After experiencing first-hand the challenges of parenting, real-life couple Duc and Lisa Nguyen created Baubles and Soles, a footwear brand for children. They provide shoes with interchangeable baubles that allow the wearer to make them look different every time. As of 2022, Baubles and Soles is valued at $1 million.
About the Founders
Lisa T.D. Nguyen is originally from Vietnam. She fled her homeland with her mother and lived in a refugee camp for three years. They settled in Australia, where Lisa studied law at the University of Sydney.
Duc is a native of Montreal, Canada and he relocated to the US to get a film degree. This helped him launch his first business venture, a wedding video production firm.
Around this time, Lisa was in the Philippines, helping other refugees with legal cases. When she was hired to become the Executive Director of a non-government organization called VOICE, she eventually moved to Washington, DC. There, she met the love of her life.
Establishing the Company
Eventually, Lisa and Duc got married and had kids. They got tired of shopping for children’s shoes that they would outgrow in a few months. This gave them the idea to make shoes that didn’t have to be replaced every time.
Mr. and Mrs. Nguyen created a footwear design that was slip-resistant, easily washable and had interchangeable baubles. Buyers only needed to buy one base shoe that could be paired up with 20 different baubles.
To swiftly and conveniently alter the shoe’s look, these bauble attachments can be simply clicked into the shoe’s forefoot. In 2017, they officially launched their business and made $150,000. The following year, they ran into some inventory problems, so they sought professional help.
Shark Tank Pitch
In 2019, Lisa and Duc approached the tank in search of a partner who would invest $100,000 in return for 15% of their company. They were seeking someone who could give them a better market understanding to expand their reach.
The Sharks admired their company’s product, narrative, and valuation because they were honest. However, given that they operate in an extremely competitive market, most of the show’s investors weren’t confident the business could be profitable in the long run.
The wife-husband duo was fortunate to receive an offer from Daymond John that they could not refuse. He offered $100,000 for 25%. It wasn’t far from the initial request, so the couple said yes.
After Shark Tank
Daymond John turned out to be the partner they needed. He helped Baubles and Soles reach other parts of the country. Consequently, product sales rapidly rose.
In the year they went to Shark Tank, the Nguyen’s expected to make $300,000 in sales. It remains unclear whether they achieved that milestone. Fast forward to 2022, and the children’s shoe company hasn’t been a huge success but is making enough money to get by.
The business does stand out in a difficult market, but its current growth rate may not be what the founders were expecting in the beginning. Its annual revenue is $200,000, and the company is worth $1 million.