Ashley Drake, Army Corps of Engineers Captain and entrepreneur, pitches The Natural Grip, a Crossfit training “glove,” to the Sharks in episode 608 – the military entrepreneurs' special. Drake appears with CrossFit athlete Danielle Sidell, who demonstrates the product in action.
The Natural Grip isn't really a glove, it's more of a protective wrap that allows athletes to get a better grip on pull up bars or weights, without tearing up the hands. Each grip is custom-made: they use ring finger size to ensure a proper fit. The Natural Grip is made of Zinc Oxide 100% cotton tape that has a natural adhesive and is super strong. After placing the grips on your hands, they recommend taping them at the wrist to prevent slippage. The grips come in a variety of colors, so you can coordinate your hands with the rest of your workout wear.
The Natural Grip is currently available Amazon and online at the company's website. Drake is likely looking for a Shark's help getting wider distribution and to fund production for large orders.
Will the Sharks get a grip and invest?
The Natural Grip Shark Tank Recap
The segment opens with Ashley in her home discussing the business. When she enters the Tank with Danielle Sidell, she tells the Sharks to “get a grip.” Ashley is seeking $100K for 20%. She explains the grips to the Sharks then has Danielle clean and jerk 165 pounds and do some bar muscle ups. Ashley hands out samples (she gives Kevin black grips to match the color of his soul! The Sharks try the grips and Robert does a few pull-ups.
She reveals $178K in sales in the past year. Robert asks her to differentiate her grips from others. Her patent is for reusable tape grips based on ring finger size. Each grip costs $4.32 to make and they retail for $17 – good margins! Lori isn't passionate about the business and goes out. Ashley wants money to amp up manufacturing. Then Kevin goes out.
Ashley wants to grow to $4 million a year. Mark thinks she should focus on the Crossfit community, Robert disagrees. Robert and Daymond say they are going to wait Mark out, then there's a commercial break.
After the break, the three remaining Sharks are at a stand off. Mark likes what she's doing, but he doesn't see what's next – so he's out. Robert thinks she has good credibility and offers $100K for 30%. Daymond offers $100K for 40%. Robert counters with $125K for 25%, Daymond drops to $100K for 33% and claims he's better for manufacturing and can “put Reebok on the box.” Ashley decides to take Robert's offer!
Result: deal for $125K for 25% with Robert.
The Natural Grip Shark Tank Update
The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. The Natural Grip gets an update segment in Beyond the Tank episode 108. Even though Ashley left the army to run the business full-time, since doing the deal with Robert, sales have become stagnant and Robert thinks it's due to a lack of marketing.
Read how they conquered their challenges HERE.