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Q and A with our CEO Erica Cole

No Limbits CEO Erica Cole at the taping of Shark Tank. She has long curly black hair and is wearing a green shirt with black pants.

In 2018, Erica Cole’s life changed forever. She was in a car accident that resulted in her left leg being amputated below the knee. When she got her prosthetic, she noticed that pants didn’t fit over it. That’s when our company, No Limbits, was born. Recently, we asked our social media followers to ask Erica questions about the company and her experience being on Shark Tank. 

Q: Who was your ideal partner walking into the tank? 

A: Emma Grede is the queen of denim, so it was absolutely important to me that she loved the product. We are so lucky to have her on board because she has all that apparel expertise. To be honest, I didn’t think that Mark Cuban would be interested. I thought our company would be to small for him, but he’s been an incredible partner this whole time and I’m really lucky to have him on board. 

Q: What steps did you take to get on the show? 

A: We actually launched a Kickstarter in the spring of 2021 and producers of the show found us there. They actually reached out to us and were like “Hey, have you ever thought of being on Shark Tank?” And I was like, “Hah hah, that’s very funny”. But they had the official Shark Tank email so I just followed the process. It was about a 6 month process from beginning to filming, but it was absolutely worth all the time that it took to get on. 

Q: Were you super nervous when the cameras were on? 

A: Absolutely. As soon as you’re walking down the carpet, that’s actually the Sharks first time seeing you and your first time seeing them. I thought Shark Tank was really produced and it kind of wasn’t. That was a genuine first impression moment. But I’d been sitting for 6-7 hours already waiting to film. I feel like all my adrenaline had been used earlier in the day which is why I was surprised at how calmly I was pitching. We also practiced every single question that pretty much has been asked on the show that would apply to our company. So that was really key to coming out of the tank with a deal. 

Q: Were the Sharks intimidating? 

A: Yes. They do a really good job on the show of not making it seem like the Sharks are all talking on top of each other. But when you’re actually in there, all of them are asking questions at the same time and you kind of have to pick who’s question you’re going to answer. It was a lot to try to organize all of that and so I was just really paying a lot of attention to Emma because I knew I wanted a deal with her and any other Sharks who seemed super interested. I had a really good conversation with Robert Herjavec, but a lot of that actually didn’t make it to the episode. It was really cool. I’m a big Robert fan now. But obviously I’m super happy with the Sharks that we did get. 

Q: How long did it take to applying on the show to actually getting on the show? 

A: I don’t know how standard my experience was. But for us, it was 5-6 months from first contact to actually getting on the show. Not everyone who goes to film actually ends up making it on the show. Even if you begin the process, they can cut you at any point and they’re really open and honest about that so we were super lucky to make it through the whole process and get to airing. 

Q: Is it true that the Sharks get a percentage of the company? 

A: Yes. Everything that you see on the show is exactly how it happens. We ended up getting a deal with Mark and Emma and it went down just like it went down on TV. That kind of handshake agreement that you see on the show is actually how it goes and everybody followed through in the way that they said they would. 

Q: Was it hard to give up a percentage of the company? 

A: Yes and no. It’s something you’ve created, but we knew that Mark and Emma would come with so much value that they could grow the company with us a lot faster than I could on my own. I knew that their experience and the amount of value that they bring as partners would be worth way more than the 5% each that they got so I was super stoked to walk out of there only having given up 10% of my company. I honestly thought I was going to have to give up a lot more in order to have a Shark partner. 

Q: What is Mark Cuban like? 

A: He has to be on his phone all the time. I will email him and get a response in like 5 minutes every single time. It’s the coolest thing to get an email back from Mark. I feel like I can’t do anything for the next 5 minutes after I send an email to him knowing that he’s responding to it right then. I’m not sure if he ever sleeps, but I respect him an enormous amount. What he’s doing in the drug industry is phenomenal and something that we all need. 

Q: Have the Sharks acted the same since you made a deal? 

A: My experience with Mark and Emma has been nothing but positive. Both of them are genuinely invested in the company’s success. It really means a lot every time I get a response from them. Emma has been offering us a ton of advice from what it’s like to be in the apparel world and navigating sourcing. Manufacturing is really a challenge right now so I’ve worked with a lot of her team members to learn how they’re doing it and that’s been phenomenal to get that kind of hands on experience with them. 

Q: How have things changed for the company since it’s aired? 

A: We have been investing a lot more into product development and we have more capital to work with. We have more experience to work with so we can take more time and chances in terms of product assortment. We’re dedicating ourselves to serving more people with disabilities, different types of disabilities and different types of products. There’s a lot coming out in the next year so I hope you’ll stay in touch with us for that. One of the biggest things that has changed is our team. We ere only 1 full time person and a couple of part time people when we went into Shark Tank. Now we have 9 team members. It’s super exciting to have everything moving faster and people who are really experienced working with us. The thing that’s really special to me is that our team members are also people with disabilities. So it’s been a really cool opportunity to build the people around this mission that I really want to work with and that’s not an opportunity a lot of people get. I don’t take that for granted at all. It’s going to be a very exciting rest of 2022 and 2023. 

Q: What has been your biggest success so far? 

A: Other than getting a successful deal on Shark Tank, the thing I’m most excited for I actually can’t tell you yet. We have some really exciting retail things coming up this year, so stay tuned for that. This year and next year are going to be incredible. 

 

About the Author: Alicia Woodman is No Limbits’ Community Manager She holds a degree in Communication and Legal Studies from the University of Illinois Springfield and is a former Ms. Wheelchair Illinois USA. Alicia was born with Spina Bifida and a RBKA as of 2020. In her free time, Alicia loves watching the TV show House, shopping and crafting. 

1 comment

  • i left two emails about my order i ordered 38x 32 pants you sent me 42 × 32 i cant use those all i want is my right size i ordered

    Dana a Roy

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