At the age of 16, Tyla-Simone Crayton made an entrepreneurial pitch for her Sienna Sauce brand to a panel of investors on the show, ‘Shark Tank,’ to showcase her business venture for possible investment.
Impressed by her pitch, one of the Shark Tank investors, Kendra Scott, immediately made an offer after her presentation, and offered Crayton $100,000 for a 20 percent stake in her company.
She accepted the offer, while her appearance on the show also helped her to sell about $300,000 worth of products in 24 hours, InsideEdition reported. Now 19, Crayton says she is yet to receive the $100,000 from Scott.
“We didn’t receive the $100,000 because we’re still in due diligence. We’d love to have her. We’d still be interested but it just hasn’t come into fruition,” she told Inside Edition. However, representatives of Scott say they are doing due diligence on the deal made on Shark Tank, and added that they are yet to come to an agreement as it relates to the financial investment.
As a result of the delay, Crayton decided to raise the capital on her own. She has reportedly raised $100,000 on Wefunder in order to keep her business running, and is running the company while schooling. Now a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, she is hoping to apply to the University’s business school.
Crayton fell in love with sauce from her favorite chicken wing spot in New York City. When she relocated to Houston, she recreated the flavor in her kitchen, and with the assistance of her mom, started bottling it, giving birth to Sienna Sauce.
Today, Sienna Sauce is sold in more than 500 retail stores including Target, Hy-Vee, Wegmans, World Market, Walmart.com, and Amazon. The entrepreneur says her focus now is to get her sauce into school cafeterias and restaurants.
“She’s also partnered with a national distributor, which is going to open up so many doors for us for 2023,” her mom said.
Starting Sienna Sauce and hitting success did not come easy for Crayton and her mother. She recalled that she and her mother were homeless for some time, but that did not deter her from achieving her dreams.
“I remember when my mom used to wake up early in the morning, and heat up the car for me, and then make sure it was warm, and tuck me in, so we would be warm,” Crayton says.
“We were never mentally homeless, and I want people to understand that,” her mom said, getting emotional. “That’s the biggest piece for me. And I never sugarcoated anything for Tyla-Simone.”