Kit Lender Before Shark Tank
Skiing is such a popular pastime that anyone with the opportunity to do it takes it up instantly. Forrest Shinners grew up supporting the ski industry as his parents operated a shop that sold skiing goods. Forrest grew up in Stowe, Vermont where skiing is a very popular activity and the ski resorts are popular tourist destinations.
After college, Forrest went to work in the finance sector. Forrest made friends there and they, like others, enjoyed skiing in Vermont. Since his parents operated a ski shop, Forrest constantly had a lot of spare gear and he would constantly lend it to his friends who were just coming for brief visits. His friends were always so happy to be able to get some gear for some time that some would offer to pay him for it if he gave them a price.
Surprised by all the positive feedback, Forrest went online to see which shops loaned out ski gear. He was surprised to see that no shops offered that service. Forrest then decided to start Kit Lender which was a shop that loaned out skiing gear.
Kit Lender had a great start and Forrest’s only problem was keeping up with demand as his inventory was not as high as he wanted it to be. He reached out to Shark Tank to partner with an investor who could help him grow. He was on the 9th episode of season 11.
Kit Lender on Shark Tank
Forrest Shinners went on Shark Tank seeking $200,000 for 7% of his business. This would give Kit Lender a value of $2,857,142. He started his pitch by explaining to the sharks how Kit Lender worked. Since it was an online service, he did not have any samples to give the sharks but he did have a video showing how Kit Lender worked.
After his pitch, Barbara asked him how he had come up with the idea. Forrest said that he grew up in Vermont where his parents had been operating a ski shop for 45 years. He had been raised in the ski industry. He had moved to New York after being in college and worked in finance. While working in finance he noticed that very few people had ski clothing.
Forrest used to loan some of his things to his friends. His friends appreciated the favor a lot and he would be asked how much he charged for it. Forrest then had a moment of inspiration and he went online to see if there was anyone doing it. He found that there was nobody doing it.
Seeing that there was nobody else doing it, Forrest gathered funds, started a website, and launched Kit Lender. Mark Cuban asked him when this started and he was told that it started in 2014 and the business was officially started in 2015.
Forrest said that in his first year of business he sold out. Forrest said that the business was very hectic and he was constantly flying in and out of Stowe Vermont. It was when he was doing this that he developed a drinking problem. However, he quit drinking and focused full-time on running his business. He also had another job that he did and that was what he had done for the past 4 years.
He had quit his job in the past spring to focus on Kit Lender full-time. Kevin then asked him what his sales were. Forrest said that in the past year they had realized $755,000 in sales. The sharks were very impressed by the amount. Kevin then asked him what cash he had made from that amount.
Forrest said that he had earned about $106,000 but that was his earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization. Robert then asked to be walked through the process of acquiring an item that he liked. He pointed to one of the items Forrest had brought with him and asked to be walked through the process of renting it.
Forrest said that you would go online to buy the outfit. Their outfits were bought in kits. You would then checkout. That order would be held until the person wanted to ski. Robert asked how long it would take for the items to be shipped to him. Forrest said that it would take a minimum of 4 days but it also depended on where you are going.
Robert then asked how the return would be done after the clothes had been used for a period of 4 days or so. Forrest said that the clothes came in garment bags and once you were done with them, you would pack them and ship them. The shipping would be prepaid. Satisfied with the answer, Robert then asked him how much he would be charged per kit.
Forrest said that a kid’s kit cost $18-$22 and an adult’s kit would cost $30-$44. Barbara then said that she thought the package was of great value. Robert then asked him if he was buying a whole line of inventory. Forrest said that they would and their target was to get 3 seasons out of their inventory.
Robert then asked him how much inventory he had and Forrest said that he had inventory worth $550,000. Lori then left because she did not think the business was meant for her. Mark Cuban followed suit and said that he was leaving because he thought that the business was not meant for him. He also thought that the business would need a lot more inventory for it to work.
Barbara said that she was leaving. Her reason for this was that the product was marketed incorrectly She also thought that children should have been the main target for the product. Kevin then left after Barbara. He thought that Forrest had yet to tackle his business problems well enough for him to invest in Kit Lender.
Robert was then the only shark left and Forrest tried to convince him that he would work hard to make the business a success. He also really wanted to work with Robert. Robert said that he was out because Forrest was running with elephants and he was not quick enough.
Without an offer on the table, Forrest had to leave. He said that Kit Lender would continue to grow even though he had not got a deal.
Kit Lender Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Although Kit Lender did not get a deal on Shark Tank, it has continued to do business. It has increased the size of its inventory and now offers a wider variety of clothing on its website. The inventory problem looks like it has been solved. The Kit Lender business now offers clothing by the brand and now offers clothing by more than 24 brands.
The Covid-19 virus slowed activity for many businesses and Kit Lender was one of them. They experienced a great decline in business being an outdoors company because of the lockdown. However, as things eased up, they went back to experiencing growth.
On Instagram, Kit Lender has over 5,600 followers. On Facebook, Kit Lender has 4,300 followers and on Twitter, it has 254 followers. Kit Lender has continued to use ad campaigns on social media to attract customers. Retargeting customers and focusing on keywords has been their strategy and it looks like it has paid off.
Kitlnder’s annual revenue is $2,000,000 and it is still located in Vermont. Neither a pandemic nor a rejection from the sharks will slow the business down.