Entrepreneur and Plutonium chemist Erica Cole appeared on Shark Tank season 13 to pitch for her adaptive clothing business, No Limbits. Erica was working towards her dream when an accident turned her upside down. She went from using apps for space rovers to altering her clothing to accommodate her prosthetic. Soon, she realized many like her were looking for alternative clothing options, so she started No Limbits.
She asked the Sharks for $100,000 for 6% equity stakes in her business, and the Sharks were ready to place bets.
What Is No Limbits?
No Limbits is a need-based and adaptive clothing line that facilitates dressing for disabled individuals, amputees, and people suffering from sensory processing disorders. The designs use reinforced patches to combat wear and tear caused by carbon fiber friction used in the construction of prosthetics.
Entrepreneur Erica Cole took to Shark Tank season 13 to lock a deal with a Shark for her adaptive clothing line, No Limbits. She opened her pitch by revealing that more than 14 million people struggle to dress because of physical disabilities. The fashion market hasn’t come up with a mainstream solution for them yet, so people continue to struggle with a lack of functional clothing for their unique needs.
Erica explained that her adaptive and accessible clothing is meant to spark confidence in her customers, make them feel comfortable, and help them retain their independence. While demonstrating the functionality of her zipper pants, she revealed her leg prosthetic, which gave the Sharks a pause. Erica didn’t stop to acknowledge their reaction and continued to explain how her pants could withstand the friction caused by the carbon fiber and mechanical parts of prosthetics. She added that the design of her pants accounts for the bulk of all prosthetic sockets to avoid occasional wear and tear.
The enthusiastic entrepreneur finally addressed the elephant in the room and revealed that she had an accident in 2018 which resulted in an amputation. She was about to start as a Plutonium chemist at Los Alamos National Lab, a job she dearly wanted, when the calamity befell her. She couldn’t continue with her work even after recovery; she couldn’t dress the way everyone else was dressing and didn’t have many clothing options to choose from. Additionally, she had to dress down to her undergarments to make the smallest prosthetic adjustments. Erica decided to make adaptive clothing herself, which snowballed into a business as more people with the same challenges contacted her for their needs.
To make her clothing line inclusive, Erica added sensory and wheelchair adaptive clothes to her collection. Erica asked the Sharks if they were willing to help people with no limits, and they replied with appreciative applause!
Lori complimented Erica on her business model and asked about the products she had on display in front of them. Erica showcased her adaptive denim pants for the wheelchair-bound individuals and amputees, exciting guest Shark Emma Grede. Her wheelchair pants had a seamless back, side pockets, and a zipper running the length on the side. Emma inquired about the function of reinforced patches in her amputee line, and Erica supplied that it helps prevent tears in pants. She further explained that she had fashioned non-irritating and cool touch clothes for people with sensory processing disorders with a non-aggravated material developed by her team. In answer to Emma’s query, Erica revealed that her manufacturers were based in Bangladesh.
Robert was curious about the market and the scalability of the business, and Erica’s answer shocked him. She revealed the total addressable market of her venture was 2.6 billion dollars, and Emma attested to her claims as she had already done work in the field. She told the other Sharks that SKIMS sponsored Paralympics earlier the same year, so they had to research for accessible undergarments and shapewear. She then turned to Erica and asked her about the technical aspect of her business and what set her apart from her competitors. Erica quickly elaborated that they don’t have much competition and that, considering the functional purpose of adaptive clothing, it’s much easier to get them patented. No Limbits was in the process of patenting the inseam zipper up to the thigh with the help of an attorney who did the patent job for Nike.
Robert wanted to know what was so different about their inseam zipper, and surely there might be others in the market. Erica explained that No Limbits inseam zippers were hidden, concealing the adaptive design of the clothes. Robert then inquired about the cost of manufacturing and profit margins, and Erica’s numbers were promising. Once again, the Sharks turned to Emma for guidance, and she revealed the price was in the middle of the market and nothing outrageous.
Kevin asked about her marketing strategy and how she was advertising her business. Erica revealed that No Limbits mainly acquired customers through social media ads, costing her $14 per customer acquisition. She was excited to advance into health care centers and clinics and get in touch with people dealing with her audience regularly and professionally. Recalling her accident, Erica shared that although she lost her dream job, she believes that the accident happened to her for a reason, and with No Limbits, she was answering her true calling.
Emma added that the hallmark of fashion is never to compromise on style for inclusivity, which is why she pushes for optionality instead of concessions. She liked that No Limbits was embodying that spirit and making fashion accessible and diversified. Still, she wanted to know the numbers. Erica told her that she did $26,000 on her sewing machine, selling only the adaptive pants. Later, she made $41,000 in advance sale of amputee pants, the only thing they’ve put on sale in the market. Mark interjected and asked about the source of the sales, and Erica replied that half of No Limbits sales were to individuals and the rest were purchases made on behalf of Veterans Affairs; she had sold them 500 units in phase one and had a letter of intent for $100,000 in Minnesota for phase two. She added there was also the promise of scaling to nationals, and the Sharks congratulated her for scoring big.
Mark asked how she approached the VA, and Erica answered that it was the other way around; they approached her.
Emma announced that it was a no-brainer that she would be interested in the deal, so she asked Mark if he wanted to propose a joint offer to which Mark agreed. They offered Erica $100,000 for 12% equity stakes against her 6% ask, and she countered with 10%, and the deal was sealed.
Erica Cole left the Shark Tank season 13 stage with a joint deal with Emma Grede and Mark Cuban.
Our Review of No Limbits
No Limbits certainly has room for tremendous scalability, and with their patent approved, they’ll be leading the niche market for adaptive clothing. We think Mark Cuban and Emma Grede are the perfect partners for Erica Cole, who have the expertise she needs and appreciate the value she brings to the business. No Limbits is an accessible solution to a decades-old problem and can make a difference in the lives of many disabled individuals.
Pros of No Limbits
- Reinforced patched
- Need-based design
- Inseam zipper
- Adaptive and accessible
Cons of No Limbits
- Limited production
- Not available nationwide
Who Is No Limbits for?
No Limbits is for disabled individuals, amputees, and patients with sensory processing disorders. Anyone who is wheelchair-bound finds themselves adjusting their prosthetic multiple times a day and feels irritated by their clothing can use No Limbits for an adaptive and non-aggravating experience.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Our Final Thoughts
No Limbits is a scalable business despite its niche market, and if handled carefully, it can facilitate the lives of disabled individuals across borders. Erica Cole has a clear vision for her business and knows what she needs to do to reach her target audience. With Mark and Emma on her team, her business is bound to accelerate to impossible heights.