ABC’s hit entrepreneurial show “Shark Tank” premiered its 13th season with a historic first by debuting its first Black woman guest host.
Emma Grede was a guest shark on the Oct. 8 season premiere. She is the first Black female investor in the reality business show’s 12-year history. Grede is the CEO and co-founder of Khloe Kardashian’s fashion brand Good American and also the founding partner of Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS brand.
‘Know the stats’
As a guest judge, the 39-year-old said she was not looking for entrepreneurs who mirrored her success. Instead, she was looking to give a seat at an exclusive table.
“It’s much more about supporting women, Black women, founders of color,” she told CNBC. “We all know the stats. The investment and the fundraising is low on the ground for certain groups, especially women. And so for me, that was really my focus.”
On the season premiere, Grede invested in Philomina Kane’s hoodie company. The 26-year-old Bronx native started Kin Apparel with just $500. So far, this year her start-up has generated $355,000 in sales. Grede said Kane’s company had a “huge window of opportunity.”
“Retailers are looking for Black female founders,” she said during the show.
Who runs the world?
Black women entrepreneurs remain the fastest-growing entrepreneurs in the US, according to Forbes. Grede contributes to that stat. By the time she moved to Los Angeles from London in 2017, the Black British fashion guru was the founder of ITB Worldwide, a talent and influencer agency with offices in London, New York, and Los Angeles.
“I’ve been doing celebrity partnerships for a long time, and I started to realize that a lot of what I was being asked to do was to put together very ‘diverse’ campaigns,” Grede told Elle UK. “Oftentimes, I would cast women [in a campaign] for a brand that didn’t make clothes that would fit them.‘I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we created a company where we made clothes for every woman, and the company looked exactly like the ‘diverse’ campaign, with me at the helm, a Black woman?”, and it worked.'”
Diversity in the business world
Like Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, Grede has long been a champion for inclusivity in her brand as well.
The Good American, for example, focuses on body positivity. Launched in 2016, it’s considered one of the “biggest apparel in launch in history” making one million dollars its first day. