Swimming with sharks
A 17-year-old Texas entrepreneur has struck gold with her business, thanks to a fellow Texan on Shark Tank.
Tyla-Simone Crayton, who lives in Missouri City (near Houston) and is CEO of her wing-style sauce company Sienna Sauce, landed a $100,000 investment for her business from jewelry and design maven, "shark" Kendra Scott in a recent episode. In return, Scott, who boasts a billion-dollar brand, nets 20 percent of Crayton’s company.
“I was so impressed with Tyla-Simone’s creativity and drive during her pitch in the tank,” Scott says. “As a fellow female entrepreneur and Texan, I’m excited to see our partnership grow.”
Crayton first created her own wing-style sauce when she was a mere 8 years old. She and her family, who originally hail from Brooklyn, New York, started selling wings out of their Sienna Plantation home (hence the company name) and quickly hatched a plan for a business. She launched Sienna Sauce when she was 14.
“I would wake up Sunday mornings, hand-bottle the sauce, package it, and then sell it to my local community,” Crayton told CultureMap news partner ABC13. “Once I got enough money from that, we were able to go to a professional manufacturer and get my sauce manufactured.”
In the episode, Crayton credited Shark Tank for inspiring her to start a business and even harked to a time when her family was homeless. The Sharks were visibly moved and impressed; Scott praised the young entrepreneur, calling her “amazing,” declaring, “I am the Shark for you,” and promising help with distribution, shelf space, and more.
Sienna Sauce is available in three flavors: tangy, lemon pepper, and spicy. Currently, Clayton’s products are available on Amazon.com and in more than 70 independent stores and chains across Texas and the U.S. — including some H-E-B stores.