Sonnet James is a apparel company founded by a single mother from Palo Alto, CA, that makes clothes for mothers that are flexible enough to play with their children in, take a meeting in, or even have a date night in. According to the entrepreneur, women are tired of either wearing yoga pants or paying dry cleaners to remove grass stains from better clothes. Sonnet James hopes to find a spot solidly in between the two.
The entrepreneur presented with a slick video and narration that was what many of the dotcoms in Palo Alto would like to achieve but rarely do as well.
Lori commented that the quality, stretch, and shape of the apparel all appeared to be extremely high.
The entrepreneur stated that she is a self-taught, single mother of two who learned to sew and build a website to make the kind of clothes she imagined her mother would wear if her mother had played with her as a child.
Each piece of apparel is manufactured in California for $34 per unit and sells for an average of $138 per unit. The entrepreneur stated that the average order is two items of clothing and that 43% of customers return for another purchase. In addition, Sonnet James has a return rate of only 23% against an industry average of 30%.
The company has existed for five years and gained initial traction with the help of an influential mom-blogger who wrote about the apparel and helped her get one hundred and fifty orders overnight. In the first year, the company grossed $84,000. In the previous year, Sonnet James grossed $1,200,000. However, the company only returns a net profit of $100,000 after paying the entrepreneur a $70,000 yearly salary.
A company with the mission of making it easier for mothers to play with their kids. Palo Alto, CA.
This deal appeared in Episode 10.11.
Making a Deal
When pushed on the value placed on the business by Mr. Wonderful, Mark pushed back, stating that he he felt the $1,400,000 value was fair even though Kevin stated the company only makes $100,000 in profit.
Guest shark Sara Blakely initially seemed wary of investing, stating that she still believed the 23% return rate to be high considering the "democratic fit" of the clothes. However, after having heard the entrepreneurs story, she offers the entrepreneur exactly what was being asked for, $350,000 for 25% equity in the business.
- The entrepreneur stated that her relationship with her mother was fraught with abuse and addiction as a child.
- Presumably, "democratic fit" is an even kinder term for the euphemism "forgiving"...