Entrepreneurs Adam Butlein and Chid Liberty wanted to make money while making the world a better place to live. Chid Liberty, being a Liberian native, also wanted to do something to help people in his native land. Adam and Chid wanted to create a brand that fulfilled its CSR responsibility and brought positive change to society. Hence, they created the brand Uniform. Uniform created chic urban wear using Liberian women as their primary labor force.
From every sale they made, they donated school uniforms to African children. The entrepreneurs explained that all children in Africa had to wear uniforms to school. Since many African families could not afford uniforms, over 40% of African children didn’t attend school. The duo strongly believed that if they donated uniforms, they could increase the rate of attendance in African schools.
Their brand Uniform had a wide range of apparel, from T-shirts to dresses and jackets. All products were manufactured according to the certification of the African Fair Trade. Fashion designer and rapper A$ap Ferg also helped the duo design their clothing range. Uniform’s clothing line differs from other brands due to its unique hip-hop undertone. This brand created clothes for both men and women. It has a range of contemporary streetwear clothing, workout clothing, and formal clothing one can wear to work.
The entrepreneurs set up manufacturing facilities in various African countries to create the products. This provided sustainable living to many local communities.
Another positive social impact donating uniforms created was that it reduced the number of pregnancies amongst young girls. Free uniforms made teenage girls go back to school, thus decreasing the pregnancy rate amongst young teens by 66%.
The duo also set up a line called Uniform+1. The ‘plus one’ implied that when you purchase an item from the brand, you also buy a uniform for a child in Africa who cannot afford one.
When Adam and Chid started the brand, they also launched a campaign on Kickstarter. They managed to raise over $230,000 in 2015.
Uniform had grabbed a substantial consumer base online and now wanted to tap the retail market. However, retail requires a steady supply chain. The entrepreneurs required an investor to make the retail transition smooth sailing and ensure a steady supply chain.
The entrepreneurs required a shark’s investment to grow their business and improve their brand’s presence.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Adam Butlein and Chid Liberty arrived on the Shark Tank with their brand Uniform. They appeared in season 10, Episode 10. The duo sought $300,000 for 10% equity in their apparel brand. The sharks liked the concept and appreciated the firm’s CSR efforts.
Robert Herjavec praised the presentation and the entrepreneurs but stated that this initiative was not really for him and backed out.
Lori Greiner also appreciated the duo’s efforts. She stated that she had invested with Mark in Umano, but it didn’t work out as Umano went bankrupt. Lori also stated that the clothing business was hard to enter as it had tough competition. Lori also backed out from investing.
Shark Bethenny Frankel also backed out of a deal.
Mark Cuban praised the mission but expressed how he did not know much about the clothing business. Therefore, he backed out from the deal as well.
Daymond John stated that he had invested in ‘Bombas‘, which taught him how difficult navigating retail was. He offered to mentor the duo but backed out from forming a deal.
Entrepreneurs Butlein and Liberty left without securing a deal from the sharks.
Is Uniform an Active Company?
Uniform is still an active company. This affordable clothing brand sells its products throughout North America, while women in Liberia create them. The entrepreneurs donate a uniform to African children with each clothing item sold. The ethical factories set up in Africa to create apparel also provide jobs for African women.
After appearing on Shark Tank, the popularity of this apparel brand grew. The entrepreneurs also managed to grab great retail deals after their appearance on the show.
When appearing on Shark Tank, Uniform had a net worth of $3 million. In 2022, the company had a net worth of $5 million.
Our Review of Uniform
Pros of Uniform
- The company offers an excellent CSR plan
- Uniform offers a variety of apparel for both men and women
- The apparel items are priced well.
Cons of Uniform
- The brand mostly sells its products online. It is not very active in retail as yet.
Who Is Uniform For?
Anyone who likes chic clothing and follows the latest fashions will be attracted to Uniform. If one also wants to help society and do good, this is a great brand to buy from. If someone feels strongly about helping children in Africa and ensuring they go to school, they can purchase from Uniform.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Ethical clothing stores have become increasingly common in the last few years. This was one of the reasons the Sharks were also reluctant to invest in Uniform.
Many ethical clothing brands support causes throughout the world. These causes range from supporting communities in conflicted, war-torn regions to supporting environmental causes and animal shelters.
Our Final Thoughts
Uniform does have a line of apparel. With its contemporary hip-hop-styled clothing ranges to more formal wear, it has something for everyone. However, retail is highly competitive, and so is the clothing industry. Uniform will need to work hard on its retail setup and promotion strategy.
Uniform’s appearance on Shark Tank has grabbed much consumer attention and given the brand some publicity, which is excellent. Entrepreneurs Adam and Chid should now focus on making the brand accessible to the public.