‘Shark Tank’ Success Story: No Limbits

SHARK TANK - ?1318? ? Emma Grede, the CEO of fashion juggernaut Good American and founding partner of SKIMS, returns to the Tank in an all-new episode.
Christopher Willard / ABC

Entrepreneur Erica Cole appeared on Season 13 of “Shark Tank” seeking a $100,000 investment for 6% equity in her ready-to-wear adaptive apparel brand, No Limbits.

Cole started the company out of a personal struggle to find clothing that worked with her prosthesis. Mark Cuban and guest Shark Emma Grede both saw the brand’s potential, and they teamed up to invest $100,000 for 10% equity.

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I had the chance to catch up with Cole about how appearing on “Shark Tank” has helped her to succeed.

Did appearing on ‘Shark Tank’ have an immediate impact on your business?

Yes, we had over 30,000 people on the site in a matter of seconds and saw 20 times our normal sales volume that weekend. Perhaps more importantly for us, we were contacted by hundreds of healthcare providers who saw how our adaptive clothing can help their patients. We’re establishing partnerships with over 3,000 independent clinics where we can meet people where they are with the clothing they need.

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We also had a ton of messages from people asking us to expand products into new adaptive categories, which we’re working on right now! We used the response from “Shark Tank” to organize people into testing and focus groups for our upcoming products so that our customer is involved in our product development.

Another unexpected result of the show was a clearer path to wholesale accounts. We had inbound requests from large retailers looking to carry adaptive products, so we’re going to be in stores soon, which will allow us to reach more people and give them the opportunity to experience the product before making a purchase.

On a personal level, the outpouring of support and hearing that my story resonated with people was incredibly impactful to me as an entrepreneur. We have so many cool people who are now involved in the business because they reached out after seeing the episode.

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How did you end up using the investment dollars?

I was the only full-time person working on No Limbits when we filmed the episode. We used the investment from “Shark Tank” to bring on some incredible people to develop more products and execute on our marketing strategy with our clinic partners. We now have the infrastructure in place to be able to service all of our clinics and our upcoming wholesale channels.

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What’s the best advice you received from your Sharks that has helped you as a business owner?

Mark and Emma have helped in so many ways, but I think the theme over the past few months has been focus. As an early-stage entrepreneur, there’s a phase you go through where you’re trying everything and seeing what sticks. Then when the company reaches a certain maturation stage where you’ve hit product-market fit, it becomes about focus, especially in the challenging environment we’re in right now.

One of the things Mark challenged me on was growing intentionally and sustainably instead of spreading ourselves too thin by saying “yes” to everything. That resulted in us having more control over the growth of the company and using our capital a lot more efficiently.

Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.

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