NE Kansas woman gets business investment on ‘Shark Tank’

A northeast Kansas woman has $60,000 to expand her swimsuit line, after going before TV’s toughest business critics on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’.

It’s a dream that started as a nightmare.

“I was diagnosed with skin cancer at 26,” says Kansan Betsy Johnson, “And I quickly learned that the majority of your sun exposure happens when you’re younger than 18 years old.”

That experience, paired with the frustration of not having an easy on-and-off swimsuit for their babies, lead Johnson and her brother to create Swimzip. The company’s suits ‘zip’ right on and the material protects against 98% of damaging UV rays.

All of the fabric used to make the products goes through special testing to make sure it’s 50 UPF, which is SPF for clothing.

“They say that a regular t shirt blocks about SPF 7, so it’s better than nothing but it’s not great sun protection,” Johnson says.

The simple concept has come a long way.

“I think our first year we sold about 400 suits and now we range, in our peek season, we’ll do more like 50 a day,” Johnson says.

This Kansas native sees an even brighter future for the company, with the right help.

“We’re looking for that partner who can teach us something new and help us get to that next level,” Johnson says.

Already fans of the show ‘Shark Tank’, the co-owners decided to jump in and convince one of the sharks to invest.

“I am a fighter,” Johnson said to the investors on the ABC show which aired Friday evening, “And I will build this brand and I will build this swimwear to be the best swimwear line to be the best kids can have.”

The fight turned out to be a success.

“I’m going to give you the $60,000 for 20% equity stake,” offered investor Lori Greiner. “Lori, you have a deal,” Johnson replied.

Swimzip has already expanded by adding an adult line and accessories. Greiner said on the show she wants to expand even more and bring the line to Target.

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