Naja Lingerie Before Shark Tank
Catalina Gerald, the founder and CEO of Naja (pronounced Nih-Haya), has come to the Shark Tank to seek an investment of $500,000 in exchange for 5% equity in her company. Catalina starts with Naja’s mission statement – she believes it is time for a new lingerie brand. Naja is a product that is better than other brands, and even does good for the world. They have an “Underwear for Hope” program, which helps to train single mothers to sew. These single mothers are then employed for wages by the completed piece. Every time that you purchase a Naja product, you are purchasing a product to help a woman in need.
Naja Lingerie On Shark Tank
Naja is helping to disrupt the $14 billion lingerie industry and serve women in need. Catalina then passes out samples to each of the Sharks, and Robert jokes that he won’t try it on. Robert receives the Dog lingerie, Lori receives the Sparrow Collection set, Kevin receives the Koala Bear lingerie, Daymond receives one of the first samples from the new collection that Naja is working on, and Mark receives Rocker Girl Blue, which matches the colors of the Dallas Mavericks. Each set of underwear has a message inside, and Lori points this out – hers says, “I am not weird, I am limited edition.” Robert’s says “Be yourself, everybody else is already taken.”
Naja then explains, most lingerie is actually made for men and marketed for men – Naja is for women, so they put the prints on the interior of the bras and panties since it’s meant for the woman wearing it, not the woman wearing it for the man. Robert then asks about sales, which come out to $145,000 in about 5 and a half months of operation. Kevin asks for examples on how the lingerie is priced, and Catalina says that the bra she is holding sells for $60 and costs $7 to make. The margins are about 72%.
Kevin then asks how Catalina came to the valuation of $10 million dollars, and Catalina explains that the valuation has to do with how much money that the Naja brand has raised in the past. Catalina is from Silicon Valley, where goodwill is a very common thing – they raised $850,000 in a rough valuation, exactly one year ago when Naja was just a single napkin concept. The partner that Catalina had been speaking to over the phone explained that he saw so many lingerie companies that he would most likely say no to Catalina, but they eventually met at a bar over a glass of wine and on her napkin, she drew the prototype on a napkin and showed it to her partner.
najaSince Catalina has an MBA, she was crafty enough to know how to sell her product that she had just suddenly invented. Mark questions where Catalina received her MBA, which Catalina answers with Stanford University, in Massachusetts. The most important thing that makes the brand is the manufacturing process in which Naja lingerie is made, as they are doing things completely different than anyone else. Lead times for lingerie are over a year, which means that most lingerie is sitting for over a year – Mark tries to point out that this is due to scale of the operation, but Catalina says she disagrees. The lead time has to do with how the products are purchased, so Naja owns their own sampling and manufacturing facility, as well as all the raw materials required to make the lingerie.
Since Naja already has the raw materials, she can develop an entirely new collection of lingerie and have it ready in stores within 4 to 6 months. However, if the demand to reprint an old collection is rising, she can reprint an entire collection within 2 to 3 weeks. Despite this, brand is everything in the lingerie business – Kevin points out that Catalina and Naja do not have a brand yet, and Robert agrees by saying that Catalina is just starting out with her business. People don’t know about Naja, so why would the business be worth $9 to $10 million?
Kevin then questions if he could take $9 million and start his own company, but Catalina denies that Kevin could; she then attempts to tell the Sharks that they are not investing in today’s value of Naja because that isn’t the way that brands work. Kevin points out that the sales are “squat,” and this is what matters to an investor, but Lori calms down Kevin and lets Catalina explain herself. Catalina explains, Naja has doubled their sales from month to month, and no additional money is being spent to scale up operation due to the operating nature of the process and the workers.
Mark then asks about the average order metrics from Naja, which Catalina starts with saying the average order from the website is for around $80. The repeat purchase percentage is around 14%, which Mark says is quite scary, but again, Catalina claims that the 14% metric is actually quite high. A start-up company with unique attachment to people is the time when people should be most excited and most willing to share the product, but there is a re-order percentage of 14% which is quite low. Catalina explains further that with only two collections, the reorder percentage cannot be observed in a total vacuum – there is so much potential for loyalty to Naja to grow.
