Convincing a child to take a bath after playing is hard. But what if they could bring their playtime to the bathtub? SoapSox has adorable plush toys with soap pockets, so your kids can also use them to wash themselves. Founders Alvin Uy and Ray Philips pitched the business on Shark Tank but didn’t get a deal. As of 2023, SoapSox is worth $6.2 million.
About the Founders
Alvin Uy and Ray Philips are both fathers who grew up in the same area in Los Angeles, California. Ray graduated from the University of California. Alvin studied art at three schools: California State Polytechnic University, Platt College, and ArtCenter College of Design.
Not much is known about Ray’s early career, except for the fact that he worked at a child treatment facility. However, his business partner was quite busy. Alvin started as a senior art director at TLR & Associates.
He later became the creative director of DZN-AGI Media and Insight Creative Group, Inc. As a businessman, he founded Vinjen Realty, Vinjen Capital, and AARK Investments.
Founding the Company
At Ray’s job, there was a kid that refused to bathe for days. Philips asked why he did this, and the child said it was because he couldn’t take his stuffed toy with him in the bath. So, Ray made a plush toy that could hold soap to get the kid to wash up.
It worked, and he was convinced that this could help other parents with his invention. He partnered with Alvin because he needed someone to help him with the product design.
They launched SoapSox in 2013 with seven toy designs. The duo ran a Kickstarter campaign that raised $52,000 from 624 backers. Six months later, they did $300,000 in sales and inked a deal with Nordstrom.
Shark Tank Appearance
Despite being new to the market, SoapSox already had impressive sales. Alvin and Ray appeared on season six of Shark Tank, asking for $260,000 for 10% equity. After making their introduction, they gave each Shark a SoapSox animal that symbolized their personalities. Sadly, the Sharks were surprised at the hefty margins of the toys.
Daymond John offered $260,000 for 33%, but the entrepreneurs didn’t want to give away too much equity. That’s why they also turned down Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec’s offer of $1 million to buy the entire company.
After Shark Tank
Despite not getting a deal, Alvin and Ray turned to crowdfunding to raise money. In 2020, they raised over $1 million on StartEngine at a $6.2 million valuation.
SoapSox currently makes around $2.5 million in annual revenue. Some websites such as GoBankingRanking estimate their annual sales to be $8 million but there are no sources to verify this.
In 2016, they scored a licensing deal with Disney and Paw Patrol, which let them make plush toys of TV characters that kids adore. They are available on SoapSoxKids.com, Walmart, ToysRUs, Amazon, and 50 Nordstrom US stores.
Many SoapSox toys have 4 to 5-star reviews on Amazon. Children and parents love them and SoapSox is continuing to see steady growth. The Sharks will regret not offering slightly more money to buy them out.