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Buckle Me Baby Coats Catches a Shark

Published Thursday Mar 25, 2021

Author Judi Currie

Dahlia Rizk, founder of Buckle Me Baby Coats, on Shark Tank. Courtesy photo.

The owner and founder of Buckle Me Baby Coats in Windham, Dahlia Rizk, is taking her business to the next level after successfully negotiating a deal on “Shark Tank,” the ABC television show where entrepreneurs seek investment from top national venture capitalists.

Buckle Me Baby Coats produces children’s coats designed to close over the buckles of car seats to ensure children can be safely belted during cold winter months. Coats have sold out every year since Rizk launched the business in 2017, reaching sales of more than 750,000 units in 2020.

Rizk previously won a FedEx small business grant and placed second in a Nationwide Insurance Pitch to Win competition.

She stepped into the Shark Tank in August looking for $100,000 and a strategic partner who could help her eventually sell the business. (The episode aired Dec. 4.)

“If I find a coat company that is as passionate about car seat coats, about keeping the safety aspect and understand it’s not just a gimmick, then I am open to selling the company and letting it move on and really reach more parents; that’s what I’d like to,” she told the sharks.

Shark Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, quizzed Rizk on her cost to produce the coats and spending on advertising and was impressed with her margins. When she revealed that she not only had a utility patent but a foundational patent as well, the entire panel of sharks applauded.

Shark and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran offered $100,000 for a 20% stake. Shark Kevin O’Leary, a venture capitalist, asked for $2 per unit up to $300,000 and 2.5% equity, “because someday you will sell, and I want to participate in the upside and be a partner with you as an alternate to Barbara,” he said.

Shark Daymond John, a fashion and branding expert, said he knows the three people in the space who handle all the kids coats. He told Rizk her best option is a fusion and offered $100,000 for 20% of the traditional business and 30% of all licenses he brings in.

“It doesn’t disrupt your core business,” John explained. “You get to cover both bases; you get to push out a lot of stuff on somebody else’s dollar and market your core business and make money at the same time.”

After a bit of haggling over the share, Rizk ultimately accepted John’s offer. “I am so excited,” Rizk said on air. “It went better than I thought it could possibly go, and I got the shark I was hoping for, and I am super excited to work with Daymond to get so many coats into the hands of so many families.”

Since landing the deal, she and John have been working out the details. “The deals on the show are handshake deals but then you go through due diligence and lengthy discussions,” says Rizk. “He has been wonderful to work with.”

This was the third year she applied to Shark Tank. “I realize now I really wasn’t prepared before, so I’m glad of how it worked out. They were so gracious and lovely and supportive. As a viewer you watch and they sometimes tear people’s business models apart. They all offered great tips and advice.”

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