A doll company has stiffed hundreds of parents hoping to give “racially diverse” dolls to their children for Christmas after the company went bankrupt when a member of TV’s Shark Tank pulled funding from the company.
The couple running Naturally Perfect Dolls — dolls that purportedly would have represented a list of minorities — disappeared on some 800 customers just before Christmas leaving hundreds of parents without their favored gift for their kids.
According to the New York Post:
“I want answers,” fumed Westchester’s Brittany Hodgins — who ordered her biracial 3 1/2-year-old daughter Ryleigh a $60 doll in January, leaving plenty of time for delivery snafus or fulfillment backups.
“When I told my daughter she wasn’t getting the doll, she was devastated. She kept asking me why, and unfortunately I had no answers to give her. She wants a doll that looks just like her.”
The company headed by Angelica and Jason Sweeting appeared on the TV show and after being rejected by some of the show’s investors, Daymond John gave the doll company $200,000.
But, apparently it fell through even after TV audiences were convinced that the company was headed for success.
What 10 million “Shark Tank” viewers didn’t see is that John pulled the plug on the deal a few months after the show aired following what he called “due diligence.”
But the public was never told that the TV investor had lost confidence in the company or why. And the company never informed the public that it had lost its $200,000 in seed money and would likely fold.
Many of these customers bought the company’s dolls because they saw the items on ABC’s reality show, Shark Tank.
The founders of the company won a major infusion of cash on the show supposedly setting it up for success.
But, unbeknownst to customers, the show pulled its support of the company apparently because they lost faith in the way the company was being run.
Unfortunately, customers were not told about any of this.
When contacted by The Post last week, Angelica Sweeting said, “I send my deepest apologies. We know what the doll means to little girls and their parents. We understand people are upset. It’s a tough pill to swallow. We had the best intentions.”
Sweeting said that without the “Shark Tank” cash, the business is collapsing. While she promised update emails to customers, she didn’t offer refunds. “The customers’ funds made off pre-orders are with the manufacturer in China,” she said.
“Initially, being on ‘Shark Tank’ was good for us,” Angelica Sweeting said. “But not being able to secure the business funding was hurtful to our business.”
Whatever did or didn’t happen with the Shark Tank cash, hundreds of customers are out of luck only days before Christmas.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.