Uniform is an "ethical" streetwear apparel maker that manufactures all of its clothes in Africa and donates school uniforms to needy school-age children.
In 2010, the entrepreneurs behind Uniform began a separate company called Liberty & Justice in Liberia, a clothing factory. However, in 2012, the presence of Ebola shut the factory for over nine months and the company's customers abandoned it because it was unable to deliver on promised orders. The entrepreneurs, looking at the leftover fabric decided to make school uniforms out of it.
According to the entrepreneurs, students who wear uniforms have a 62% increase in school attendance. Additionally, for every three girls who wear a school uniform, two will delay becoming pregnant. The entrepreneurs cited an MIT study that found these facts.
Following this, the entrepreneurs were inspired by the model where a company sold something and gave something away so they started Uniform, a company that makes trendy shirts, jackets, and pants while at the same time giving away school uniforms to children in need.
All of the clothes, including the uniforms are manufactured in Africa in countries including Egypt, Ghana, and Liberia. One of the entrepreneurs described their process as "from dirt to shirt."
In terms of revenue, the entrepreneurs claim that they pre-sold $400,000 through a Kickstarter campaign and $300,000 through Bloomingdales. They claim that their sales would have been higher except that they were only able to sell in Bloomingdales during their Back to School season and that their website only launched in November of the previous year. They claim that 70% of their sales are retail and 30% are online.
Uniform is potentially going to partner with Target in the next year for kids clothes and could expand to as many as 1,300 stores in the children's section but they don't yet have any purchase orders.
Robert dropped out early claiming that he found his previous work in the apparel business to be too difficult and didn't want to do it again. Likewise, Lori cited Umano as a business that she and Mark had invested in on episode nine of Season Seven that went bankrupt before the deal could even be finalized, and therefore was also out. Mark then joined her because he said he has no ability to judge whether clothes are fashionable or not.
Bethenny Frankel also declined to make an offer citing her lack on knowledge in the industry.
In the end, it came down to Daymond John who appeared to be a shoe-in for the deal. He cited his experience with Bombas, a company he invested in back in the first episode of Season Six, as having been a positive one and that they had given away as many as four million pairs of socks per their mission.
Unfortunately, Daymond also said that he was no longer that interested in the retail business and had been working to make all of his own businesses direct to consumer over the internet. In the end, he said that while his number would be available to the entrepreneurs for mentoring and advice, he would not be investing and the entrepreneurs left the tank without a deal.
This deal aired on Episode 10.10.
- Because this was an interesting fact being used to help sell the business, the MIT study was located and can be read here.