Mark Cuban Invested In Red Dress Boutique But Diana Harbour Calls Her 'Shark Tank' Pitch 'Torture' Years Later

Sarah Field

When Josh and Diana Harbour stepped on to the Shark Tank carpet more than three years ago, they didn't know they were about to transport their already successful online business Red Dress Boutique into stratospheric territory. At the time of the summer, 2014, taping, Red Dress was on track to make $12 million in annual revenue. They did it by selling not only clothing and accessories, but complete outfits promoted through a popular Instagram feed and social media posts.

Although both Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban bit on the pitch, agreeing to invest a combined $1.2 million in the company -- twice the $600,000 the Harbours were seeking -- only Cuban went on to partner with the Harbours. Popular updates were featured on the Shark Tank spinoff series Beyond the Tank as the Red Dress Boutique owners overcame the challenges -- technical and otherwise -- of growing and sustaining an online-only company. Out of the Shark Tank spotlight, Red Dress has quietly continued to grow, even opening a brick-and-mortar offshot called Fringe in Athens, Georgia.

But in a new blog post, Diana Harbour admits the Shark Tank pitch wasn't easy for her -- but the reason is perhaps a bit different than that of other entrepreneurs who have nerves while speaking to investors. Writing about her son's recent diagnosis with Asperger's, which has brought challenges into her life as a parent, she offered a deeply personal revelation in an attempt to support other working parents.

"Reality check: I have Asperger's too, so if you have ever met me in person and I didn't say anything or was super-awkward, now you know why. I'm awkward around people and cannot carry a conversation. Even saying hello or answering a phone call is stress-inducing and painful. Talk to me about work or my child though, and I'll talk both your ears off. 'Shark Tank' was torture until the two minutes of my pre-rehearsed intro was over and then I couldn't shut up about Red Dress Boutique…an hour and a half of diarrhea of the mouth. But it worked."

"I have spent the better part of 3 years trying to be what I thought I needed to be. PR companies told me I needed to be this or that. Be an expert in your field…be the entrepreneur power mom…be someone other than who you are.

"I am none of those things. I started a business doing what I love. It got big.

"I can get caught up in the perceived perfection of bloggers and other moms. And I have to reality-check myself every day.

"[A]t the end of the day, we are all doing the best we can."

"I am none of those things. I started a business doing what I love. It got big.

"I can get caught up in the perceived perfection of bloggers and other moms. And I have to reality-check myself every day.

"[A]t the end of the day, we are all doing the best we can."

[Featured image by Brad Barket/Getty Images]

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