Local entrepreneurs, Steven Mazur and Eric Huang, found success on last night’s episode of ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. The duo’s Detroit-based clothing company secured an investment from Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, for their line of premium shirts designed for shorter men.
Mazur (5’6”) and Huang (5’8”) are vertically challenged themselves, and pointed out that while both petite and plus-sized options are prevalent for women, only big and tall lines exist for men. That leaves a large portion of the male population struggling for clothes that fit properly.
The pair founded Ash & Anvil back in 2015, and released their first products early in 2016. The idea was born out of a desire to work together on a venture of their own, and frustration about a mutually shared problem they wanted to solve.
Mazur and Huang got their first big break with they participated in an intense 3-month immersion in the first-ever Venture for America (VFA) accelerator program in Philadelphia. Through that process they were given time, lodging and mentors to rapidly turn Ash & Anvil from a concept into a functioning entity.
With no background in the fashion industry, the ambitious duo started their clothing line with casual button-down shirts that would fit perfectly right off the rack. The response was very positive, so the company now produces jeans, dress shirts, and flannels, all designed for men who are 5’8’ and under.
With a steadily increasing bevy of customers, it seems they may be onto something with broad potential, so they decided to pitch their idea to Shark Tank.
On last night’s episode of the popular entrepreneur-based show, the two got their chance to pitch their idea to moguls, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary, and Mark Cuban. They explained the niche they were looking to fill and noted sales of more than $130,000, having sold out twice. Keeping inventory in stock is a significant challenge, for which they needed investment dollars to in order to eliminate that problem.
Three “sharks” opted out, leaving Cuban and O’Leary to battle for a deal. Cuban was the first shark to make an offer, and threatened that they needed to accept before O’Leary made an offer. They hesitated, and O’Leary offered a $100K investment for 15 percent of the company, after which Cuban backtracked on his offer.
They eventually got Cuban to come back to the table and secured a deal of $150,000 for 25 percent of the company.
“Next time you get a yes take it,” Cuban advised, adding, “You’re lucky I like you.”