The Natural grip was founded by Ashley Drake, who wanted to create CrossFit training ‘gloves’ that could be worn by athletes to enhance their grip strength.
The product is essentially a wrap that allows individuals to protect their hands from bars and dumbbells, which can prevent calluses from developing.
Although many people enjoy training without gloves, the CrossFit community prefers wearing gloves because they protect them from injuries to their hands.
Each product is custom-made, which means they use your hand measurements to find the right product for you.
The straps are made from zinc oxide cotton tape, offering excellent gripping strength while being extremely durable.
Athletes are advised to tape their wrists after wearing the grips, minimizing the risk of slippage.
You can also choose from a variety of colors to find one that’s in alignment with your style.
Many of the generic hand protection gloves on the market cannot compare to this product because they are made poorly and do not provide an excellent grip, which is the whole point of these products.
Natural Grip products are tailor-made to perfection and promise a more optimal training experience for CrossFit athletes.
Ashley appeared on Shark Tank in hopes of receiving funding for her gripping products so she could expand her business and make the straps or gloves more readily available to the general public.
She entered seeking 100,000 USD for a 20% stake in her company, which isn’t too much of an investment to deter the sharks if they like the product and see its utility.
After demonstrating some compound lifts in front of the sharks, she showcased her product’s immense gripping prowess and started handing out samples so the sharks could test out the product for themselves.
The sharks asked some questions about the product and about how it differs from others in the market, and Ashley provided compelling answers that legitimized her business.
She went on to tell the sharks that she had made 178,000 USD in sales the previous year and gave information about her patent.
The profit margin is quite high since each strap costs 4.32 USD to make but sells for 17 USD.
The sharks aren’t enthusiastic about the business and don’t see its potential, leading to Lori and Kevin opting out of making an offer.
Eventually, after some negotiations and counteroffers, Ashley settled on 125,000 USD for a 25% stake in her company by Robert.
Our Review of The Natural Grip
The Natural Grip has been fairly successful after receiving funding from Robert and has managed to expand its business to cater exclusively to the CrossFit community.
The brand has been popular due to the product’s effectiveness, which enhances your grip and can be used in various ways for all kinds of training methods.
The company is selling its products on Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and other stores that specialize in selling fitness products across the United States.
The Olympics have also recognized the efficiency of The Natural Grip products and incorporated the straps in their summer games.
After gaining exposure from Shark Tank, The Natural Grip skyrocketed their sales until, eventually, the hype went away, and sales dropped.
The company ceased its operations in 2018, and Ashley currently works at UPS as an engineering supervisor.
The company was evaluated at 500,000 USD by the time it appeared on Shark Tank, but the current net worth is unknown since The Natural Grip went out of business.
Pros of The Natural Grip
Some of the pros of The Natural Grip are listed below.
- The Natural Grip gloves or straps provide athletes with extra grip that they can use to improve their lifts.
- Athletes can use the straps to protect their hands from becoming calloused and injured.
- The products aren’t that expensive compared to others in the market and can be afforded by most people.
Cons of The Natural Grip
Some of the cons of The Natural Grip are listed below.
- The Natural Grip caters exclusively to the CrossFit community, which is a pretty niche market that is not inclusive to other fitness communities.
- Many people don’t like wearing protective hand gear because it leaves their hands soft and delicate.
- The company could not successfully capture the fitness market, leading to its ceasing its operations entirely.
Who is Natural Grip For?
The Natural Grip is for CrossFit athletes who like to wear protective hand gear during their workouts.
It caters to a minority of people, mostly beginners, who don’t understand the utility of having calloused hands.
However, other fitness athletes may also see the utility of this product for some of their compound lifts, which could lead them to buy the gloves for themselves.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are numerous options for protective hand gear that can be chosen by avid gym-goers who are looking to protect their hands from getting damaged during their workouts.
However, most of these products are not tailor-made and quite bulky, which means their gripping ability is inferior to The Natural Grip products.
You can expect to have to search extensively for hand gear you like that serves a purpose in your workouts.
Our Final Thoughts
The Natural Grip had a lot of potential to expand its market and cater to a broad group of people, but it failed due to marketing and manufacturing reasons.
At the end of the day, 17 USD is quite a price to pay for gloves, and many people will choose cheaper alternatives or not invest in gloves at all.
The company was limited to a single product that was its main selling point, and once people lost interest, the company went out of business.
Ashley should have predicted it could have gone down this route and made more of an effort to create products that could be used by the greater fitness community.
However, there’s no denying that it would have been very popular if the product had caught on.
Most people who go to the gym don’t want to carry too many things, and The Natural Grip products can be a burden to carry.