Sand Cloud: Beach Towels

SEASON 8 EPISODE 18

PITCH

stylish Turkish beach towels with an environmental cause

ENTREPRENEUR

Branon Leibel and Bruno Aschidamini

ASKED FOR

$200,000 for 8%

GOT

$200,000 for 15%

SHARK

Robert Herjavec

STATUS

IN BUSINESS

Company Background

What is Sand Cloud?

Sand Cloud is a charitable lifestyle company best known for its colourful handmade Turkish beach towels. The company’s products include towels, shirts and accessories which are sold through an online platform, enabling customers to find and buy towels and accessories online that promote marine life conservation.

Who Founded Sand Cloud?

Sand Cloud was founded in San Diego, California, by three friends with a passion for the ocean. In 2013, Steven Ford and Brandon Leibel took jobs at a local San Diego call center where they would meet their future business partner and lifelong friend, Bruno Aschidamini. The three own the company.

Founder’s Story

In 2013, Bruno Aschidamini, Steven Ford, and Brandon Leibel were living in San Diego selling life insurance and dreaming of quitting their corporate jobs. Ford and Leibel met as college roommates and then met Aschidamini at the life insurance call center after they graduated. The motivation behind creating SandCloud was to help people take better naps at the beach.

To start out, they didn’t call their company SandCloud. Instead, it was called Cloud Nine. They ordered several beach towels and travel pillows before taking them to a local seamstress to sew the pillows to the towels. Bruno bought the first one, and they sold others to their friends and family but were barely breaking even.

Challenges

Frustrated that they weren’t getting anywhere, they gave up on the business. Brandon and Bruno quit the call center by April of 2014. Brandon was driving for Uber and learning to play guitar. Bruno went to Thailand for a few months before starting a life insurance brokerage from home. They met up at the beach and Aschidamini brought up their former company and suggested a better name for the product, which rekindled interest in the business.

The three of them moved into a two-bedroom place with a loft, two of them sold their cars, while Leibel kept his to drive for Uber, and lived on rice and beans to live as cheaply as possible. They raised $5,000 from their families and maxed out their credit cards to the point where they stopped getting approved.

Turning Over a New Sheet

In 2015, Sand Cloud went to the Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida to try and sell their pillow towels. Nobody was interested in what they were trying to sell but kept asking about the towel decorated with a mandala hidden in the corner of the booth. A buyer from the company Quicksilver placed an order for $20,000 worth of pillow-free mandala towels. By the end of 2015, Sand Cloud had $4320,000 in sales.

Sand Cloud Shark Tank Update

Did SandCloud Get a Deal on Shark Tank?

In late February of 2017, Bruno Aschidamini, Steven Ford, and Brandon Leibel appeared on Shark Tank to pitch SandCloud. The Sharks were impressed with Sandcloud’s sales as they had $2.4 million in sales for 2016.

Robert ended up investing $200,000 for 15% of the business and helping with its explosive growth.

Is SandCloud Still in Business?

As of 2019, SandCloud saw $20 million in sales, and they now sell everything from drinkware, bags, clothing, and many other accessories in addition to their towels.

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