When co-founders Bryan Deluca and Matt McClard won a $250,000 investment from Mark Cuban and guest shark Troy Carter, also known as Lady Gaga's former manager, earlier this month, some of the most pivotal moments from their time in the tank never aired on TV, according to Deluca. What's so special about socks? In Silicon Valley, flamboyantly designed socks--like those sold by Foot Cardigan--are worn as a badge of honor demonstrating you're a member of the startup world that eschews the traditional suit-and-tie uniform, The New York Times reports.
Though Foot Cardigan received offers from four out of five sharks--and subscriptions doubled from about 7,000 to nearly 14,000 in just the first week following the episode, according to Deluca--their pitch was not the slam dunk that viewers saw on TV. Here are three moments from Foot Cardigan's time in the tank that wound up on the cutting-room floor.
1. The co-founders almost let their deal slip away.
Going into the tank, Deluca and McClard were hoping to win an investment from Cuban and Carter, Deluca says. Cuban is easily the most sought-after shark and lives in Dallas, where the three-year-old company is based, while Carter has established himself as a visionary investor, having backed startups Dropbox, Spotify, Warby Parker, and Uber.
When Cuban and Carter made their offer, the co-founders delayed accepting, a move that has cost many entrepreneurs in the tank a deal. "There was a bit of hesitancy on our parts when that actually happened, because we were so in shock," Deluca says. "I paused for a long time because I'm pretty sure I blacked out."
2. Daymond John took issue with their manufacturing process.
Foot Cardigan manufactures its socks in China and Turkey, a fact that Daymond John criticized during a long conversation that never made TV, according to Deluca. The fashion mogul told the co-founders they should be making their product in the U.S.
Though Deluca and McClard originally tried to establish manufacturing domestically, they weren't able to find affordable pricing, Deluca says. "We would love to, [but] it's just not financially viable," he says, adding that this could change as the company grows. "We're getting close to a point where we could now come back and find some really good pricing in the States."
3. Foot Cardigan plans to expand beyond just socks.
Toward the end of their pitch, Deluca and McClard shared plans to expand their product offering to include shoes, an ambitious decision that could sound the alarm with any potential investor. Though the company is already developing shoes in connection with some of the factories that produce Toms Shoes, whether Foot Cardigan actually ends up diversifying into footwear remains to be seen.
"If we get the samples back and they look like crap, no one will ever see them," Deluca says. "It's not one of those things that we're going to force just because we want to do it."
Despite these hiccups, Foot Cardigan's appearance on Shark Tank arguably couldn't have produced better results. Before appearing on the show, the co-founders were projecting $1.5 million in annual revenue for 2015. Just a week later, Deluca says, the "Shark Tank effect" revised that projection to between $2 million and $2.5 million.