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5 Black Owned Shark Tank Rejects Turned Success Stories

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shark tank kevin o'leary rejects black owned beauty brand lip bar

For over 10 years, Shark Tank has been entertaining and educating millions while also funding incredible businesses. For every business that has been invested on Shark Tank, there are multiple businesses that get rejected. But not all rejects become failures. In fact, these 5 Black owned businesses were rejected on Shark Tank but went on to become success stories.

1. The Lip Bar

The Lip Bar is a Black owned cosmetic company that specializes in lipstick in all shades and colors. CEO Melissa Butler and Rosco Spears appeared on Season 6, episode 14 of Shark Tank back in 2015. Melissa started the business using natural ingredients in her kitchen in hopes of creating safe and stylish lipstick. She was packaging each lipstick by hand and selling them for $20 a piece. 

Most of the sharks, however, didn’t buy into her vision. They thought the bold colors the company emphasizes would not appeal to a big enough audience. Kevin O’leary even said the product might be best fitted for clowns. Melissa and Rosco stood their ground and walked away without an investment. 

An appearance on Shark Tank gave The Lip Bar a great boost. Now, the brand can be found in over 750 Target and 500 Walmart Stores nationwide. They also have a Flagship Store in Downtown Detroit. 

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2. Hammer and Nails

Back in 2013, Michael Elliot needed a place where he could get his nails tended. Michael wanted something more than just the norm but walked into a local nail shop. What he got was a bland looking nail salon with the wrong ambiance. He was met with inquisitive stares and an uncomfortable environment. Michael had to walk out the door, disappointed without having his needs met. So he began the journey to Hammer and Nail, a nail salon specifically designed for men.

Michael Elliot of Hammer and Nails appeared on Season 6 of Shark Tank in 2014. Instead of funding from the Sharks, Michael got a rebuttal by Kelvin O’ Leary. Kelvin thought the idea could never work! 

Micheal walked away without an investment from the Sharks, but appearing on the show attracted other investors who reached out to invest in Hammer and Nails. By mid 2017, the company was valued at $100 million.

3. CBS Foods, later Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish

When Shawn “Check Big Shake” Davis’ 10 year old daughter came home from school declaring she will cut out all meat outside of sea food from her diet, he knew he had a challenge on his hands. He rose up to meet that challenge by creating burger patties made from shrimp. The burgers were such a big hit with family and friends that he created his company and started selling them.

The burgers were also a hit among with the Sharks in Season 2, but they did not love that he only had $30,000 in sales. Shawn walked away without a deal but within a year of the episode airing, the company was worth $5 million. 

In the next few years, Shawn and his family decided to open their own restaurant. Currently, there are 4 Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish locations with more franchises to follow. 

4.  SWAG Essentials

When entrepreneur Lydia Evans came to the Shark Tank in Season 6, her biggest product was the SWAG Bar, an all-in-one soap bar and cleanses and exfoliates the skin. Although the Sharks took a liking to Lydia, they were not impressed with her sales and thought her business was not investable. 

By 2017, Lydia had moved her operations from her 2 bedroom apartment to a 3,000sqft warehouse and expanded her product line. Rebranded as SWAG Supply House, the business now offers a wide variety of grooming products for both men and women. 

5. Simply Panache

Three best friends from Hampton, Virginia came to the Shark Tank in 2013 to pitch “Mango Mango”, a mango preserve company. They were event planners for over 10 years and had used the mango preserve in various recipes that were hits. 

Their pitch was fun, the food they served was loved by the Sharks, but the ladies walked away without a deal. No tears for these ladies because what they did get is $300,000 worth of orders within 48hrs of the episode airing. The product also sold out 5 times on QVC. 

Back in 2012, the company had earned $100,000 in sales from their mango preserves. Now, they make $100,000 every month in sales at their upscale French Creole restaurant inspired by their Mango preserve. But the story doesn’t end there! 

Their company has expanded into a spa, a boutique hotel, a venue, a lounge, and a cafeteria.