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Pretty Rugged

pretty ruggedTracy Slocum hopes to find a fit for Pretty Rugged, her line of wind proof, water proof  and spill proof faux fur blankets and outerwear, in Shark Tank Episode 1405. Slocum lives by Lake George in upstate New York and spends many of her days on the water. It gets chilly out there in the mornings and evenings, so she wanted something to keep her warm and dry. She looked to her great great grandfather, Captain Joshua Slocum, for inspiration. He was the first man to sail alone around the world. His voyage began in Boston on April 24, 1895 and ended in Newport, RI on June 27, 1898 after a journey of over 46,000 miles. Captain Slocum used furs to keep himself warm and dry on his voyage an those furs are what inspired Tracy.

Her first product was a blanket that was faux fur on one side and wind breaker like material that’s wind and water proof on the other side. The windbreaker material is made from RuggedTex™ and SatinTex™ which makes the blankets waterproof yet “soft and buttery.” The blankets are also machine washable. She’d snuggle in her blanket to keep warm and dry out on the lake on chilly mornings. The blanket can also be used for outdoor sporting events, tailgating, and any other outdoor activity that requires a need to take the chill off. Friends and family raved about the blankets she made, so in 2017, she started Pretty Rugged.

Building a Brand

Tracy had experience developing clothing lines from her previous business, so she got to work building her next business. Now, the company offers much more than blankets – which were chosen by Oprah as one of her favorite things in 2018. The line now includes outerwear and accessories. She’s sold over 30,000 blankets over the years. She wants a Shark to help make Pretty Rugged an international brand. Will one of the Sharks warm up to this business?

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Pretty Rugged Shark Tank Recap

Tracy enters the Shark Tank seeking $200,000 for 10% of her company. She tells the story of her great great grandfather. Next she introduces her blanket and tells the Sharks she created an entire lifestyle brand making “products that are made for life.” Mark thinks Captain Slocum’s story is cool. Tracy elaborates and says he had a goal but a lot of people doubted him.

The Sharks open their sample blankets and Tracy tells them they were designed to feel like mink. The Sharks like the blankets – Kevin is all curled up and says he’s going to take a snooze during the presentation. She introduced the blankets in 2018 and brought them to a huge trade show in New York. She was awarded best new product at the show and the blankets became one of Oprah’s favorite things. Shortly after the trade show, her husband’s business suffered a flood – they lost everything.

She says she wants a strategic partner that can help take her business to the next level. The blankets cost $36-$40 to make and sell for $290. Retail margins are 80% and wholesale margins are 70%. The Sharks love the margins. Lifetime sales are $3 million. 2021 sales were $1,197,000 and she netted $32,000. She spent $180,000 on trade shows in 2021 and funded a big purchase order at the end of the year. She’s doing 20 trade shows in 2022.

Who’s In?

Kevin doesn’t think there’s room for him as an investor; he doesn’t think the valuation is correct either. He doesn’t see how he can pour gasoline on this fire; he’s out. Emma says she admires Tracy and that she started a business at this point in her life, but she doesn’t see faux fur as a growing fashion trend; she’s out. Mark likes the product and thinks Tracy will do well, but he doesn’t see how he can help her; he’s out.

Lori asks about more sales numbers. This year (July, 2022) she has booked sales of $715,000. She’s at negative $250,000 for the year. She works with 5 women. Emma doesn’t think the numbers add up. Robert calls Tracy an absolute winner. Lori loves the product and likes faux fur. She likes Tracy’s margins. Robert and Lori team up to offer $200,000 for 25%. Lori will help with sales, Robert will help with the finances. Tracy counters with 20% and then takes the original deal.

Pretty Rugged Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. Tracy told a local news outlet she did “hundreds of thousands” in sales in the immediate aftermath of the original air date. Sales for the company in 2021 were $1.8 million and Tracy said sales in 2022 were in “the multi-millions.” The company leased an additional 10,000 square foot warehouse to help keep up with demand. She’s hired 3 sales reps who’ve gotten her products into over 1000 stores nationwide – primarily independent shops in resort areas. Two new embroidery machines will help her crank more product out faster.

As of the second rerun of this episode in August, 2023, the deal with Lori and Robert has not closed and likely won’t. The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on Pretty Rugged & Tracy Slocum as more details become available.