Values Partnerships leads a nationwide casting tour for ABC’s Shark Tank, which is focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to the show. In 2017, it’s hosting casting calls across the country, giving diverse entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their businesses and appear on the ninth season of Shark Tank. It will also host pitch prepping sessions, entrepreneurship resources, and discussions on access to capital for entrepreneurs around the country, with the goal of every entrepreneur leaving these events better than when they arrived.
At each stop, Brandon Andrews sits down for a Q&A with entrepreneurs from the casting calls and the organizations that support them. While in Harlem, Andrews sat down with Nude Barre CEO Erin Carpenter.
Brandon Andrews: What’s the Nude Barre Story?
Erin Carpenter: Nude Barre was started based on a series of embarrassing moments I had as a professional dancer and commercial actress. As a teenager, I received scholarships to dance programs like Alvin Ailey, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Princeton Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet. In my professional career, I did various commercials (American Airlines, Nivea, Burlington Coat Factory, etc.) and performed as a Knicks City Dancer. Throughout my time as a dancer, I was always required to bring or have nude/skin toned undergarments and tights in my skin tone shade. There were not any brands making them. So I was forced to dye my tights and undergarments on a weekly basis to stay in uniform. As I spoke to more women from various industries, I soon learned that many women were unhappy with the skin tone options on the market. I was so frustrated by the fact that “nude” was always beige in beauty and fashion. We live in a global world how can “nude” be one color? Ever since, I have been on a mission to change how we view nude. Everyone’s nude is different and why not embrace that. There are many struggles women face with self-esteem, skin tone issues, and body image. Nude Barre allows women to love their skin, shape, and size.
Andrews: How did you find the right shades to use for the product, how do you market to a broad range of customers?
Carpenter: The origin of Nude Barre was during my dance career. During that time I was around diverse women all the time. I started doing surveys, to find out what makeup foundation women wore. Then I started to look at what were the more common shades and then decided on the 12 shades of Nude that Nude Barre now offers.
We market to a broad range of customers by utilizing brand ambassadors and celebrity endorsements. We focus on real women who find this to be a true pain point and want to get behind our mission.
Andrews: What makes your product unique?
Carpenter: Nude Barre is unique in many ways. First, we are the only brand making skin toned hosiery and panty options in 12 shades of nude. We make the most options. Our products are eco-friendly. And the best part is that they are durable enough for active women but stylish and comfortable enough for everyday fashion. These are high-quality garments that you will get several wears out of. Some of our customers say they have had some of their Nude Barre tights for up to two years. We also have a children’s line as well.
Andrews: You pitched at our Harlem casting call, how was the experience? What does the opportunity to be on Shark Tank mean to you?
Carpenter: The experience at the Harlem casting call was great! Everyone’s energy was awesome and noncompetitive, which I loved. In a time when black and brown founders are not getting tons of access to capital, I was really excited to have gotten the invite to this casting.
The opportunity to be on Shark Tank means a lot because every woman needs to know about Nude Barre. As we are redefining the term nude, Shark Tank will give us access to the audience we are excited to reach. And we need the growth capital to take Nude Barre to the next level.
Andrews: How do you plan to grow Nude Barre in 2017?
Carpenter: We are working on some exciting strategic partnerships in 2017. Overall, we are looking to reach more women. To empower women by finding skin tone options that truly represent them.
Visit www.sharktankdiversitytour.com to apply for Season Nine of Shark Tank.