Any business venture in this economic climate can feel a bit
like jumping into the deep end of a very cold swimming pool. But
for one Chicago momtrepreneur, it's more like a shark tank.
Kim Pries, a Lakeview mom of two and owner of Samson Martin, a
nationally carried line of maternity tees and tanks, will appear on
ABC's "Shark Tank" on Friday, where she will try to convince five
tough-nosed entrepreneurs to help her reinvent her business.
Pries founded Samson Martin maternity wear back in 2003 after
being laid off from her job in magazine ad sales. Though she wasn't
yet pregnant - her boys are now 5 and 18 months - she says the
inspiration came from the question her pregnant friends said they
"Everyone always asks, 'When are you due?'" she says.
Her tees and tanks answer that question with sass and style,
sporting slogans like "Coming this fall" and "Now showing." Since
their launch, Pries' clothes have been featured in People, US
Weekly, Life & Style and Fit Pregnancy, and were named one of
E! News' "Top Ten Must Haves" for celebrity moms-to-to be.
But the recession has hit high-end maternity and baby boutiques
especially hard, Pries says. After a few boom years, during which
her clothes were picked up nationally and internationally, the
market soured. So she decided last summer to take her brand to the
masses, and set her sights on chain stores like Target, JC Penneys
So when her husband urged her to apply for ABC's venture capital
series last summer, she did. She filmed the show in Los Angeles in
October, pitching the investors a share of her company in return
for some investment money and access to their connections in retail
and marketing. While she wasn't spilling any secrets, Pries says
she'll be watching anxiously on Friday to see the edited
"I have a lot more respect now for people who go on reality TV
shows," she says. "It was like a firing squad. On the plane ride
home, I was sitting there thinking, 'What just happened?'"
You can catch Pries' dip in the shark tank Friday, May 13 at 7
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