Meet Desiree Stolar, CMO & Co-Founder, Unshrinkit

Posted by Justine Andrews on Tue, Dec 15, 2015

At one of our MITX Up events earlier this year, Desiree brought her startup, Unshrinkit, to the table for advice and next steps. Over the next couple months, she took that advice and went all the way to Shark Tank! We contacted her and asked her a few post-Shark-Tank questions. 

Desiree has over six years of experience with brand development, consumer insights and marketing consulting.  She loves the Washington Nationals, seafood, clothing, fashion, state parks and movies.  She is a graduate of the MBA program at Harvard Business School. And, she started a business!

Desiree

On November 13, Desiree and Unshrinkit co-founder, Nate Barbera, appeared on Shark Tank. Before that, they participated in a MITX Up hack at the Harvard iLab. Learn more about their experiences!

Q. Tell us a bit about the Shark Tank experience? What was it like?
A. The "Shark Tank experience" is not just a moment or a day.  It is a months-long journey that begins the moment you submit an application.  It means prioritizing legal forms, due diligence documentation, pitch practice, episode review, set design, product enhancements and operational improvements for several months.  A Shark Tank segment airs for about ten minutes.  As a business you want to be as prepared as possible to take advantage of the fantastic platform to accelerate your business' growth. 

Q. How did you get selected for Shark Tank?

A. We applied! There are many casting calls and contests, but we sent in a brief and eye-catching application via email.  With almost 50,000 applications received for season 7, we are grateful that we made it as far as we did.  

Q. Did the MITX Up event you participated in help prepare you for the Shark Tank Experience?

A. Yes, the MITX Up event exceeded my expectations. I sat down with seven mentors, all with different backgrounds, insights and opinions and collectively they helped me think about how to move forward with Unshrinkit. The members, with their previous experiences in marketing, product and technology, helped me understand that there was true value in keeping the name Unshrinkit.  It says what it means!  We were releasing an enhanced version of the product and wondered whether a new name was warranted.  The MITX Up group reminded me that transparency in the digital age is key.  The group was energized and engaged the whole time and I had over four pages of detailed notes to leverage after the hack! I would highly recommend this to other startups! 

Q. Okay, back to Shark Tank, what was the outcome???

A. We went the distance.  We filmed in front of Mark, Daymond, Kevin, Lori and Robert.  We had a fantastic exchange with the sharks and received three offers.  We ultimately accepted Mark Cuban's offer for $150,000 for 15% equity in our company.  

We are thrilled the product was well-received by some famous and tough investors, and that the audience responded so positively.

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Q. What’s next for Unshrinkit?

A. We are working on retail and international distribution, as well as ramping up operations now that all of the founding team has graduated from business school. Shark Tank is an amazing publicity machine, but we have to stay focused on the daily efforts involved in making this a successful venture.  It helps that we enjoy working with each other and unshrinking beloved, but shrunken wool garments!

Topics: MITX Up, WomenLeaders, Innovation, start-up