Lessons from Shark Tank’s Most Successful Female Entrepreneurs

If you’re anything like me, you probably find yourself glued to the TV whenever “Shark Tank” is on. For those who might not know, “Shark Tank” is a reality TV show where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of wealthy investors, hoping to secure funding.

In a business world where many women have traditionally felt unseen or shut out (as of 2023, only 53 women CEOs run Fortune 500 companies), “Shark Tank” has played a crucial role in levelling the playing field. The show’s entrepreneurs have invested millions of dollars into female-owned businesses that might have otherwise struggled to get noticed. Here are some of the most successful female entrepreneurs from “Shark Tank” and the lessons we’ve learned from their journeys.

Leila Shams: TA3 Swimwear

  • The Idea: Leila Shams founded TA3 Swimwear, a brand focused on helping women feel confident in their swimwear with sculpting, supportive, waist-cinching designs.
  • Where are they now: Despite not securing a deal on the show, TA3 Swimwear thrived, generating $20 million in revenue in 2023. The company uses technology like the YourFit recommendation tool to help customers find the right size, making swimwear shopping stress-free. Shams’ mission to create clothes that fit every body type continues to empower women globally.

Sarah Lee and Christine Chang: Glow Recipe

Photo by The Glow Recipe Team
  • The Idea: Sarah Lee and Christine Chang founded Glow Recipe, a K-beauty skincare brand offering innovative, fruit-forward products.
  • Where are they now: Glow Recipe has achieved tremendous success, generating $100 million in sales by 2021 and growing to a $300 million valuation by 2024. The founders use their platform to support other female entrepreneurs and advocate for diversity and inclusion, particularly within the Asian community.

Julia Cheek: Everlywell

  • The Idea: Julia Cheek founded Everlywell, an at-home health testing company offering a convenient and accessible way for people to manage their health.
  • Where are they now: Everlywell has raised over $255 million in funding and expanded to become Everly Health, with a valuation of $2.2 billion. Cheek focuses on championing women in leadership roles and supports female founders through networking and mentorship.

Melissa Butler: The Lip Bar

  • The Idea: Melissa Butler founded The Lip Bar, a vegan beauty brand offering inclusive products for all skin tones without harmful chemicals.
  • Where are they now: The Lip Bar has expanded from 12 lipstick shades to 150, secured $6.7 million in funding, and is now available in Target and Walmart. Butler’s dedication to inclusivity and women’s empowerment continues to inspire and challenge traditional beauty standards.

Tracey Noonan and Danielle Vilagie: Wicked Good Cupcakes

  • The Idea: Mother-daughter duo Tracey Noonan and Danielle Vilagie founded Wicked Good Cupcakes, a company specialising in cupcakes in jars for convenient and delicious treats.
  • Where are they now: Wicked Good Cupcakes grew from $150,000 in sales to $10 million by 2016 and was acquired by Hickory Farms in 2021. Noonan and Vilagie continue to inspire through their “Don’t Call Me Cupcake” podcast and their commitment to supporting other female entrepreneurs.

Fiona Co Chan: Youthforia

Photo by Fiona Co Chan
  • The Idea: Fiona Co Chan founded Youthforia, a beauty brand creating makeup that’s good for the skin, even safe enough to sleep in.
  • Where are they now: Youthforia generates $1.9 million annually and is available in stores like ULTA and Credo Beauty. Chan is a vocal advocate for mental health and anti-bullying initiatives, particularly within the AAPI community.

A Lasting Impact

The women entrepreneurs of “Shark Tank” have brought some of the most innovative and successful products to the market, and with their tenacity, continue to serve as powerful inspirations to budding entrepreneurs. These women have not only achieved financial success but have also broken barriers and paved the way for future generations of female entrepreneurs.

If you’re inspired by these stories and want to see more groundbreaking ideas from women founders, don’t miss the She Loves Tech Global Startup Competition.

This is your chance to gain global exposure, dynamic connections, and access to top investors and industry experts. If you have a tech startup with an MVP and have raised less than US$5M, and at least one female founder or a focus on majority female consumers/end-users, this competition is for you.

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