Colony-based business owner strikes deal for ‘Shark Tank’

COLONIE — Tracy Slocum, founder of Colonie-based blanket and apparel company Pretty Rugged, made her debut on Friday night on the popular reality TV show Shark Tank, where she successfully secured a deal from two of the celebrity investors.

The business owner faced the investor panel known as the Sharks in the episode, which aired Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC. Slocum raised $200,000 from sharks Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner for a 25 percent stake in their company, which makes waterproof and windproof blankets and other durable garments.

Since launching in 2017, Pretty Rugged has grown into a multi-million dollar company, selling more than 30,000 units of its flagship product. The 48-year-old entrepreneur ended her elevator pitch by finding $200,000 for a 10% stake in the company.

Slocum told the story of her great-great-grandfather, Captain Joshua Slocum, the first man to circumnavigate the world alone in a sailboat, which inspired her to create her product. “His pioneering spirit is sewn into everything I do,” she said.

Investors have been very impressed with Slocum’s background and the company’s sales, which they say have already reached 715,000 this year and nearly 3 million over its lifetime. Despite an 80 percent retail profit margin and 70 percent wholesale profit margin, Slocum told investors it only netted $32,000 last year — a number that caused confusion and hesitation among investors.

“The inefficiencies are crazy because your margins are what they are, even your wholesale margins are good,” said Gasthai Emme Grede, co-founder of Good American alongside Khloe Kardashian.

Slocum said the net gains were due to supply chain issues, high tariffs from China, where the products are made, and the cost of trade shows, which they say could cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. This year alone, Slocum said, the company is attending 20 shows.

“I need someone to help me, I know I’m not doing everything right,” Slocum said, emphasizing her skills in selling the product and her willingness to learn more effective financial planning strategies.

Grede, Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary turned down offers, leaving the fate of the women-run company to Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner.

“Your margins are fantastic, you obviously did a great job on sourcing,” Greiner said. “Robert and I love you and the product so we thought he could help you with the financial side of things and I could help you with the sales and marketing side and we’d make a good team here.”

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