Robert Herjavec Teams Up With Butter Cloth (and it’s a Slam Dunk!)

Jay Block
5 min readDec 11, 2018

You know you’re doing something right when Metta World Peace finds your brand and asks to come on board as your spokesperson. This is exactly what happened with Butter Cloth, a men’s fashion brand that has perfected the dress shirt. Robert Herjavec teams up with Butter Cloth founder and lead designer, Danh Tran, on Season 10, Episode 4 alongside Metta World Peace. The sharks laughed at Danh’s Meta-assisted slam dunk in the intro and held back tears as he shared his inspiring story of immigrating to the United States to follow his dream. Oh, and according to Mark Cuban, Danh had “the best reaction ever” to landing a deal on the show after striking a deal with Robert Herjavec. I recently caught up with Danh and his mentor, Bob, about Butter Cloth’s exciting Shark Tank appearance. They gushed about the experience and even shared some behind-the-scenes drama that played out that day.

Robert Herjavec and Butter Cloth have a Deal!

Jay: How long did it take you to work on that dunk?

Bob: (Laughing) We tried that dunk at least 100 times.

Jay: Did you know Charles Barkley was going to be a guest Shark before you filmed the episode?

Danh: We didn’t know at first, but they did tell us that there was going to be a guest shark that would be perfect for us. They didn’t release who it was until two days before we filmed.

Jay: How has it been since the episode aired?

Bob: Yes, that’s what we always say. It’s a good problem to have. After our Shark Tank episode aired, we did about 4,000 orders in a week. We had a viewing party where we could see on the backend of our website that the page views were growing exponentially as the episode aired. At one point we had 21,000 visitors on the website and then the orders started rolling in — what an experience. It shows that the power of Shark Tank is just unbelievable.

Jay: Were you guys familiar with Shark Tank before?

Danh: Yeah, I have been watching for nine years, since the first episode in season one, and I always wanted to be on the show.

Jay: I could tell when they closed the deal you were pretty excited about it. You definitely had dreams come true when that happened, right?

Danh: Yeah, for sure!

Jay: I’m a huge sports fan, so I’m curious how Metta World Peace came on board with you. Is there an athletic segment of the market that you’re trying to reach?

Danh: Actually, one day Metta was in the office of my marketing partner, Moody over at MuteSix, and he saw one of our shirts and said, “Wow that shirt looks good. What shirt is that?” So, Moody said, “Why don’t you throw it on?” And he only unbuttoned one button and pulled it on like a t-shirt. Then he said, “I just love this shirt. I’ve never seen a shirt like this before that’s 100% cotton and stretchy. I want to be part of it.” So that’s how we became partners.

We tap into the sports world a little bit with the stretch factor in the fabric because athletes are really buff and traditional shirts are really uncomfortable for them, so they naturally love our product.

Jay: Sometimes people have to chase after athletes to endorse their products, but you were in the right place at the right time and he saw it and he wanted to get involved. Incredible!

Danh: Yeah! We’re really happy that worked out and excited to see where this goes.

Robert Herjavec Knows What it Takes to Grow A Business

Jay: So, you have Metta World Peace on your team, you’ve got a great marketing team, and now you’re able to add Robert to Butter Cloth, who is a guru in building businesses, and he’s also an immigrant. What do you most look forward to using Robert with Butter Cloth for?

Danh: I think Robert will be great for marketing and for celebrity endorsements. We just created a collection with four pieces for him. We put his picture and his signature on those four shirts and those four shirts are selling like crazy.

Bob: It’s called the Robert Herjavec Collection.

Jay: He’s a great dresser, so I totally see that.

Danh: His name alone is helping a lot.

Jay: On the show you were understandably hesitant to agree to Robert’s 25% ask, which was a lot. What was going through your mind, and what ultimately convinced you to take the deal?

Danh: I’m very good at negotiating and before I got in the tank, in my mind, the maximum I can give is 20%. But when Robert made the offer I was thinking, it’s only 5% more, so maybe it’s worth it to have him as a partner. He’s going to be boosting the brand up, so that’s why I accepted. Robert was the original shark I wanted to join the Butter Cloth brand, so it worked out.

Bob: There was a little bit of drama on the backend. I’m sure you’ve seen on the tank where they step outside the tank to call somebody. We had set up that I was that guy. Danh and I had agreed that it would be our very, very last resort. If you’re a Shark Tank follower, you know that when people step outside the tank sometimes things change. So, Danh was really on the spot. If you re-watch it you’ll notice that Metta is pressuring Danh to go outside and talk, but because of our agreement, Danh didn’t want to unless it was an absolute worst-case scenario. He realized that Metta was worried he might lose the deal, so he told him “Metta I got this, I got this.” Metta backed off and Danh made the deal.

Danh: Yeah, if Robert asked for 35% I was definitely going to walk out and call Bob, but when the offer was 25%, I knew just the 5% difference was worth it.

Fulfilling a Dream

Jay: I love great stories, and your story of coming over to the United States from Vietnam and working hard to fulfill your dreams, I’m sure, has given a lot of power to your story. Have you found that to be the case?

Bob: A lot of people email us to say they’re so inspired by our story. This includes a lot of other immigrants who share that they have a similar dream. It’s a nice feeling to think that we can inspire other people.

Danh: Yeah, my emails just go crazy, and I sometimes sit there and read most of them and it’s really touching and feels really, really good — sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. Or people stop me in public to tell me how I inspired them with my story of coming here and becoming an entrepreneur, and they want to take my picture.

Jay: You’re a celebrity now!

Danh: (laughing) I guess so.

Looking for more Shark Tank Deals? Check them out!

Two Gals Catch Three Sharks!

Speed to Market Fuels Transformation of Hampton Products