Diana and Josh Harbour had a vision of running a company together. A big part of the inspiration behind the idea was the fact that when she was growing up, Diana was the daughter of business owners. She understood the hard work and dedication required to run a business.
During her college years, Diana took every possible opportunity to explore boutiques and the fashion industry. Coming from a family without much money, Diana always dreamed of being able to afford the elegant outfits she saw in magazines. She couldn’t afford them, but she could sketch them and work on designing her own.
After college, Diana married Josh, and the two of them worked in cubicle jobs. She felt her dream of owning a business slipping away over time. Her greatest fear was to be stuck in a cubicle for the rest of her life. So Diana and Josh took a considerable risk, selling their home in Columbus, GA. They spent their life savings on their dream and opened their first store in a small, 1,000 square foot space in Athens, GA. They didn’t even have their own home in Athens; they only had the store – for an entire year, they slept on air mattresses at friends’ houses.
In the early days, the couple would work 65-70 hours a week on average. It was nerve-wracking, but the freedom of it pushed them forward. There was no boss; they had to hold themselves accountable.
Diana saw a hole in the women’s clothing market. It seemed like, based on her own life experience, if you wanted to look beautiful, you’d have to pay a lot. Red Dress Boutique was designed to change that reality. She wanted women to be able to look and feel good in a beautiful dress; she knew how important that was. It’s one of the reasons she would write thank you notes in all the orders, something that continues today. The clothing is affordable and high quality.
Red Dress Boutique on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 6 Episode 5
The couple approached the sharks dressed nicely and with smiles on their faces. Next to them was a lovely display of some of their Red Dress merchandise. They get right down to business, pitching their deal immediately.
Diana and Josh are looking for $600,000 for a 5% stake in the company. This is met with scoffs from a lot of the Sharks. Many of the offers they get are usually asking for about half as much money and offering a lot more than 5% in the company.
The couple describes the company and how it is one of the quickest growing companies in the women’s clothing market. Diana gets a little flustered initially during the speech, understandable since most people get a bit of anxiety knowing they are on camera. Regardless, she laughs it off and continues the pitch.
There are two women modeling a few dresses beside the couple. The pitch is an interesting one because after revealing the numbers they’re looking for, most of the Sharks appear uninterested. But first, they reveal that the dresses mostly retail under $50. That piques the interest of a few Sharks. Next, the couple gives each Shark some sample merchandise; they all seem pretty happy about that. The packaging appears good; things are looking up.
This is when the first significant question is asked. It is the question that can sometimes knock people off balance while presenting their company. “What were your sales last year?”
Well, unlike many contestants on Shark Tank, the Red Dress Boutique owners have a great answer to that question. Josh has a smirk on his face when he answers that, last year, the company did $8 million in gross sales. This was the home run; upon revealing this information, it seemed very likely that the couple wouldn’t be leaving that room without a deal.
There was some debate and deliberation, as there always is. The Sharks wanted to know what the couple needed the money for. Diana explained that customers were always complaining about their website and how difficult it was to use. She knew they needed a whole new platform, and all the estimates she was getting told her it would cost around $300,000.
The episode ends with Robert and Mark both going in on a deal, pledging $1.2 million to the company, twice as much as they requested.
Life After Shark Tank
Although both Robert and Mark said they would invest during the show, things often don’t go according to plan, especially in accordance with what is seen on the show. Robert ended up rescinding his offer, and so the couple received $600,000 from Mark Cuban.
There was some butting of heads between the Harbours and Cuban. He believed that the investment in the website was unnecessary. He felt like if they took that $250-300k and reinvested it in the company in other ways, it would make for a better payoff. Being that he was only a minority owner in the company after his investment, the final call was Diana’s and Josh’s to make.
Diana fought hard, and she ended up convincing them that the investment in the website would turn out to be the best choice. Especially considering that the company is online only. While this was going on, the company continued to grow, bringing in $15 million in revenue the following year after appearing on Shark Tank.
It took a long time and a lot of consideration, but after two years, Diana finally decided on a platform where they could make their new website. They used Shopify; it suits all of their needs.
The website investment has turned out to be a great idea; you can go check out the website here. It would be difficult for you to find anyone claiming that this website is hard to use or confusing. The site runs fast and can handle all of the web traffic they get, and there is a lot of it.
The couple was featured on the spinoff show Beyond The Tank, where they revealed further success with the company. Cuban is definitely glad he decided to invest in Red Dress Boutique.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Red Dress Boutique, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.