America is hailed as the land of opportunities, which is why Danh Tran made the move to pursue his dreams. He founded Buttercloth, a fashion line for comfortable dress shirts. Along with his trusted business partner Gary Falkenberg, Dahn swam with the Sharks and got a deal with Robert Herjavec. As of 2023, Buttercloth is worth an estimated $5 million.
Danh Tran’s Background
Danh Tran grew up in Vietnam, where he worked in his family’s tailor shop at a young age. Although against his parent’s wishes, he relocated to Los Angeles and studied fashion at Otis College of Art and Design.
To fund his studies, he designed Barbie doll dresses for the toy company Mattel. After graduating, Tran was hired as an associate designer at 7 For All Mankind and then became the head designer at Hause of Howe.
He spent two years at the apparel company before bringing his talents to Affliction Clothing. Dahn started there in 2009 as the head designer of men’s wear, and held the position for over a decade.
From Tailor Shop to the Shark Tank
Like most professionals, Tran always had to wear dress shirts to work and hated wearing them. He made it his mission to make dress shirts more comfortable and left his comfortable job to start a clothing brand.
Tran used up his 401k retirement money to finance his startup. Gary Falkenberg linked up with him through a friend and became the marketing guy. He closely observed Dahn design his 6-way stretch fabric and grow the business.
Buttercloth was launched in 2017 and of their first customers was former NBA star Metta Sandiford-Artest, who became their brand ambassador. The basketballer played a big role in driving sales and the business generated $500,000 in seven months.
A Memorable Shark Tank Pitch
The clothing startup caught the eye of Shark Tank producers and invited him to apply for season 10 of the show. Danh Tran and Gary Falkenberg didn’t pass up on the opportunity, they came in seeking to raise $250,000 for a 10% stake.
NBA legend Charles Barkley was a guest Shark in the episode. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as the founders brought in Metta Sandiford-Artest and demonstrated how easy it was to dunk wearing Buttercloth.
After finishing their intro and telling their story, they started getting down to business. Four Sharks dropped out as the clothing business is cutthroat. Robert Herjavec had a spot for Danh Tran and offered $250,000 for 25%. Danh happily accepted the offer and gave a memorable reaction to the offer.
Growing Sales: Buttercloth’s Continued Success
A year after their episode aired, Buttercloth was featured on a Shark Tank update segment. Danh revealed the company made $3 million in seven months after the show and sold 30,000 shirts! The deal with Robert closed and he was so proud of what the company has achieved.
Herjavec’s background is mainly in tech so he took a big gamble on Tran and thankfully it paid off. With Robert’s help, the startup introduced new designs and collections. They have collections for Herjavec, Jay Leno and Van Gogh! You can find their products on Amazon and Buttercloth.com.
Their comfy dress shirts have a 4.9-star average rating from 8,021 reviews. In 2019, it was reported that their annual sales hit $6 million. In 2023, their annual revenue should be around the same figure. Now, the fashion brand’s valuation stands at $5 million.