Grace and Lace entered the Shark Tank in Season 5. The episode where the show revisited them is re-airing on February 27.
Heavy interviewed the couple behind the company, Rick and Melissa Hinnant, in time for the episode. Here’s what we learned about their beginnings, appearance on the show and subsequent growth.
1. Barbara Gave Them a Deal
The couple asked for $175,000 for 10 percent of their company. Barbara gave them the deal, with the stipulation that half of the money would be a line of credit, and Rick said of her involvement, “Her connections have been/are priceless and Grace and Lace has some really amazing media exposure coming in the future.”
Besides having Barbara’s unwavering support, the pair also relies on a dedicated staff. Since they have two children, we asked what it’s like balancing their family with the business. Rick said, “That’s easy, we have the best people on the planet working with us and our culture is not one of overworking. Our belief is that if someone is working more than 40 hour a week, we need to hire another.”
2. A Husband & Wife Triumphed Through Tragedy
The business was born through their tragic loss of a child. Melissa was on bed rest during her pregnancy and learn to sew to make the baby a blanket. Sadly, their newborn, Halle, went to Heaven immediately upon delivery because her lungs were not yet developed.
Through the grace of God, they forged ahead, and fittingly named their company Grace and Lace. Rick said, “We were devastated at the loss but instead of being mad at God, bitter, asking, ‘Why us?’ we decided to trust God through our pain knowing He was in control. We didn’t need to understand but our hope was that something good would come from the tragedy. That’s where Grace and Lace was born and it’s really a story of tragedy to triumph.”
When asked what are the pros and cons to working with his wife, Rick answered, “There are pretty much all pros as we work great together and compliment each other perfectly. Where I’m weak Melissa is strong and vice versa.”
3. They’ve Grown Tremendously Since ‘Shark Tank’
Their appearance on the reality show came through fate, persistence and patience. When their company was into their third month, another company offered to buy them. Rick declined the offer, feeling that they were meant to be contestants on Shark Tank. So from February until May of 2012, Rick applied a few times but did not hear back. Then, a good friend, who also believed that the company should enter the Tank, made a call to a producer he knew there, and the rest is history.
In the 12 months before they filmed Shark Tank, they were at $1 million dollars in sales. Now they’ve surpassed $10.5 million since they were on the show, a year and 3 months ago.
4. They’re Charitable
The couple knows that God is behind all of their hard work. “The key is to continue to keep God first and be led by Him…to stay close to Him and let Him build the company and take us where He wants,” Rick passionately stated. “This is His company…we’re simply stewards.”
The company does operate with God in mind and is deeply committed to charity. They’ve partnered with Angel House, an organization that rescues orphans in India. Melissa knew the founders after she spent with the poor there. The couple finds it very meaningful to rescue these needy children, especially after losing their own child. “It’s a tragic situation with children as young as three being completely abandoned and left on the streets,” Rick said.
A portion of each Grace and Lace sale goes to assist in the building of orphanages. So far, they have built two, which house 50 children each. “The loss of Halle has meant the rescue of 100 precious kiddos with many more to come,” Rick said.
5. They Can Be Found in 2,000 Stores
Their products were first sold at Apricot Lane, a boutique in Fairfield, Connecticut.
As far as celebrity clients go, model Gigi Hadid was spotted in their scarf, and Nancy Sinatra in their leg warmers.