Schuyler Ellers didn’t get a bite on the TV show ‘Shark Tank,’ but he walked away with some great advice
Schuyler Ellers didn’t get want he wanted from Shark Tank on May 8 — but he just might have gotten what he needed.
Instead of the $100,000 and the 10% shark partner he asked for, the Nevada City resident walked away with plenty of advice and invaluable international TV exposure for his Lord von Schmitt line of flamboyant crocheted clothing.
“We sold great over the weekend,” said Ellers, who has an exclusive online store on Etsy — http://www.etsy.com/shop/LordvonSchmitt. In an interview last week he happily announced, “I’m now debt free!”
“Sales shot through the roof,” confirmed Ellers’ father Richard Ellers, a Nevada City attorney.
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By all measures, other than not getting a shark investor to bite, Ellers’ appearance on the popular ABC reality TV show was a success.
After making a showman-like pitch wearing one of his colorful full-length tailcoats, Ellers yelled, “Hit it!”
Five professional models — three men and two women — strutted into the tank wearing recycled, repurposed thrift-store blankets.
Ellers creates one-of-a-kind articles of clothing out of crocheted Afghan blankets he finds in secondhand shops. By cutting the blankets up and precisely sewing them back together to exploit the patterns in the fabric, he designs stunningly beautiful, unique clothes.
The sharks were clearly delighted and impressed with Ellers’ presentation. They enthusiastically tried on sample garments he passed out.
“They jumped into it, put it on and danced,” Ellers said. “It was lovely.”
After words of high praise and sincere encouragement, however, one by one, all five sharks echoed those fatal words, “I’m out.”
Before he delivered the bad news, however, shark Mark Cuban gave Ellers some career-shifting advice:
“These are basically works of art you put your heart and soul into. Why not charge more?” Cuban asked.
“You should have no piece that costs less than $250,” Cuban stressed. “Sixty to eighty bucks is just a piece of clothing. Be an artist!”
WORKS OF ART
To prove his point, afterward, Cuban paid $1,000 to buy the pants he had tried on during the show, reported Richard Ellers.
Ellers had originally made those pants for his mother Marci Ellers, but she had told him to take the pants to the show taping in Los Angeles for good luck, Richard Ellers said.
Immediately after his appearance in the tank, Ellers told the camera, “The piece of advice I took away from that was that I’m selling myself too cheap and that I’m an artist.”
“That was great to hear that from them. That gave me the power to do it myself,” he said. In a previous interview with The Union, before the show aired, he revealed he had begun raising prices as a result of his being on the show.
Although the show was recorded last September, it wasn’t broadcast until May 8. Prior to the broadcast, Ellers was under a strict non-disclosure agreement not to reveal what happened.
“It was top secret,” said DeeDee Brownell. “He did not tell me and I did not ask.”
Brownell is a professional seamstress who has sewn hundreds of crocheted shorts for the Lord von Schmitt clothing line. She has also been Ellers’ shipping and handling assistant since 2015.
“We’ve had about 60 orders since the show, Brownell said, “Schuyler and I piled boxes in our cars and took them to the post office.”
“We’ve also gotten really nice messages” about the show, and “orders are still trickling in,” she added.
Ellers admitted he would have liked a $100,000 investment, but his father said May 14, “We knew. We knew he wasn’t going to get the money.”
Other than that, Schuyler Ellers’ appearance on Shark Tank was a “spectacular,” success, Richard Ellers said.
The proud father then affirmed, “What you saw on TV was exactly who Schuyler is. He wasn’t pretending to be anybody else. We knew Schuyler was always going to march to his own drummer.”
Tom Durkin is a staff writer with The Union.
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