The first thing you might think of when you hear the phrase Father Figure is an influential man in your life. Or the 1987 George Michael song. Well, after watching the October 29 episode of Shark Tank, you might just think of entrepreneur Andrew Bentley. The stay-at-home dad is the founder of Father Figure, the first paternity clothing company. (Maternity clothing is, of course, an enormously lucrative market — check out the maternity selection at Macy’s alone for an idea.) On Shark Tank, Bentley is seeking an investment of $80,000 in exchange for 15 percent equity in his company. Father Figure should appeal to the Sharks — first of all, most of the Sharks are men. Most of the Sharks are fathers. And of the non-male, non-father Sharks listening to Bentley’s Father Figure pitch is billionaire Sara Blakely, who is the guest shark on the episode. Blakely is the founder of Spanx, the lifestyle brand of shapewear. So between Daymond John‘s big time stake in the apparel sector and Blakely’s expertise in expanding a very specific product niche — not unlike Father Figure’s — into a huge lifestyle brand, Father Figure founder Bentley has a good audience in the Tank for his pitch.
The idea is that new dads have new responsibilities — and they need specific attire to handle the gear those new responsibilities require. Looking for a pocket in your pre-Dad shirt that easily holds a burp rag? Good luck. But Bentley and Father Figure have some solutions. There are currently three Father Figure items available on the website: The $128 Booker Denim Shirt with strategically placed soft moleskin patches on the shoulder and forearms; The $45 soft cotton Luca T-shirt with twill loop to hold burp rags and toys; and the Bandana Burp Rags (2 for $20). All Father Figure products are made in the USA and shipped from Brooklyn, New York. Shark Tank airs Sundays at 9pm on ABC.