Shefit Gets Funding from “Shark Tank”By Jane Whitttington on February 25th, 2016 /
Every budding entrepreneur comes up against the issue of financing. It isn’t easy to fund new and unproven ideas. But one aspiring business woman had the unusual opportunity of pitching her idea on national television. The popular show “Shark Tank” recently featured Sara Moylan of Grand Rapids, founder of Shefit. “Shark Tank”, the 2014 and 2015 Emmy winner for Outstanding Structured Reality Program, is in its seventh season. The show allows aspiring entrepreneurs to try and sell their business ideas to a panel of investors. Of more than 100,000 ideas submitted to the show each year, only 200 are chosen to tape segments, and only about half of those taped are actually presented on the show. Sara Moylan was one of those chosen to appear. One of the investors, Daymond John, the founder of FUBU clothing, agreed to invest $250,000 in Shefit in return for 33 percent of the company.
Even without the funding and the national exposure, Shefit was poised to become a successful company, but the investment definitely helped. Moylan, who runs the company with her husband Bob, says that even before “Shark Tank”, their product was available through over 30 retailers and also available to purchase online.
And what is Shefit? Shefit is a sports bra that is radically different from its predecessors. Designed by Moylan to be the best fitting and most supportive sports bra in the marketplace, it has proven to surpass expectations and is finding an audience that, up till now, has been underserved.
Moylan first had an idea for Shefit when she was pregnant with her oldest daughter, now 12. She says, “My bras just didn’t fit. I was wearing two or three at a time to try and get the support I needed plus I was pinning and rubber banding the straps and the back, and I still didn’t feel comfortable. I felt frustrated by the limitations of what was available in stores. I’ve always been active and fit, and this struggle ate away at my self-confidence. I decided I would try and come up with a design that would work for me. I’m no seamstress, but I worked with different fabrics and designs, with hot glue and needle and thread. Once I felt like I had something that would work, I found a seamstress who made a prototype, and what we came up with was a vast improvement on the bras I had bought in stores.”
She continues, “I kept working with different designs, different fabrics, different prototypes. I worked on it through three more pregnancies and breast-feeding all four of my daughters. I talked to serious athletes, dancers, runners, and all kinds of women, women of all sizes who just wanted better options for a supportive and comfortable bra with a customized fit. And I kept improving my product.”
Even though both Sara and her husband work full-time, and they are busy raising four daughters, they forged ahead with their new business. They received help and advice from mentors in the community including those from SCORE. In addition, they worked with Bradley Bengtson, a Grand Rapids plastic surgeon who frequently performed breast augmentation and reduction surgeries and worked with women who had mastectomies related to breast cancer. He knew that the right bra could make a big difference to his patients as they recuperated from surgery and as they resumed normal activities. The Shefit bra is now available through his practice.
Moylan says, “We promise a customized fit; we don’t go by cup size or any other standard measurements. We have found that the majority of women are wearing the wrong size anyway. We have a precise system of measurement that allows us to customize the fit for each woman. “
She continues, “We can fit women of all sizes. We’ve tweaked the design and are about to introduce our latest iteration, which will be lighter and even more comfortable. It’s adjustable and can be worn either as X-back or H-back. It comes in several colors, and we’re on the verge of offering it in a camo print.”
She admits that since their appearance on “Shark Tank”, they have been flooded with inquiries and orders and are hustling to keep up with demand. Besides their online store, Shefit is available in several stores including Gazelle Sports, Runners’ Performance, Hansen’s Running Shop and others.
Moylan says, “None of this has been easy. We have worked harder than we ever thought we could; we’ve made mistakes and learned from those mistakes. My husband and I feel we are setting an example for our children—if you have a passion for something and work to achieve your goals, you can succeed.”
For more information, visit www.shefit.com