Everyone loves to tie their shoelaces in different patterns and colors, but all of that can take up a lot of time and hassle. Children or adults, every person loves to customize their shoelaces according to the outfit they are wearing, their sneakers, or simply their mood for the day.
U-Lace is a line of elastic tie-free shoelaces. The founder and creator of this product, Tim Talley, had one thing in mind while designing the product: the feasibility of the users.
Tim Talley has an engineering degree from the University of Rochester, and an MBA as well. He came up with the idea of the U-Lace in Japan and his product was an instant bestseller in the country.
He had no connections in the industry and zero retail distribution in the USA. He made his way to the Sharks to make a partnership and help him penetrate the American market.
The U-Laces are simple to use. They have a slip-on functionality with a push-and-pull-through design. One end of the lace is pushed through the eyelet and then pulled back so that it locks in place, and then the other end is pushed through the opposite eyelet and pulled to secure the lace.
They are really unique and have no plastics or silicones incorporated in the laces. U-Lace uses woven techniques to create its laces.
They are a fashion statement as they come in an assortment of colors and designs, as well as available in packs of ombre gradient colors or multi-colors.
The U-Lace comes in 3 sizes for adults: classic for wide eyelet spacing, slims for medium eyelet spacing, and shorts for narrow eyelet spacing. They are also available for kids in size U-Lace kiddos.
They pop in and out easily, which means that you can change their color and pattern whenever you like.
The laces are elastic in nature and they can easily span the distance between two opposite eyelets or can be stretched to twist around each other and make complex patterns. The stretchable elastic also makes it super easy to kick on or kick off the shoes. Once the laces are set in place, they never need to be taken off or tied again.
U-Lace is still an active and thriving company with an active social media presence. The product is sold on Amazon and in retail stores.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Telly arrived on the show in 2010 after already selling 100,000 units. He was looking for an investment from the Sharks for the mass distribution of his products. He wanted $200,000 for a 25% equity.
He started his pitch by saying that an average American kid owns over 10 pairs of sneakers, and the reason they have so many sneakers is that they need a variety to express their style. Telly goes on to reveal that U-Lace can quickly, easily, and inexpensively be customized time and again. This can transform a limited amount of sneakers into a million different customized sneakers.
He tells the Sharks that his product, U-Lace, makes all of this possible. They are elastic shoelace inserts that enable its user to lace multiple colors and patterns into their sneakers.
He then proceeds to give all of the Sharks a pair of sneakers customized with U-lace. To Robert, Telly gives sneakers with laces customized with the colors of his home city. He gives Lori sneakers with fashionable metallic U-Lace. Kevin’s sneakers’ laces are of his country colors, high school colors for Daymond, and Mark’s sneakers have U-Lace in Dallas Mavericks’ colors.
Telly announced that U-Lace are available in school colors, team colors, country colors, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Telly informed the Sharks that his product has won awards and already has the market’s attention, and also a global distribution. All he needs now is a strategic partner.
Telly reveals that he has already sold $300,000 worth of products in his first year of production in Japan, but then the countrywas struck by a great tsunami which caused the loss of his producer.
He then moved to the USA and started selling larger packs at a price of $7.99 each. Later he realized that the smaller packaging at a lower price sold more rapidly.
Lori Greiner was the first Shark to back out. She likes the idea but found the tabs attached to the laces to be a bit uncomfortable.
Robert was next to go. The reason was that he felt he was inexperienced to help Telly with his business.
Daymond was a large influence in the fashion industry, but he explained that he had recently partnered with another brand and partnership with U-Lace would cause conflicts, hence he offered no investments as well.
Kevin O’Leary gave Telly an offer of $200,000 for a 50% share, but Telly replied that he will give only 35%.
Mark Cuban jumped in and accepted Telly’s offer, and both of them sealed the deal of a $200K investment for 35% equity.
Our Review of U-Lace
U-Lace elastic shoelaces have great quality; they never feel stretched or that they would break easily. They are easy to insert into the eyelets of shoes and provide a comfortable grip that is not too tight.
Pros of U-Lace
- Useful and easy-to-useshoelaces for children and adults with disabilities
- Lots of different colors available
- Three different sizes for adults and a separate size for kids
Cons of U-Lace
- A little expensive as compared to other no-tie laces on the market.
- They can be a bit uncomfortable if the user is not wearing socks or if the shoes are too tight.
Who Is U-Lace For?
U-Lace is particularly popular among teenagers and young adults who are always wondering how did another person get a specific pattern or color of laces. With over 40 colors and tons of different patterns of laces available, a person can customize their shoelaces in a variety of ways and designs. It is only a blessing for the creative minds who want something unique for their sneakers or Vans every day.
Are there Any Alternatives?
- Diagonal One Elastic Shoe Laces
- Lock Laces – Elastic No-Tie Shoe Laces
- Nathan, Elastic No-Tie Shoe Laces
Our Final Thoughts
There are a lot of mixed reviews for this product on Amazon. Mostly it is loved by people and used by them for a very long time. The economic aspects and availability of colors and designs make it a favorite among its users.