Inside Red Dress

Beyond The Tank – The Rest of The Story

You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”
Richard Branson

Can we all say intense? That is certainly how it felt watching our episode of Beyond the Tank last night on ABC. Mark and I were on Cyberdust the entire time (twitter too) going back and forth with:

M: “Are you ok?”

Me: “I’m ok. This is stressful. I want to tell them all the truth.”

M: “We will. How are sales?”

Me: Site is down. We went 20K over anticipated traffic! It should be back up soon.”

M: “Drink a glass of wine and relax. It will all be fine.”

And you know what? It was. Our site came back up after 15 minutes and stayed up the rest of the night. As opposed to our first appearance on Shark Tank when our site was down for about 18 hours. And do you know why?

Because we listened to Mark.

That’s right. The site we have now is the same platform (Magento) we have had for 5 years. What changed? The pretty pages. We made our images bigger, focused on a new home page and let an amazing tech team dig into the code and fix some of our biggest issues. Other than last night, the last time our site crashed was early March. And the “Shark Tank effect” can take down even the most prepared of sites with it’s initial surge.

We did go on Shark Tank to get a new website platform. The reason being is because we had never had a support team for our platform that could figure out why we had such bad issues with stability. And it was a really tough decision for us for a number of reasons. We knew our customers were frustrated with our current site, the company we were looking at to build this new site was going to charge upwards of 400K for platform and design of a new site (insert nausea at that amount of money here) and in five years we had never found a tech team that could fix the issues we were having.

But we found that team and through their hard work and Mark’s advice we realized he was right. We could fix what we have, give it a face-lift and focus on some really important aspects of the business that we had not had time to focus on in depth before: analytics and a killer advertising strategy.

The meeting in Dallas with Mark took place in late February. During that meeting (which was over an hour) we strategized on where Red Dress Boutique would go next, goals for the year and talked about opening more stores! Was it tough to hear that Mark opposed our vision for a new site? Yes. But tough love is a part of life and learning and we left with a lot to think about and some new goals. Mark is a GREAT investor and an awesome mentor. But what’s great about him is like a great mentor, he guides us with great advice but he lets us make the final decision. And with any big decision for a business you know it could lead to success or it could lead to failure. And after that meeting my gut told me what we have could be fixed and we could find a more useful way to spend our investment.

So what have we been doing since our filming of Beyond the Tank?


Being an entrepreneur is an eyes open to eyes closed job. We did a minor redesign of our site. We added some customer service features such as Live Chat, Amazon Payments (no more running for that credit card ladies) and through heat mapping we figured out where our customers were going on our site and how to drive them to other areas. We have spent the last four weeks with Mark and his team focusing on analytics, customer acquisition costs (how much it cost us to acquire one customer) and advertising.

Working with Mark and his team has been wonderful. And what you saw last night was a glimpse into some very real and very tough reality of being a business owner. Do business owners always agree with their investors? No! But what we do is listen to each other and find a common ground that is good for the business.

What’s next for Red Dress Boutique?

We will continue to do what we do best: providing our customers with affordable fashion that is the new, next and now, focusing less on a new website and more on new ways to connect with our customers. We are a company that LOVES to engage with our customers. Chat with us on FACEBOOK, hang out with us on Instagram & Snap chat (Shopreddress) or start up a conversation with us on Twitter!

And we are going to spend our time focusing on better ways to be who we are and who we have always been: a company loyal to it’s fiercely loyal customers. Because honestly, at the end of the day, it’s not about us. It’s about you. That’s kind of the whole point. We LOVE fashion, but we wouldn’t be anything without the women who make up our demographics. Our shoppers ARE our existence. We don’t *do* customer service. We are genuinely grateful, individually and collectively, for your business. We write, by hand, those little cards you get with each purchase for a reason.

At The Red Dress Boutique, we don’t base our business model around fluffy ideals or smarmy slogans. We know you. You have learned to love yourself through trial and error, and you teach that confidence to others simply by walking the walk. You love fashion, affordability, laughing with your friends, and your life. You don’t dress well only to impress others—you dress well for the thrill of it! You don’t need kitschy sentimentality to click with the right boutique, but you’ll smile when you see yourself in the description of a new dress online (that called your name the moment you saw it). You’re just good like that. You’re humble, but you know you’re made of awesome. You’re tenderhearted, but a ferocious protector of those in your inner circle. You’re graceful, smart, and industrious. You are not a mere customer. You are a Red Dress Woman. You are our constant inspiration. And we will keep learning and growing for you.


Diana Harbour, CEO

The Red Dress Boutique


  1. Bob Sullivan
    December 30, 2015 at 3:41 am (3 years ago)

    I just saw the Beyond The Tank episode about your struggle with Mark over creating a new website. Mark’s concern was the risk of switching to a new website. All the while I was watching it I kept thinking you never just switch overnight to a new website; you have a lengthy period of several months during the slowest part of the year with both sites up. The new site is optional for the adventurous shopper to try. The original website would have a prominent banner advertising the new website to try out. You could offer a 10% discount for intrepid shoppers if they used the new website and left comments on usability etc. This burn-in period could last 3 months or longer and the old website would still be 100% up and running servicing the majority of your customers. Even after you have worked out all the bugs and tweaked the new site and switched over you could offer the old website for a period of time. This kind of phasing in approach should mitigate the risks.

  2. Kate
    December 4, 2015 at 12:50 am (3 years ago)

    Loved seeing this episode and hearing your update here. Two totally superficial questions: 1) where did you get your adorable pajamas on Beyond the Tank and 2) where is your white toy storage shelf from? Love both. Thanks!

  3. Helen
    November 19, 2015 at 2:07 am (3 years ago)

    You’re inspiration, love your energy…you gonna change the world..Keep it up

  4. Theresa Von Nessi
    October 4, 2015 at 6:49 am (3 years ago)

    Hello, I watched you on The Shark Tank. I loved your enthusiasm and spirit! I thought you were so adorable! I had to see how you were doing. After I checked out your site, I had to make my first purchases to support you! I am so happy for you!❤️❤️❤️❤️ Lots of love from the high country Arizona!

  5. shawn kummer
    October 1, 2015 at 12:31 am (3 years ago)

    Great recap, congrats on the success and I was on the side of Mark in keeping your current site 🙂 Sorry.

  6. Melanie Smith
    September 8, 2015 at 7:02 pm (3 years ago)

    Great to see Red Dress on the show and have such good luck. I love the company and its positive realistic view of fashion and the young girl, or her mother’s, pocket book. We are Georgians transplanted to Texas and would love to see more Green and Gold game day looks for Baylor University. I think they would sell well. All my daughters friend buy from you now since she has been the RD model on Baylor’s campus.

    September 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm (3 years ago)

    I watched the Shark Tank episode last night and loved your Red Dress concept. I have already gone online, registered for an account, placed an order and have passed your website on to others. I am from Canada.

    I wish you much deserved success !

  8. Amy
    September 8, 2015 at 2:14 pm (3 years ago)

    I love love this company!!! This is what my entire closet is full of !!! I get compliments everyday on my outfits. The number one question where did u get that? and of course I tell them the reddress boutique !!! I have 4 kids so money is limited for me to look fashionable…I’m always the last one to buy for myself. So not only is the reddress afforable it’s always up to my standard in fashion!! Keep up the amazing hard work!

  9. Sandra
    September 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm (3 years ago)

    We also watched the TV show last night. We were totally impressed and we feel if you stay honest and continue to work hard, put the Lord God in the middle of your dream, asking HIM for advice, well, you young folks will prosper more and more. As a result of the show I plan to shop for myself at your site and I am a 72 year old grandmother of 8! Go for it!

  10. Kimberl
    September 8, 2015 at 5:49 am (3 years ago)

    Hello ! I recently watched the aired footage 9/7/2015 of the story behind The Red Dress Boutique. I’m referring to the “Beyond the tank” footage. Even before your wife began to speak about her idea and how she had pitched it to her husband and how her fathers death caused her to become completely immersed in her vision and well….. the rest is history as it’s said. I was truly touched as I watched what I believed to be a very humbled christian woman and husband. You story prompted me to seek you out; and here you are ! Also, I’m so very impressed with your wide selection. You do have so many items that are simply beautiful and I would love to be able to purchase a ton of your products right this minute, but I’ll need to wait till a later time. But I do plan to return !

    I just wanted to share my thoughts with you. I believe you both are humbled, hardworking people which are very much in love. It was so very obvious that your wife was very emotional when speaking of her fathers passing; please allow me to express my thoughts on that subject. He’s very proud of you and was long before he left this world. And as the bible says that in heaven we will be known as though we were known. So as christians we know that a reunion with our loved ones will have after we are with the Lord in heaven. How wonderful, huh. I believe the Lord will continue to bless you and your entire family, and I’m so very happy for you all. Please continue to stay in Gods word and pray about every situation, because as wonderful as all of your blessings are …don’t forget to keep your focus rooted in maybe what God spoke to you and your wife about a long time ago might be put to another test or trial as some would say. CONGRATS ! I look forward to looking through your many different products and am excited to see how the packages are matched . Sincerely, Kimberly Marlowe

  11. Laura Knight
    September 8, 2015 at 3:50 am (3 years ago)

    Congrats on your success and continued growth. Viewed your episode tonight. You, your husband seem very gracious. Your hard work has paid-off. Thanks for the Beyond the Tank update!

  12. Mojan
    September 8, 2015 at 3:47 am (3 years ago)

    You are such an inspiration! I love your energy and drive! I can’t wait to see how far this company goes. I’m going to put in some orders and tell all my friends and sorority sisters about it. (Also if you ever need an extra clothing model let me know! I would love to represent such an amazing line!)

  13. Gene Olsen
    August 28, 2015 at 2:14 pm (3 years ago)

    Watched the episode last night. Love your enthusiasm for success. I wish you much of it. I just had to order some beautiful clothes for my wife. I will be back to order more!