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My Journey to Shark Tank

By Alexandra Ulmer

It’s been 3 months since we aired on Shark Tank’s 15th season and I’m finally taking a moment to spill the tea behind the whole process and experience. Well, within the confine's of ABC's NDA. First, a quick backstory. Since 2019, I’d been building a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business alone while raising my daughter during the pandemic. And although I had extensive experience in knitwear product creation and a game-changing original product, I had virtually no marketing budget or experience with digital marketing. 


Today I’m sharing what inspired me to apply for Shark Tank, the run up to filming and what it was actually like in the tank. One fated day last summer, I entered a simple online entry form that would change the course of my company forever. So, what prompted me to not only consider Shark Tank as a viable option but also to actually apply?

Two people: the first I had never met. Karen Travis emailed me immediately following my quick presentation on Fox & Friends in December of 2022. She was impressed with my presentation and the uniqueness of AU Baby’s product and was amazed I was doing it all alone. This random Karen took the time to email me at length about how she could see a Shark loving me! Funnily enough, this really planted a seed in my brain! Earlier that day I had just witnessed the power of TV: a 45 second appearance that led to over $20k in sales. I needed to find a way to get on TV in a bigger way…but how?

The next person who inspired me was my friend, neighbor and my daughter’s pediatric dentist, Dr. Staci Whitman. She had just gone on Shark Tank Season 14 with Happi Floss, the world’s first truly compostable flosser. If someone I personally knew who lived a stone’s throw from my home could swim with the Sharks, maybe I could too?

But how did you get on the show?!

The day after my backyard hang with Dr. Staci, I submitted a simple online form to apply for Shark Tank’s 15th season. That’s it! A few months later, when I had virtually forgotten about the application, I got a call from a casting agent asking me to send over some product samples. What I love about the people behind the show is that they really care about the quality of the product! I sent her 3 blankets, including one embroidered with her daughter’s name (at my insistence.) 

Over the course of the next 6-9 months, there was a lot of paperwork, waiting and more waiting. I hoped for the best but realistically, the odds of actually getting accepted was a total moonshot. Meanwhile, my day to day experience as a stay-at-home mompreneur to a two year old was...absolutely insane. 

One notable highlight (lowlight?) was submitting my brand video while iced in at home ALONE with my 2 year old during a catasrophic snowstorm. No school, no childcare, just me teaching myself how to edit using Premier Pro and sharing my enthusiasm behind creating the world's first high-performing luxury baby blanket.

After all those months practicing and refining my pitch, humming the theme song while strutting around my office and DREAMING BIG…what seemed like such a lofty probability became my reality when I walked down the walkway into the tank.

Feed her to the Sharks!

On June 18th, 2023, (which happened to be Father's Day), I was the last entrepreneur to step into the tank. What happened next,'ll have to watch the episode! From building a brand rom my home office completely solo to standing in front of Mark, Kevin, Lori, Robert and guest Shark Emma Grede, It would be another 7 months before I found out that our episode would actually see the light of day. And what an incredible moment that was! 


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