SandiLake Clothing Enters the ‘Shark Tank’: A Look Inside the Company

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SandiLake Clothing that sells shirts, leggings and hats for hip kids (and adults), entered the Shark Tank in Season 8. The unique line boasts bestsellers which designs like “The Elk,” “Stay Wild,” “Let’s Go Outside,” and “#Merica.”

We interviewed owner and mom Melissa Lay, who started the company after noticing a lack of diverse clothing options for kids. The Portland-based company just opened its first store a few months ago and is looking to expand its product line. Lay said she hopes to one day partner with retailers like Baby Gap and Nordstrom.

Here’s what else she told us about…

How the Idea Came About

I was a stay-at-home mom with two little girls, and had the hardest time finding clothes for them that fit my vibe. Everything was covered in princesses and sparkles! Boy clothes have the same problem, but it’s blue, trucks and superheroes. We are always outside or on our little boat, and I wanted them to wear clothes that reflect our lifestyle. I had a bit of design background, so I bought a screen printer. Using YouTube videos, I learned the trade of making shirts. Etsy was the first platform we promoted our items on, and we made back the original investment in three months.

Her ‘Tank’ Experience

I applied for Shark Tank on a whim on their website. I received a callback about six months later…The moments leading up to my pitch were frightening ones for sure. I didn’t want to say any of my facts wrong, or cry in front of them! SandiLake is like one of my children, I love it and wanted to portray it in the correct way!

How She Balances Motherhood With Running a Business

My little girls are the blood/inspiration that flows within this company. Every day is different, and I have a ton of help. We make sure that they come first, which means a lot of late nights working after they are asleep. Being a mom is a fun job and so is being your own boss. I’m not willing to give up both!

Support From the City of Portland

Owning a small business in Portland is just incredible. The support is unlike any other, and our community loves shopping local and shopping small!

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