You’re gonna need a bigger warehouse.
Justin Baer — founder of Washington, D.C., based menswear brand Collars & Co. — has joined apparel companies Bombas, MTailor, and Kent Compostable Underwear in successfully pitching his wares to the alpha predators on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” The episode, which aired last Friday, saw Baer sealing a million-dollar deal with investors Mark Cuban and Peter Jones, and resulted in a major uptick in traffic (300 percent) and sales (100 percent) on the brand’s website.
The basic premise of the NYU graduate’s collection is his Dress Collar Polo: a woven, stretch fabric, short-sleeved polo shirt with moisture-wicking properties available in a range of collars and patterns that are traditionally associated with dress shirts. Styles include English spread, cutaway, Oxford button-down, etc. The stylish alternative to both a casual polo and a formal dress shirt seems to be a perfect match for modern dress codes: the shirts look comfortable, are easy to clean, and take a necktie nicely. There are currently three long-sleeved styles on the site, as well as sweaters, outerwear, accessories, and a nascent women’s collection.
Besides the Sharks, brand fans include former New York Giant Tiki Barber, and six-time Majors golf champ Sir Nick Faldo is its global ambassador.
With all this attention, we had a few questions for Baer:
MR: Did Cuban or Jones give you any advice that had an immediate impact on your sales (as demonstrated by the 100% increase in website traffic), or was it more about the exposure from being on the show?
Justin Baer: Mark and Peter have been awesome. They are in touch and always extremely responsive. I’ve gone back and forth with Mark on email some nights until 1:00 am. We’ve had a 400% increase in traffic since the show aired.
MR: What are your short-term plans now that you have investors?
JB: We definitely focused on growth and customer acquisition. We needed the investment to expand our inventory as well as try some new marketing initiatives.
MR: Where do you go from here?
JB: I think we’ll become an omnichannel brand. We’re going to be testing wholesale in some select retailers in Q4 and Q1 of next year and at the same time looking into brick-and-mortar. To get our feet wet, we’re going to have a pop-up shop in Tysons Galleria Mall starting November 20th.
MR: What about growing the collection? What are the first pieces you’ll add?
JB: We just launched some incredible outwear pieces that have been a big hit. In addition, we added some belts to the site. The biggest launch though that is outside the box is our women’s line. Women are making up 20% of web traffic, and we were getting a ton of emails asking when a women’s version would be out. As soon as we found out the Shark Tank air date, we scrambled to get it live on the site.