SEASON 4 EPISODE 14
the original barefoot shoe company
Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix
$400,000 for 8%
What is Xero Shoes?
Xero Shoes by Feel Good Inc, is the original barefootwear company that produces lightweight sandals and shoes for recreation. The Xero Shoes brand focuses on creating minimalist shoes with a natural fit, feel and function that emulates barefoot mobility.
Who Owns Xero Shoes?
Xero Shoes was founded by Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix. The husband and wife team are life-long entrepreneurs with several achievements in various disciplines under their belts. Today, Xero Shoes is run by Steven as CEO, with Lena as the CFO and majority stake owner.
Founder’s Story: How Did They Start?
At the age of 45, Steven decided it was time to get back into sprinting. He was an avid sprinter in his youth, but lately had been experiencing constant injuries. A friend of his suggested that he try barefoot running and gave him a copy of the best-selling book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
Steven was so impressed by the feeling of having his bare feet on the ground and the change in his gait, that he felt like being barefoot all the time.
Unfortunately being barefoot isn’t always practical so Steven decided to make his own running sandals. He picked up a pair of Vibram rubber soles, some fun-colored cords and made the first pair of Xero Shoes for his wife Lena and another for himself.
While on his runs, other runners would see his sandals and ask for a pair of their own. One of Steven’s running buddies suggested that he start a business. Steven later shared the idea with Lena who at first thought it was a horrible idea. But after trying on her pair, she was sold.
What Happened After Shark Tank Update
Did Xero Shoes get a Deal on Shark ?
Despite receiving a $400,000 offer from Kevin O’Leary for 50% of Xero Shoes ( an $800,000 valuation ), Steven and Lena declined, ultimately leaving the Shark Tank without a deal.
Is Xero Shoes Still In Business?
Steven and Lena left the Shark Tank with a promise to prove the Sharks wrong, and they’ve done just that. Today, Xero Shoes can be found on Amazon, the Xero Shoes website and in retail outlets throughout the world.
Revenue, Sales and Valuation
Xero Shoes entered the Shark Tank seeking a $5 million valuation and since then have more than doubled their value.
By 2017, Xero Shoes had made over $6.6 million in sales since 2010, with 68% of shoes sold directly through the Xero Shoes website and 32% of sales coming from Amazon, eBay, retail stores, international distributors and other 3rd party sellers.
In 2018, the company had sales totaling over $21 million with a gross profit margin of 52.4% and an EBITDA margin of 22.9%.
Their success attracted the attention of investors who offered $1 million in September 2017, and $12.5 million in December 2020, at an undisclosed valuation, for the fast-growing barefootwear company.
How Did Xero Shoes Grow So Fast?
Xero Shoes has experienced year over year growth by expanding product lines and increasing their penetration into additional markets by expanding digital marketing efforts, working with 3rd party sellers and affiliates, expanding their retail and wholesale channels, and increasing global sales through international distributors.
Through these efforts, word of mouth, organic search, and paid advertising at a customer acquisition cost of $12 – $18, Xero Shoes has grown to a customer base of nearly 100,000 pairs of happy feet.