The Lapel Project

The Lapel Project

Company: The Lapel Project

Founder: Sebastian Garcia

Season: Appeared on season 8 in the week two episode

The Lapel Project turns any suit jacket into a tuxedo with their unique, customizable lapels and accessories. Some of their existing collections include sparkly New Year’s Best, colorful Tribal Hipster and festive holiday themes, such as vintage reindeer and patterned Santa. They also offer dapper wedding and prom options, in addition to lapel/bow tie sets.

When Garcia originally appeared on “Shark Tank,” he came in asking for $150,000 for 20 percent equity. The sharks had their concerns, including Robert Herjavec seeing the products as gag gifts. Mark Cuban was the first and only shark to make an offer, which was quickly accepted after fashion guru Daymond John and QVC Queen Lori Greiner went out. Ultimately, Garcia left the tank with a $150,000 deal from Cuban at a 30 percent equity stake.

Garcia spoke with Business 2 Community about The Lapel Project’s experience on the show and what their next steps are. Take a look at the Q&A below:

Q&A with The Lapel Project’s Founder Sebastian Garcia

What was your strategy for navigating “Shark Tank”?

To communicate clearly with enthusiasm and passion something that I have been living and believing in for over 10 years in a matter of three minutes. After that, it was open waters!

How has The Lapel Project changed since the episode was first recorded? Since it aired?

After we recorded, we immediately began working with Mark Cuban’s team. They diligently helped us become a fully functional online store. They prepared us for the influx of traffic and demand prior to airing.

After airing, his team continues to help us gather information and adapt to our monthly analytics. We also have begun hiring, which is the most important.

Is there anything you would have changed about your time spent in the tank, including your pitch and valuation?

I would’ve loved to walk out with all the Sharks! Tough to say what I would’ve changed. Maybe what I thought I could’ve done better is what Mark liked.

Who’s your favorite shark?

Mark Cuban, not because he funded us but because he is a down to earth guy with great vision and passion for what he believes in.

Do you think “Shark Tank” was the right move for your business?

It was the perfect wave! It is very hard to sell something that has never existed before. It’s not the newest vacuum that weighs -3 pounds and cleans itself. Creating something that fills a major need that has no predecessors is very fulfilling and exciting in theory. But before you can even sell one unit you need to educate then inform your audience you exist.

For major players, this may seem simple but when your just a young entrepreneur working seven days a week with other responsibilities on a shoestring budget, things aren’t so easy. With “Shark Tank,” we were blessed enough to do both on a major scale.

What are The Lapel Project’s next steps?

We are creating a wedding and special event line that will be all the buzz this upcoming wedding season! Grooms and groomsmen will have so much more options!

Where do you see the customized fashion accessory industry in 5-10 years?

With the increase of social media outlets, self-expression is sure to follow. Everyone wants to have a sense of self style. We do this not so much by the actual base garment we wear but more so of how and what we combine with it and add to it. And if you can help consumers do that in an accessible, stylish way that gives them a sense of uniqueness, you will be ahead of the game.

What would you say to people who want to start their own business?

If you are not 100 percent committed and determined think twice. There are no guarantees in life. And yes, life is not fair. But if you have relentless passion and work ethic and are not easily dissuaded by constant obstacles then, by all means, jump and don’t look back. There is nothing more rewarding.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to make it on “Shark Tank”?

It can happen! But by no means judge yourself or your business by their response. Even the most weathered investor can have a bad day and make a wrong decision. Look at all the Sharks that didn’t invest with me.

Anything else you’d like to add?

When you’re genuinely good to people and you work towards clear goals, you can accomplish anything.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length


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