Here's What Went Down With SilkRoll After Shark Tank

Sometimes, "Shark Tank" pitches exceed expectations and entrepreneurs land deals with the sharks. Other times, the pitches go completely off the rails, and this was the case with SilkRoll, which appeared on the show in March 2019. Co-founders Janet Wu and Erin Wold pitched that their company would function as both an online clothing swap and consignment store, where people can mail in unused clothing, gain points for these garments, and use their points to acquire other pieces of clothing from SilkRoll's extensive inventory. Non-member clients would also have the option of buying the clothing with cash rather than points. 

We've seen other eco-conscious clothing retailers pitch on "Shark Tank." Mark Cuban invested in Retold Recycling, so that brand had a success story out of the show. The clothing brand Pashko also had a sustainability angle, though the founder left "Shark Tank" with no deal. When it came to SilkRoll, however, the sharks were absolutely ruthless with the two entrepreneurs. This isn't to say that SilkRoll wasn't a clever idea. However their business model, along with their evaluation, left many of the sharks perplexed. Not only did Wu and Wold leave without a deal, they also received a pretty tough assessment of their business.

What happened to SilkRoll on Shark Tank?

Entrepreneurs Janet Wu and Erin Wold appeared on "Shark Tank" hoping to secure a $250,000 investment in exchange for 3% of their business. If this estimation seems curiously high to you, you're not alone. The sharks were immediately turned off by such drastic numbers, and felt that Wu and Wold's evaluation was way off. This means that they valued their company at $8.3 million. The entrepreneurs pitched SilkRoll as a more equitable option for sellers than typical consignment stores, and explained that consignors got a point system to keep shopping and enjoying the option of swapping clothes. They also noted that people paid a membership fee to use their service, which contributes to revenue. 

Part of the problem that the sharks saw was that SilkRoll was confusing. Many of the sharks felt that the point system in SilkRoll, called Qs, was overly complicated and didn't actually make the business any money. Customers do pay a 5% transaction fee, but the sharks still felt like it wasn't enough, particularly in light of their high evaluation of the brand. Robert Herjavec was particularly confused by this system. Wu and Wold tried to express to the sharks that they weren't operating a traditional business, but this caused the sharks to grow even more wary. When Wu said that it was a very special business, the sharks laughed. That was made even more awkward by the fact that the entrepreneurs shared the revenue in the first year was just $35,000. The sharks just couldn't match the actual revenue with SilkRoll's evaluation, and so every single shark pulled out, some more harshly than others.

SilkRoll survived its Shark Tank rejection

As you might expect, SilkRoll walked away with nothing after their "Shark Tank" pitch. But unfortunately, following their appearance, the business owners faced more than just the rejection. In fact, people online were pretty savage towards the entrepreneurs after watching the sharks tear them apart. "35k net profit and asking 250k for 3% , thank you next," one person commented on a YouTube recap of the episode. Speaking of Kevin O'Leary, another person wrote, "Walking in with them numbers and that evaluation almost gave Kevin a heart attack." Someone else couldn't get over their evaluation. "I remember back when people would willingly give up 50 percent. Now people are stingy about 5 percent smh," they wrote.

Despite the scathing commentary from sharks and fans alike, Janet Wu and Erin Wold continued to work on SilkRoll. As of January 2024, the company is as active as ever. Per the website, they have a healthy inventory of clothing with sizes and styles for all shoppers. They have an active Instagram presence, with over 5,000 followers, and continue to promote sales and new arrivals. If anything, the "Shark Tank" pitch brought them a lot of attention, though certainly no deal. And hey, attention certainly is something! 

SilkRoll is still in business despite being shunned by Shark Tank

SilkRoll continues to thrive, and its name has begun to dominate fashion resale markets. According to the brand's website, sites ranging from HuffPost to Nylon to NBC news have all covered SilkRoll. The brand has also gotten a lot of attention because of its founder, Janet Wu. Production company Bone + Gold interviewed Wu because of her continued and innovative work with her brand. Things are booming for the company. According to their website, from January 2023 to January 2024, they saved 19,711 pounds of textile waste from going unused. They also saved 7,490,068 gallons of water, by reselling clothes rather than having that supply met through new clothing. Those are some great numbers for the environment! 

Part of the brand's success comes from their lively social media presence. On Instagram, they post frequent updates and offer looks that are current with holidays. For example, they share looks that are fitting for winter or Valentines Day, and also curate outfits of the day to give customers inspiration. There's no shortage of posts, and it's a clever, engaging way to bring customers to their website.

What's next for SilkRoll and its co-founders?

Janet Wu, the founder of SilkRoll, is still very much involved in the company. According to her LinkedIn page, she's working as the co-founder and CEO of the business. However, she's also expanded her ventures. As of April 2020, Wu is also a co-founder for the Women's Investment Club, a network that's geared towards helping young women achieve their financial goals. As for Erin Wold, who appeared alongside Wu on "Shark Tank," it appears she has moved on from SilkRoll. On LinkedIn, she's listed as one of the company's co-founders and the Head of People and Operations. However, her profile notes that she left SilkRoll in October 2019, and has since become the Managing Director of The Job Sauce. She also now works in Chicago.

Despite the tough reception that SilkRoll had on "Shark Tank," the brand still makes mention of its time on the reality show by including the "Shark Tank" logo on its website. So while things didn't take off in terms of landing a shark, it certainly improved the brand's visibility and gave it some healthy exposure.