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Media Studies Alumna Shares New Success After Surviving 'Shark Tank'

Published December 16, 2015 in News

By: Katie McNally | University Communications

UVA previously reported on alumna and entrepreneur Desirée Davis Stolar’s (Interdisciplinary-Media Studies '07) November appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” When the show aired, viewers saw Davis, who got her UVA undergraduate degree in 2007, receive a major investment offer for her clothing care start-up, Unshrinkit.

Nearly a month later, things are still going swimmingly for Davis and she has a surprising twist to reveal about her on-air deal. 

Davis and her co-founder, Nate Barbera, first developed Unshrinkit in 2014 while attending Harvard Business School together. It’s a liquid solution designed to repair wool clothing that has been shrunk in the washing machine or dryer. The product works by interacting with the proteins in wool, relaxing their bonds and allowing the fibers to straighten out again and remain that way.

Accidentally shrinking prized cashmere sweaters and other wool clothing favorites is a pretty frequent laundry care problem – so much so that Unshrinkit has been in high demand almost since the day it first hit the market. By the time its “Shark Tank” episode aired Nov. 13, the company had already sold more than 8,000 bottles nationwide.

A before-and-after look at a sweater that was shrunk by accident and then treated with Unshrinkit.

Unshrinkit’s success story garnered offers from top “Shark” investors Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John and Mark Cuban. Davis and Barbera eventually settled on a deal with Cuban, accepting a $150,000 investment for a 15 percent stake in their company.

UVA Today caught up with Davis to find out what she and Unshrinkit have been up to since their big win on the show.

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