Sand Cloud entered the Shark Tank in Season 8 with their boho beach towels and blankets with a philanthropic component. Ten percent of each sale goes to nonprofits dedicated to the preservation of marine life.
We interviewed co-founder Steven Ford who started the company with his college friend Bruno Aschimanini and coworker Brandon Leibel. He informed us that sales were over $1 million last year.
As of now, the items, which are made from 100 percent Turkish cotton, are available on their website, but they hope to enter into retailers like Urban Outfitters, Free People and Anthropologie.
Here’s what else he told us about…
The Idea & How the Team Formed
Brandon and I originally had the idea for a pillow towel. Bruno was one of the first ones to buy the towel and that’s when he came in and we took this idea to Kickstarter for our original round of funding. Brandon and I met at San Diego State University. Working our first corporate job, we met Bruno and that’s how the team was formed. We quit our corporate jobs, moved in together to a two-bedroom, ate rice and beans every day, drove Uber and sold our cars to survive.
Their Philanthropic Mission & Ambassador Program
Giving back to marine life is at the core of everything we do. We donate 10 percent of net profits to our nonprofit partners. One of our main partners, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, goes out and rescues seals days away from death that get washed up on the beach, and nurse them back to health to release back in the oceans…Anyone who supports our mission of saving marine life and giving back can become an ambassador. A majority of our ambassadors are millennials that share our ambition to #savethefishies. Our ambassadors are our community. They help share our mission through social media, come out for beach clean-ups, etcetera.
Watching ‘Every Episode Ever Made’ of the ‘Tank’ Beforehand
We’re huge fans of the show and it’s always been a dream to make it on! We’ve applied every year since starting, this year we were lucky to make it on…We watched every episode ever made before actually going on! There were definitely nerves going in; it was surreal being on set with all the cameras in front of the Sharks. Once we started, the nerves went away and everything we’ve been practicing made us feel like the cameras went away.
Plans for the Future
Our goal is to make a difference with marine life. We want to expand to be a global brand that is helping influence the way our oceans are taken care of. We’re going to bring out more high quality products that our ambassadors will love! Keep an eye out for another water bottle, tapestries and blankets.