offer accessories such as bandanas.
Currently, their best sellers include their original curved hem tee, lounge pant, and slim jean. Their patterned shirts, suit-like separates, and shorts are also popular. If you live in one of the major cities we listed above, you can check them out in person at one of their locations. Otherwise, you can purchase them from their website.
They offer free shipping within the U.S. for all orders above $100. Returns are also free; a return label will be included with your package. Alternatively, you can return the items to any of their retail locations. And if the item you want is out of stock, you can ask them to put you on their restock notification list; you just have to let them know your email and which item you’re looking for.
For those who are interested in their products, you can follow the company on Instagram at @buckmason. It’s updated frequently with product images. They also have an active Twitter account (@buckmasonusa) with over 3.7K followers.