A few years ago, Melissa Hinannt from Austin, Texas, was pregnant with her and her husband, Rick’s first child. Complications five months into the pregnancy had Melissa confined to bed rest. With all of her recently found free time, the started crocheting a baby blanket. In a sad turn, two weeks later Melissa delivered the couple’s child prematurely and the baby was stillborn.
While recovering, Melissa continued her needlework and her first pair of lacy leg warmers that would become the Grace and Lace line was completed about a year later. She received immediate interest, with people clamoring for their own set. Strangers approached her asking how they could get a pair. She and Rick opened an online store and generated an astounding $850,000 in the first year in business.
It was Rick’s idea to attempt to get on Shark Tank, which Melissa thought was crazy. After several tries and the help of an inside source, the couple were booked and prepared their presentations for the panel.
Grace and Lace on Shark Tank
The Hinannt’s entered the Tank asking the sharks for a $175,000 investment in exchange for 10 percent of Grace and Lace.
Boots have become a mainstay for women’s footwear in recent years. Melissa Hinannt explains that Grace and Lace elevate the typically plain and boring socks that women wear under their boots and explains to the Sharks how she pretty much stumbled onto the concept during a most difficult period in her family’s life.
After the Sharks learned a little bit about the history of Grace and Lace, Barb wanted to get right to the numbers and asked how sales had been so far in the first stages of their business. Up the point of the taping, Grace and Lace had done around $1.22 million in sales, piquing the interest of the panel.
Melissa explains that 90 percent of their revenue came from online sales. They had entered over 230 stores by utilizing the benefits of advertising on social media. She claims that they had never paid for the marketing of their product. The Facebook page has over 34,000 followers after earning a No. 1 pinning on Pinterest which helped to drive sales early on.
Grace and Lace socks are made from cotton, which Barb said feels as soft as silk. Each pair costs $5-$10 a pair to make and sells for $34. Barb and Kevin express being supremely impressed by both the Hinnants and their product. Melissa tells them their profit comes out to about #35,000.
Lori adores the product and tells Melisa how happy she is that they have been able to create this niche empire out of nothing in so little a time frame. However, it is not really her kind of product category and does not feel it is worth an investment in Grace and Lace. Lori becomes the first Shark to drop out of the running.
Rick tells Robert that the business would use the investment money to hire a strategic partner. Two weeks after selling their first pair, Grace and Lace received an email from large retailer Nordstrom, saying that if they could produce 30,000 to 50,000 pairs of knitted socks and need a partner to help create and manage a business plan. Rick feels a potential deal with Nordstrom could yield a $5 to $10 million deal, and is looking to the Sharks to broker deals to generate over $100 million.
Barb feels the couple is over-valuing the potential for Grace and Lace. She makes an offer of $87,500 for a 5 percent stake in the business, but only another Shark on the panel would match the deal. Kevin makes an offer on his own, the $175,000 the Hinnants are asking for in exchange for 20 percent equity in the Grace and Lace, which would decrease to 10 percent once the investment is paid pack.
Robert agrees that they need a partner based on the sales so far. He makes an offer for $175,000 and a flat 10 percent share, the exact offer the couple came in asking for. He pressed the couple for a response to his offer before they hear from Mark.
When Rick asks if he can discuss it with Melissa first, Robert said that he was no longer interested and dropped out.
Mark quickly offers the very same deal and also says he needs an answer immediately or he would be out too. Rick again asks for some private time with his wife to talk it over, but Mark explains that the business will suffer with any indecisive. Barb chimes in that she is changing her offer with the same $175,000 with 10 percent of the equity, but that half of the investment would need to come in the form of a line of credit.
The owners of Grace and Lace accept Barb’s deal and leave the Tank with a solid deal and bright future ahead for them and their knitted socks.
Where Are They Now? Grace and Lace After Shark Tank
Five days after their Shark Tank appearance aired, Grace and Lace’s sales grew to over $1 million. Shortly after, the business moved into a bigger facility and hired a larger staff.
The couple appeared on a follow-up episode a couple of years later, where Melissa and Rick reported sales of over $6.5 million, increasing that number to $15 million shortly after that. They have used their newly acquired wealth to open up orphanages in India and taken 100 orphans into their homes and use their business profits to create better lives for these children in need. They have also opened a “Freedom Home” in Nepal.
The product that came from their personal tragedy has supplied women with a stylish and comfortable boot sock while working to secure their future and making the world a better place in the process.
Their website now offers a large line of fashion designs and gift options. Their Facebook page has over 265,000 followers and features their latest products and designs.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Grace and Lace, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.