Cedarburg entrepreneur Adam Butlein appeared on an episode of ABC hit show “Shark Tank” on Sunday to seek investment from its successful business moguls.
Butlein presented New York-based social enterprise clothing retailer Uniform with co-founder Chid Liberty. The pair sought $300,000 in exchange for 10 percent of the business from moguls Daymond John, chief executive officer of clothing brand FUBU, QVC personality Lori Greiner, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Skinnygirl founder Bethenny Frankel, and Canadian software entrepreneur Robert Herjavec.
Uniform makes men’s and women’s clothing lines that are sold online and in retailers including Bloomingdale’s. For every item sold, the company donates a school uniform to a child in the African countries where its products are manufactured.
“To put it simply, Uniform is an ethical clothing company, but our story goes so much deeper,” Liberty said. “Uniform is a streetwear brand on a mission. We’re out to reshape the fashion industry with minimalist hip-hop infused designs that are 100 percent made in Africa.”
Liberty and Butlein, best friends who grew up in Milwaukee together, initially launched an Africa-based clothing manufacturer called Liberty & Justice in 2010.
“I’m from Liberia. I was interested in providing jobs to women after the (Second Liberian Civil War),” Liberty told the sharks. “Adam is my best friend, we do everything together. He’s a Jewish boy from Milwaukee, but he’s like, ‘Bro, I’m coming with you.’”
But that business was devastated by the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia in 2014. It is now the parent company of Uniform.
“We have spent years working with the best producers in countries like Egypt, Ghana and Liberia,” Butlein said. “Literally from dirt to shirt, we engineer luxury quality staples like our amazingly soft T-shirts to our best-selling women’s jumpsuit and bomber jacket.”
Researchers at MIT have found school attendance among children in Kenya improved by as much as 62 percent when they received school uniforms, and for every three girls who received a uniform, two delayed their first pregnancies, he said. Read the full story here.