During a recent episode of ABC’s Shark Tank, Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary brought a contestant to tears, calling her a ‘crazy chicken.’
Raquel Graham, the founder of Chicago-based apparel startup Roq Innovation, pushed her clothing to investors on the show, and O’Leary noted her enthusiasm.
“You’re a crazy chicken,” O’Leary told Graham, referring to her energetic personality. “I like crazy chickens.”
The entrepreneur was also impressed with Graham’s perseverance. After launching in 2014, Roq Innovation initially struggled as a seasonal business, but Graham said her company earned more than $2.4 million in sales at the time of filming.
Graham said on the show that despite having to close her factory in 2020 due to the pandemic, her flagship item, Roq Innovation’s flagship product, Headlightz, a set of hats and headbands with removable and rechargeable LED lights, changed things.
By the end of 2020, Headlightz was projected to earn $1.7 million in revenue, and late last year, it made Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things List for 2021. Graham also discussed a bevy of medical issues she went through, including a misdiagnosed case of fungal pneumonia that left her unable to walk, a stroke, and lung failure.
O’Leary offered Graham $200,000 for a royalty agreement and 20% of the company, with a royalty of each hat worth $2. Once O’Leary makes his investment back, the royalty would drop to $1 a hat. A second investor, Peter Jones, threw in a competing offer: $200,000 for 25% of Roq Innovation and assistance promoting Headlightz internationally.
The two investors eventually agreed to a joint offer to Graham: $200,000 for 20% of the company, with a $1 royalty on every hat, which would last until the two investors earned back a total of $600,000.
Graham accepted the offer telling the two, “it’s been an incredibly difficult journey getting here.”
“All this hard work has paid off. Having two Sharks — Mr. Wonderful and Peter — makes it all worthwhile, and I cannot wait to get started,” Graham added.