How it All Began: The uLace Shark Tank Journey
uLace appeared on Season 5, Episode 19 of the hit ABC TV show
Shark Tank. And while the episode first aired on March 7th 2014, the
actual episode was shot on Sept 14th, 2013 at Sony Pictures Studios
in Hollywood, CA.
So while recent years have seen many new Shark Tank shoelaces and
brands enter the scene, uLace paved the way nearly a decade ago by
introducing the very first of its kind, no-tie shoelace product. Today, many
are familiar with the popular Shark Tank laces, but few realize that uLace
actually invented the entire no-tie shoelace category. Now, with years of
experience under our belts, uLace can proudly call itself the original modular
no-tie shoelace brand — but how exactly did we become the creator of
At the time we were on Shark Tank, ulace only offered uLace Classic laces,
however since the episode aired, we have added several uLace product lines
including: uLace Kiddos, uLace Slims, uLace Shorts and uLace SiliPrint -
our animal and graphic print no tie laces - to our ever expanding catalog.
While submitting an online application may be enough to get on Shark Tank
today, back in 2013 the only way to get on the show was to attend an
open casting call.
In May 2013 - uLace founder Tim Talley drove from Rochester, NY to
Philadelphia and spent a long night outside in the pouring rain with several
hundred other would-be Shark Tank contestants. With his Classic no tie
laces in hand, Tim stood amidst a crowd all hoping for the chance to
present a 1 minute pitch to the Shark Tank producers.
Actual Tee and Sneakers worn for the pitch
By the time morning came, the crowd had swelled to over 6000 people,
all seeking a chance to be on the show. Fortunately for Tim & uLace, getting
there early –– and bearing it out in the pouring rain –– put him at number
85 of over 6000 hopefuls.
Tim soon got his chance to pitch his uLace no tie shoelaces to the
Shark Tank producers, before heading home with the final notice: “we
only call with good news. If you don’t hear from us by Friday close of
business that means you weren’t selected to proceed forward.”
The next Friday Tim received the ‘good news’ call. He, and uLace,
were officially moving forward. Armed with the uLace Classic laces, he
now had to focus on creating the perfect pitch.
So began Tim’s huge, four month effort to write an air-tight pitch, practice
said pitch, and answer probing questions about the pitch, business and
(most importantly) the numbers — all with his assigned producers each week.
On Sept 14th, 2013 Tim shot the uLace episode of Shark Tank. He, and
his already globally distributed uLace Classics, quickly won a
life-changing deal with billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner – and Shark
– Mark Cuban, but it had to remain a tightly held secret for the next
So for months, Tim waited for the episode to air, knowing that uLace
was about to become the most important Shark Tank shoelaces in history.
Finally, on March 7, 2014 the actual uLace Shark Tank episode aired.
Now, in addition to securing the deal with Mark Cuban and pioneering the first
no tie Laces on Shark Tank, one of the things we are the most proud of was the
Shark’s stellar reception of Tim. When promoting the episode, ABC referred to
the modular lace creator as ‘The Real Deal’ and a ‘Hero’.
In fact, Tim was the sole entrepreneur on the episode that all the Sharks agreed
was a great guy with a great product, background, and story.
uLace After Shark Tank: How the Shark Tank Shoelaces Took Off
Our Shark Tank journey and partnership with Mark Cuban and Mark
Cuban Companies was tremendously impactful and helped position
uLace no tie laces for the growth we have seen since airing on the Show.
In 2018, we were again blessed with the opportunity to buy our equity
back from Mark Cuban. This is something that rarely happens in business
and we are grateful to Mark for allowing us to do so
Today, uLace has proudly paved the way for a sea of Shark Tank laces, with
new elastic, no tie, and modular shoelaces all competing for a place in
the category Tim created. Nevertheless, no other laces seen on Shark Tank
or no tie lace will ever be able to proudly call itself the one,
true originator of no tie laces.
We hope our Shark Tank story will inspire you to take your idea and run
with it. Whether on Shark Tank or not, if you have a great idea pursue it.
You just might change the world and your life in the process.
To Discover The Perfect Pair of uLace No Tie Laces for Your Own Favorite
Sneakers, Shop the Classic Collection Today!
Otherwise, to learn more about uLace and find the answers to all
your no tie shoelace questions and concerns, explore our
uLace no tie shoelace FAQ page. Additionally, to read about the
other sites and publications that have featured uLace click through
to the uLace Press page!