Pandaloon entered the Shark Tank with its panda-centric apparel and accessories ranging from pet costumes to backpacks to slippers. A majority of its business focuses on items for pets. In fact, its panda dog costume set earned the status of an Amazon Choice on the online retailer.
We interviewed founder Eugenia Chen, who, when asked why she is so enamored with the furry creatures, replied, “I began selling panda items because they were a cute niche, but I’ve grown to love them more and more.”
She launched in late 2013 from a “little bedroom,” and is now making six-figures in sales, with 90 percent of it attributed to her pet products.
Here’s what else she told us about…
How the Idea Came About
I ran a panda-themed online boutique, specializing in cute animal-themed apparel for people and some products for pets. I made a Halloween costume for my little panda pup at home and shared a video on Facebook, just for fun. That week, the video went viral and began accumulating millions of views. Today, it has received over 160 million views through a few different uploads. People started emailing me through my store and asking to buy my costume. I hired a local seamstress to help me create a pattern and went to work finding a sewing company that could make my design to share the panda fun.
Her Advice to ‘Tank’ Contestants
I would encourage contestants to reach a reasonable level of sales and to create systems to make their business attractive to the Sharks, even if they run a small business, like mine. Then, I would encourage contestants to think about their unique advantages in terms of sharing a pitch that is fun and engaging enough for a national TV show.
Plans for the Future
I hope to extend my Pandaloon Panda Puppy and Friends costume line to a wider variety of adorable walking teddy bear costumes. I’m excited to continue striving to innovate and create designs that are versatile and engineered well. I’d love to pair up costumes for pet parents and their pups.