Question: Nate, when you appeared on Shark Tank, was there a particular Shark you were looking to work with?
Answer: Yes, Daymond was always the dream — it was hard to imagine that anyone would pick me, but Daymond was the dream. I actually wrote his name on a piece of paper and put it in my pocket. I believe in visualizing what you want and he was the Shark for me. It shocked me that he picked me.
Q: Did you tailor your pitch knowing that you wanted Daymond to invest in Mission Belt?
Not really, no, I gave the pitch the best way I could. That was a pitch that anyone could have heard and it would have rang true. It wasn’t geared toward anyone; it was geared toward someone who was smart and all the Sharks are smart.
You brought a ton of energy to your pitch, there’s no doubt. Was that all you, or did you load up on coffee on the set before filming?
I actually don’t drink any coffee, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t even drink energy drinks. It’s all natural, I’m like this 16 hours a day. It’s within me and it’s raw — I’ve got pure passion for life. Realtors says it’s location, location, location, right? For me it’s attitude, attitude, attitude. You have a decision every day to wake up and decide what your day is going to be like. It’s your time, what are you going to do with it? So I’ve decided to have excellence, I’ve decided to be happy, and I’ve decided to be me.
Do you think that your attitude and energy make you a perfect entrepreneur?
It puts me into situations that are fantastic. There’s no bologna, I never say anything that I don’t mean and I don’t give false compliments, but I’m the first person to step up and compliment something that deserves complimenting. I think speaking my mind and being myself are a real key to having the kind of success that I’ve had.
From my experience seeing a few pitches on the set, the Sharks can tell instantly if an entrepreneur isn’t genuine — they use whatever means necessary to figure that out. Do you feel like the Sharks got to know you at your core quickly even in your short time pitching them?
Yes, I saw the Sharks again recently and they all approached me and said things like “You were great on the show” and “We love you” — Robert was always so kind to me, and (Kevin) O’Leary loves me, man. All the Sharks are super and I showed them (in my pitch) that I wanted to make a deal and that I was serious. That was Daymond’s space, he is amazing, and the Sharks were going to have to wrestle it out with him when I pitched. Daymond’s the Michael Jordan of the clothing space.
Since Daymond did invest in your company, tell me a bit about what you think Daymond has brought to your business that wasn’t there previously?
Relationships, connections, and know-how. I’ve got a lot of raw energy, which is like a powerful motor, but without the rest of the car like the steering wheel and the brakes, and the seatbelts it’s useless. Daymond has brought me into the Daymond John family, and literally the guy has changed my life.
He has introduced me to anyone that I want to meet, and has set me up with anybody that I need to talk to. When I need something, his office and entire staff are at my beck and call, they support me and it’s a family. I get a lot of credit for Mission Belt but the reality is that a lot of people make it all go ’round. My partners, Daymond’s office, those people are the unsung heroes, they make it all happen for me and it’s nuts.
According to the Mission Belt website, your company gives a portion of its profit to fight hunger and poverty — and you run a for-profit business. Can you speak to that?
We give a dollar from every single belt that we sell — wholesale or retail — and we put it toward the Kiva lending program and lend it all over the world for free, zero interest and zero qualifiers. People that could never dream of getting a loan, we give them enough money where they can buy the chickens, the tools, the seeds, the fertilizer, the cows, whatever they need. And they can get to a place where they can feed their families and sell the excess. These families become self-sufficient and we’ve helped over 1300 families do this. And they pay the money back and we lend it right back out again. It’s amazing to see people’s lives change and they become independent and feel the same way that I do everyday when I go to work. I am the master of my own destiny and they have that same opportunity.