We interviewed the husband-and-wife team behind the business, Michael and Laura Dweck. The couple combined his background in operations and management and her background in fashion to launch the Create-a-Drawer service. It allows customers to choose up to 19 basics including socks, underwear, tees and joggers normally at a $120 cost, for just $60.
Since the entire collection is designed and developed in house, and they’re not selling at retailers, but shipping directly to clients, they are able to keep costs down.
The company is based in New York City, which the couple says contributes to their success. “It’s New York and your office and home will be a shoebox, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” Michael said. “There is so much going on in New York City and we thrive on it! New York allows Laura and I to evoke our creativity! My mother’s cooking also helps keep us here.”
As for their future plans, Michael explained that a women’s line is in the works. “The number one request we get from customers is to create a women’s collection for Basic Outfitters. We plan on rolling out a women’s collection in the near future.”
Here’s what else they told us about…
How the Idea for the Company Came About
Laura: When Michael and I first got married, we moved into a cozy apartment in New York City, which as you know, is infamous for a tiny amount of closet space. Having a fashion background and a love affair with clothes, I took over five out of six of our dresser drawers and left one for Michael for his socks and underwear. When the drawer wouldn’t close, I told Michael it was time to trash anything he hadn’t worn in over six months, which turned out to be most of his basics.
Michael: I had a hard time letting go, but in the end I was excited about the idea of starting fresh. That was until I realized how frustrating it would be to find high quality and affordable basics that I could buy in bulk without burning a paycheck. I knew there had to be a better way. We started doing some research and came across this really nasty statistic- on average men keep their underwear for seven years. We were both horrified and at the same time excited that we found a problem that we knew we could solve. With my background in operations and management and Laura’s background in fashion, it was a no brainer. That’s when we started Basic Outfitters. We set out to launch our brand of high quality basics at affordable prices. Our main focus was to make it as easy as possible to refill everything at once so we launched the Create-a-Drawer service.
Entering the ‘Tank’ Through a ‘Generic’ Email Address
Michael: So many people who heard about Basic Outfitters and our Create-a-Drawer service would say, “You guys should go on Shark Tank!” So one day in March, we sent a cold email to a generic casting email address.
Laura: We were out to dinner one night in May and Michael got a phone call from an unknown number in LA and it was Shark Tank! We freaked out, had a glass of wine and began the long process of getting onto the show.
Michael: When we first started Basic Outfitters, we knew we were onto something big because we were addressing a real need and creating an incredible solution. We intend to grow this business tremendously, and we knew that getting onto Shark Tank would fast track that growth.
Nerves Throughout the Process
Laura: I was incredibly nervous during the process leading up to the actual filming. I was a madwoman – practicing our pitch nonstop, studying and rehearsing our answers, I drove Michael crazy. Luckily when we got there, the nerves went away and we were able to be more relaxed going into the Tank.
Michael: The Shark Tank experience has been a long and grueling process. By the time we reached the Tank, I had worked through my nerves and felt cool as a cucumber! They didn’t intimidate me.
Pros & Cons to Working With Their Spouse
Laura: One of the best aspects for me regarding working with my husband is that we are building an empire together. We are an amazing team because we are really good at different things, which provides the perfect balance to our business. Plus I get to look at this handsome face every day! The challenges come with sharing all the same worries and trying to turn off our work talk when we get home.
Michael: That is such a great question! When you’re a husband-and-wife team, you know and understand your partner’s priorities on a much deeper level. When I leave work early to get some things done at home, Laura understands and carries the weight at the office and vice versa. We are both working towards the same goals for our futures and ourselves. The cons are the pressure we face and bringing them to the home front. We have such a strong marriage; we know our relationship can withstand the pressures of business.