Sonnet James Before Shark Tank
Playing with their children is something that every parent loves to do. Unfortunately, it is not always easy for mothers to do this because their clothes get in the way. Whitney Lundeen is a woman who was trying to enjoy playtime with her children but like all the other women before her, her clothes kept getting in the way. She started Sonnet James clothing to provide women with clothes that they could wear when doing all the strenuous activities with their children.
Whitney had an abusive childhood. She made the clothing imagining that she made clothing that her mother would have worn when she played with her during her childhood. Whitney designed every single dress that Sonnet James sold not wanting to simply sell generic women’s clothing.
Sonnet James was a success and she sold out the moment she launched her site. Although Sonnet James became a hit, Whitney had a problem making a profit as her returns were too low. She needed some help to make Sonnet James a more profitable business. She reached out to Shark Tank and the sharks invited her to be on the 11th episode of season 10.
Sonnet James On Shark Tank
Whitney Lundeen sought $350,000 for 25% of her company when she went onto Shark Tank. This gave Sonnet James a value of $1,400,000. She gave a presentation where she showed the sharks the problems women experience when playing with their children. She then showed the sharks her Sonnet James clothing and how it remedied the problems. She then gave each shark a sample to see.
Lori complemented the clothes saying that they were made of great material. Barbara noted that they did not seem to lose their shape when stretched and Whitney confirmed this. Lori then asked for the cost of the clothing.
Whitney said that her sales price was on average $138 and it cost her $34 to make. She made it in California and her profit margins were around 75%. Barbara and Lori then asked her where she sold it and she was told that she sold it directly to her consumer on her website. Kevin then asked for her sales numbers saying that for her valuation, she better have made a lot of sales.
Whitney said that she had been in business for 5 years and had done $84,000 in sales in the first year. In the past year, she had done $1,200,000 in sales. The sharks were impressed with this figure and Whitney added that she had a 43% return rate.
Mark Cuban asked her whether she was making a profit or spending a lot of money on marketing. Whitney said that she felt that she was doing well. Her expenses were not that high and so she felt that she was in a good position but still needed some help. She normally only had 8-10% left from her net profit which she thought was too small.
Sara Blakely asked Whitney if she was the designer and Whitney said that she was a designer and she had designed every dress that they had sold. Sara then asked Whitney about her background. Whitney said that she had a child when she was 22 and decided to be a stay-at-home mother. After that, she soon became a single mother.
Whitney said that she had a difficult childhood with some abuse. She had wanted to make a dress that her mother could have worn. Whitney’s mother would have remembered to play with her when she was little whenever she wore the dress.
Whitney had to teach herself everything about how to make garments and even how to build a website. She got 150 orders within the first 48 hours of running the website. She was overwhelmed by the response and was even ready to give everyone who had made an order a refund and shut down the website because she didn’t think that she could deliver but she did.
She shared her problem with her brother who told her not to shut it down. Instead, she moved to Los Angeles and found fashionistas and that is how her business started. She then gave more details of how difficult her life was when she was growing up. For her, the business helped her be the mother that she always wanted to be.
Whitney added that she is reminded of what her priorities are every time she puts on the dress. Lori praised Whitney for using the challenges in her life to uplift herself. Although Kevin broke into tears he still asked Whitney what she paid herself since she was making a very low profit of around $100,000.
Whitney said that she was making $70,000 annually. Kevin said that a $100,000 profit on $1,400,000 sales was not good but Mark Cuban thought it was very good. Whitney said that she thought that her company could grow to become a company worth $100,000,000. Kevin doubted and said that people constantly lost customers in business. Whitney said that she had a 23% return rate which was lower than the average of 30%.
Sara Blakely then offered Whitney what she had asked for, 350,000 for 25%. Sara said that she liked to invest in female entrepreneurs. Whitney accepted the offer. Sara said that it felt like her five years of hard work were for that moment.
Sonnet James Now in 2024 – The After Shark Tank Update
Whitney has benefitted tremendously from her partnership with Sara Blakely. Sara has provided her access to her legal, financial, and marketing teams. Whitney has said that she is constantly having long discussions with them and has got a lot of information from interacting with them. The clothes are still available on the official website but now they are also available on other sites such as Poshmark.
Sonnet James experienced a lot of difficulty during the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in California’s shutdown. Her orders of fabric and her supply chain were delayed. However, as the pandemic eased up, it has been able to go back to its previous levels of production.
Sonnet James has very active social media accounts and has more than 44,000 followers on Instagram. It has amassed more than 8,000 followers on Facebook. On Pinterest, it gets on average 22,400 monthly views with 3,800 followers.
Although it would be cheaper to outsource production, Sonnet James is still made in California. Its annual revenue is $1,000,000. Whitney is happy with its location and its profits and although her new wealth took her by surprise, she has found a way to manage it, her business, and her family all in one go.