The Factionist

Nate Berkopec was a New York University business student. His clothing line, The Factionist, was made up of environmentally friendly T-shirts made in Uganda and silk-screened with socially relevant messages, such as “1.75 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. Buy fair-trade.” and “If you don’t, who will?” Nate wanted to make the world a better place through his casual clothing. His target demographic was his own, 16- to 24-year-olds, the “most socially aware generation of our time.” In the six months that Nate had been in business, sales were only $3,000. He had sold the shirts to and through his college friends. He felt the shirts marketed themselves: Pass someone on the street and he’ll come up and ask where you got the shirt. Daymond pointed out that in New York City you could get shot walking up to a stranger.

The Factionist Apparel Shark Tank 2

The lack of sales and an effective marketing strategy were only a couple of the problems the sharks had with The Factionist. Nate’s vision for his business included having the shirts made from organic bamboo, except he didn’t know how much bamboo cost. Mainly, however, Nate did not make the shirts; he only screen-printed them, something anyone could do.

Without a deal, Nate moved right on from The Factionist. He became a developer/programmer, and Barbara hired him—she liked his enthusiasm. It was a great experience for him. Today he owns The Speedshop, a consulting service, and authored The Complete Guide to Rails Performance on maximum web application performance

The Factionist is no longer in business.

Shark Tank Air Date: 1/15/2010 – Season 1 – Episode 12




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