When stressed, one of the best things to do is go outdoors, meditate, and relax your body. Yellow Leaf Hammocks, woven by the Mlabri tribe of Thailand, are the perfect option for these situations. The founders, Rachel Connors and Joe Demin, pitched their product on Shark Tank and got a deal with Daniel Lubetzky. As of 2023, Yellow Leaf Hammocks is worth $4 million.
Rachel Connors and Joe Demin are husband and wife, hailing from Los Angeles, California. Joe attended DePaul University to study finance and majored in real estate, graduating in 2006.
After college, Denim was recruited into a property development business and worked there for several months. However, he was later forced to resign due to the financial crisis in 2008.
Before this, his partner graduated with a degree in public relations and political science from the University of Florida. In 2007, she was a development intern at a PR agency called Girl About Town Communications.
Founding Yellow Leaf Hammocks
Denim and Connors went to Hawaii with the goal of empowering unprivileged people. Later on, the couple traveled to Thailand, where they went on a motorbike journey that took them to the best hammock weavers in the Mlabri tribe.
When the pair returned home, they decided to start a business for people with fewer opportunities. So, they established Yellow Leaf Hammocks in 2011, producing hand-crafted cotton hammocks in various colors.
To help their crafters, the duo cut out the middleman in their business model. Their product steadily gained traction in the market because of positive reviews, saying it’s high quality but low cost. By 2018, the company reported annual sales of $860,000.
Shark Tank Pitch
Joe and Rachel appeared on season 11 of Shark Tank in 2019. They requested $400,000 in exchange for a 7% stake in their company. Then, the founders explained the objectives and details of their hammock products to the Sharks.
Billionaire Daniel Lubetzky was impressed with the product and offered them the money but for 33% equity. Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec were also interested, so they named their own prices
The three investors were very eager to invest in the hammock company, so they kept changing their offers. It ended when Daniel offered $1 million for 25% equity, which the entrepreneurs couldn’t say no to.
Update After Shark Tank
Before Shark Tank, Joe and Rachel partnered with Virgin Cruise Lines for overseas transactions. Moreover, the deal between the founders and Daniel Lubetzky was a success. The celebrity investor was very vocal in his enthusiasm to help the startup.
However, they were deeply affected by the pandemic as the company’s cruise ship sales fell to their lowest point because transportation inside and outside of every country was limited.
The company sells through Amazon, where they continue to receive five-star reviews for how comfortable their hammocks are. Now that the economy is steadily recovering and so is Yellow Leaf Hammocks. It is currently making $1 million annually and the business is worth an estimated $4 million.