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Saunders College alumni slated for ‘Shark Tank’

Two alumni of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business are pitching their business next week on the ABC show "Shark Tank." The show airs Feb. 24 at 9 p.m.

Nathan Coleman and James Brooks, both in the class of 2009, are pitching a harem-style pants apparel line to help save elephants. 

“The amount of exposure for our company to be on national television in front of 10 million people, and the advice and support we got from the sharks was invaluable,” Brooks said in a statement. “All we can say is to viewers is to expect some surprises.”

The Elephant Pants, the duo’s product line, was inspired by a trip to Thailand in 2013.

“We have a lifelong love for elephants and donate 10 percent of all net proceeds to charitable organizations dedicated to protect and save elephants,” Coleman said in a statement. “When we visited a sanctuary in Thailand and witnessed the conditions elephants live in, we realized the outlook is grim. Based on their population decline the past two decades, elephants can be extinct by 2025.”

A year later they launched a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign led to an e-commerce retail success consisting of 2016 earnings of $4.5 million, Brooks said.  

The Brooklyn-based firm employs 10 to 12 full- and part-time contractors.

The partners applied for “Shark Tank” in 2015.

“We made it through a couple of rounds, and then they told us we weren’t a good fit for that season,” Brooks said. “We were surprised when we got a call back to submit more material and ended up taping the episode last September.”

Follow Kerry Feltner on Twitter: @KerryFeltner

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.



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