Daymond voices his frustrations; Catalina is correcting the Sharks on what they think and what they know from years of experience. This early in the lifespan of Naja, there should be a far more passionate and emotional response to Naja than just a 14% re-ordering rate, Mark explains, especially since Naja is all based online. There seems to be a disconnect for Catalina and reality, so Mark is out of the deal first.
Robert does not see the value of Naja today, as he feels the company is still growing and is not quite ready for an investor to just steroid the company with a vast amount of cash. Robert is also out of the deal. Kevin then explains that he believes Catalina made a mistake; just because an investor outside of Shark Tank is willing to pay a vast amount of money, it doesn’t mean any of the investors inside Shark Tank would do the same thing. The idea is beyond ridiculous, and to attempt to prove that her business is worth $9 to $10 million is outrageous. Even with an MBA, there has not been enough success to warrant the valuation, and to attract investors, money would have to be made. Kevin values the company at $1.5 to $2 million, and at an investment of $500,000, he would need a premium to own the company. Kevin is out of the deal as well, since Catalina obviously would not take such a low offer.
Lori then voices her thoughts; people from Silicon Valley, the tech breadbasket of America, often come into the Shark Tank and point out that they have raised millions of dollars but are so obsessed with raising money and not using that money as a vehicle to generate more money. The brass tacks of actually selling the product gets lost, and Lori then exits the deal.
Daymond is the final Shark remaining in the deal, and he starts by asking Catalina how she thinks her negotiation style has worked in the Shark Tank. Catalina shows some self-awareness, and responds that the negotiations could have definitely gone better. While Daymond appreciates strong females, and wouldn’t have cared if a male had been pitching in the place of Catalina, the thing that bothered him the most is constantly being corrected by Catalina. It wasn’t the proper way to do business, but Daymond concedes that he may not have seen better designs for lingerie.
Daymond wants to make an offer into Naja, but he has thought enough about it and he feels that there is too much ‘stupid money’ in the business and that he would have to invest massive amounts of money into an improper valuation of the brand. Daymond is the last and final Shark out of the deal, leaving Catalina without an investment in Naja due to her over-evaluation of the brand’s worth.
Naja Lingerie Now In 2023– The After Shark Tank Update
Catalina might not have landed a deal with the sharks but that didn’t stop her from growing the business. Being on the show helped as well; it gave the brand a significant amount of exposure, which increased their sales.
As of 2023, Naja Lingerie is still up and running. Currently, they offer three types of bras: bralettes, unlined bras, and t-shirt bras. Not only are they available in different sizes (from 32A to 38C), but they also come in various colors and designs. And they range in price from $52 to $98. Take their mesh triangle bralettes, for example, they go for $58.
In addition to that, they also offer a variety of underwear including bikinis, high-waisted undies, briefs, thongs, and thongs. And like their bras, they’re available in a wide range of colors and patterns. In fact, many have matching bra counterparts.
That’s not all, they’ve also started selling face masks since the pandemic and 70% of all proceeds go to Soi Dog, a non-profit organization that helps stray dogs and cats. And each face mask ($25 each) is made by single mothers and female heads of households.
For those who are looking for bargains, they also have a sale section where you can snag some discounted items. For example, they have bralettes and bras listed for $18 and $24 respectively at the time of this writing. You can also sign up for their newsletter for occasional discounts and promotions.
Customer reviews, however, seem to be mediocre. While some are satisfied with their purchase, others have run into issues with customer service. For instance, one user wrote on Highway that no one answered her email, chat, or call, when she called to inquire about shipping fees. Other users complained about the quality of their clothing.
One review, in particular, stated that the adhesive plastic came off of a pair of underwear and when the user contacted customer service about the issue, they were told that the best that they could do was 15% off their next order. Not only that, but the company has also made racially insensitive posts about their models and customers on social media, which has left many with a sour taste in their mouths.
Despite all that, the company seems to be doing well financially. The last that we checked, they were bringing in more than $2.9 million in revenue a year, which is quite impressive seeing as how they had managed it all by themselves without the sharks’ help. For those who’d like to check out their products, you can do so on their website here. They’re also active on Instagram and Twitter for those who’d like to follow them on social media.