Frill Clothing, a fashion company that specializes in custom making clothing for sorority recruitment and bridesmaids, entered the Shark Tank in Season 6. We spoke with Sharon Bui, Co-Ceo and Director of Marketing and Sorority Relations, in time for their episode’s re-airing on July 10. She estimated that Frill has grown 300 to 400 percent since they left the Tank with a deal from Barbara and Kevin.
Bui started the business with Kate Steadman, who she has known since the third grade. Although they did not attend the same college- Bui was at NC State and Steadman at Appalachian State- they had an internship together and stayed in touch.
As a member of Chi Omega, Bui saw the need for a cheaper, but fashionable alternative to the outfits she had to purchase for her sorority’s recruitment process. With Steadman, she started the company in 2012, while they were both juniors in college. Balancing the business and their school was “really difficult,” she said.
The company experienced a massive surge in attention after a picture of their coral skirt- which was designed for Bui’s Chi O sisters- went viral. “We would get hundreds of emails and phone calls while we were in class,” she explained. As a result of that exposure, they saw a demand for their products from brides-to-be, and began a bridal line in January of 2013. To date, their most popular bridesmaid dress color is still coral.
Being a part of a sorority has undoubtedly helped Bui in running her business. “You understand the customer and their needs and wants. You also understand their everyday problems. It’s really funny how much you can relate to them,” she said. Her Chi Omega sisters have supported her from the start, and for that she is extremely grateful. The company likes to give back to the sororities they work with as well. Since each chapter has a philanthropy they support, Frill helps them in fundraising by giving back to their charities with each skirt they order.
In the Tank, Robert, Barbara and Kevin all gave them offers, which shocked Bui. “I didn’t think everybody would fight over us like that,” she said. As far as Barbara and Kevin’s present-day involvement goes, Bui said, “They are as involved as we want them to be. We talk to their liaisons about every two weeks. As far as them themselves, we have to schedule phone calls with them because they’re celebrities, so they’re booked for the next two months. But we have their personal emails, so we can shoot them emails. Like today’s Kevin’s birthday, so we shot him an email.”