For Whitney Lundeen it was sink or swim from the beginning.
"I don't have time, I don't have childcare, I don't have money, I have nothing," said Lundeen.
Palo Alto mom-entrepreneur Whitney Lundeen, founder of @SonnetJames is on @ABCSharkTank tonight at 9. See if she gets a deal and then at 11 I’ll have the story of how a single mom w/ no fashion background started a company & took it to the Sharks. 🦈 #abc7now pic.twitter.com/qGpVUQHmUH— Katie Utehs (@KatieUtehs) January 21, 2019
She founded her clothing company, Sonnet James, in 2013. Like many new moms her pre-baby wardrobe didn't work and she was over maternity clothes.
"There's this problem and I went to the stores and I didn't find anything that was meet in the middle so I was just like I'm going to make something," said Lundeen.
But she had no experience sewing or designing dresses.
"At the time I was a single mom and I would put my boys to bed and then from 8 until 2 every night I would just teach myself and it was a super hard learning curve," recalled Lundeen.
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Now more than five years later she's being circled by investors on Shark Tank.
"Standing in front of that door is for sure the most nerve wracking part of the entire thing" said Lundeen about waiting to make her pitch.
Lundeen's brand of easy to wear, wash friendly clothing, for moms who play with their kids resonates with customers.
"What matters to me most is besides liking the product is I want to support female-run businesses," said Heidi Pfaffroth, longtime Sonnet James customer.
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So did the sharks. The founder of the highly successful women's shapewear brand Spanx, Sara Blakely, took a bite.
In a Shark Tank rarity Blakely offered exactly what Lundeen asked for and is now Lundeen's dream business partner, "as close as it gets as to who I want to be as a mentor to others and how I want to run my company."
Whitney says whatever you do, keep swimming, even when you're up against sharks. "Once I started going it was like never, never, never stop."
See more stories from ABC's Shark Tank!