Catalina Girald is a “Nuevo Latino” woman with a mission: make affordable lingerie while helping make the world a better place for women in her home-country of Colombia. An attorney by profession, Ms. Girald has entrepreneurship in her blood. She's founded start-ups, advised venture funds, and now she's running her own company. She hopes the Sharks like her lingerie line, called Naja, when she pitches her business in episode 621 on Friday, March 13.
Naja lingerie got started in 2013 with a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $25,000. Girald wanted to make sexy, sassy, and colorful lingerie that is affordable for “regular” women who don't want to drop $75 on a pair of panties. She didn't have to find a manufacturer either; her uncle in Colombia owns a lingerie factory, so she decided to source production there.
Girald wants to empower American consumers, but she's also empowering single mothers in Colombia. All Naja's products are sewn there by women trained by Naja. A percentage of each purchase funds their training program so women can learn a skill, earn a decent wage, and raise themselves and their families up. By creating a community of “micro entrepreneurs,” Girald has made life better for dozens of women in her employ.
My Take on Naja Lingerie
I don't wear lingerie, but I do like it! There's nothing like a woman wearing some sexy skivvies. I have purchased lingerie for my wife, almost always at that ubiquitous mall store that does the TV shows (you know the one). I am always appalled at the prices in these stores, but what baby wants, baby gets. If there were an alternative shop or venue that was less expensive, I'd certainly check it out.
I like Girald's social mission, too. It's a good selling point; people like to feel good about what they're buying and knowing I helped a woman in need would definitely be a plus in my buying decisions. There have been a handful of companies with a social mission featured in the Tank this season and it's a trend I like. Companies with a social mission make the world better through commerce, not hand-outs.
Naja's website isn't quite as distracting as the “other store's” site. They don't feature sexy models – just the bras and panties. That's because the “other store” sells to a lot of men who are buying gifts. Naja wants to sell to women, so their marketing is a bit less over the top, but they do like to get riled up once in a while. When Instagram banned all images of women with “unruly” bikini lines, Naja came out with a “Free the Bush” line of panties that were a big seller. It's lingerie for women, by women.
Do Sharks Fund Naja?
Based on the video preview of this episode, it looks like Catalina gets into it with the Sharks. She'll face some stiff objections to her valuation – bordering on hostility! That stuff is just for TV though. If she can come to terms on valuation with one of the Sharks, her story could net her a deal.
I can't see Robert, Mark, or Mr. Wonderful getting involved with this business, but Mr. Wonderful will undoubtedly send some scathing remarks Ms. Girald's way. That leaves Daymond and Lori. Daymond is always considered a target for clothing related entrepreneurs, but Naja is probably out of his wheelhouse. Lori could play the “women power” card and invest if she feels she can make money, but I think she backs off too.
Naja will leave without a deal in the Tank. The good thing is, Naja's message and mission will reach the masses. I think the soul of the company will resonate with viewers and, ultimately, lead to some solid sales.