Sharon Bui is a passionate multi-faceted entrepreneur. She launched Frill Clothing along with her former business partner Kate. Five years later, they had their own office, employed a fabulous team, and are on the road to building an empire.
In her third year of business, Sharon sent in an audition video to the casting team of the hit ABC show Shark Tank. This was in January of 2014. They got a call back and aired on the show on March 6, 2015! Sharon and her partner scored an investment with Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary. The ABC network loved them so much that they brought them back on air on the spin- off show of Shark Tank called Beyond the Tank on April 5, 2016!
Sharon currently stays busy working full time for Cisco Systems, traveling the country, speaking, mentoring start-ups, building websites, helping coordinate weddings, and much more.
Favorite Success Quote
“Failure doesn’t define you. It’s something that’s part of your journey.“
1. Doing It All
While still in college, Sharon was bootstrapping all of her resources and juggling multiple responsibilities. She can think back to when she would be in a business class, and her phone would keep ringing with real world business on the other end. She remained willing to do it all and stay focused on her goals despite the immense amount of work required.
After a unique marketing photo of their product went viral, they had to adapt to new markets. Many brides wanted the product for their bridal parties. Originally Frill Clothing was started for Sorority Rush week, not wedding parties. Adapting to more markets allowed more explosive growth of the company. Remain willing to adapt from your original goal. If it turns out your product serves a different market better, or simply multiple markets well, be willing to consider adapting and serving all. Focus on a niche to start (specialize), then expand to other markets after that (diversify).
3. Be Kind To Everybody Always
Sharon talks about seeing everything as a networking opportunity, not to be confused with using people. Sharon has a passion for relationships and loves staying in touch with her friends. You never know who will become extremely successful.
4. Be Prepared
Also the boy scout motto, be prepared is a critical aspect of preparing for Shark Tank presentations. If you are going onto the show, you must have a fluid and comprehensive understanding of every aspect of your company. Sharon studied for weeks with friends. She also took part in a mock-presentation in front of her family and friends. This allowed her to experience some of the emotions that would undoubtedly be present in the actual Shark Tank.
5. “What Was It Really Like On ABC’s Shark Tank?!”
It is very real. The sharks are first introduced to the entrepreneurs when filming begins.
Was Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary nice in person? Yes. He was very sweet in person. His team means business and they are serious. Sharon shared that Kevin is very nice in real life. Before the show is filmed, the presenting entrepreneurs are shown the “tank” and given a tour to ensure they know where to stand and what will happen. During this tour, Sharon met Daymond John, CEO of FUBU, as he was able to approach them before filming because he was not going to be on the panel for her presentation . Seeing the sharks getting their make up done before the filming showed Sharon that they are just people too. She was set at ease after seeing this.
Heart Healthy Hustle Round
Heart: What activity do you use to care for and strengthen your internal character?
To remain level headed Sharon stays involved in her church, and recommends reading God’s word (the Bible). After selling Frill Clothing, she openly shares that she used to see a counselor as she felt this was a failure. She struggled with failure for a time, but realized that it was not her identity. To Sharon, success is living contented with what you have and being grateful for every experience she goes through. She shared that failures are simply experiences that can yield beautiful long term outcomes if you keep a level head.
It is not about the material or fleeting things that are in this world. Because this world is constantly changing and you cannot hold onto anything.
Health: How do you maintain your physical health and avoid burn out?
Sharon recently enjoys hiking to stay fit. She is also involved in Orange Theory Fitness. She recommends channeling negative energy through workouts and physical exercise. This is a much healthier way of dealing with negative emotions than allowing them to fester inside and not dealing with them. She shares that after a good workout she feels much better and recommends everyone get moving!
Hustle: What’s your main motivation for doing what you do? Hustling to the max of your potential?
Sharon shares that she is a workaholic. Her parents were immigrants who both came to America literally with only the shirts on their back. Imagine going out and realizing all you own is the clothes on your back. Sharon’s father almost lost his life at sea, and her mother survived off of beans to survive at a refugee camp. Sharon’s parents both overcame adversity to become extremely successful both holding career jobs at world class companies and universities.
Sharon wants to make her parents and future kids proud. She believes it is important to turn dirt into flowers and create something beautiful out of adversity.
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
If You Had 60 Seconds With Your Younger Self, What Would You Tell Her and Why?
- “Don’t have a boyfriend in college. Go do all the things. Enjoy your friends. Spend time with people you love while you can.” People grow up, move away, get married, and have kids. Go do the things while you still can. Enjoy the season you are in and realize it is only a season.
- “The love of your life will come. He is going to be more than you ever imagined and prayed for so be patient because it will be worth it!”
- “Your Identity is not defined by your successes or your failures.” It’s okay to fail. That’s where you grow. Realize you will be okay.
- “Try to get a full time job after college. Everything happens for a reason.”
Connect with Sharon Bui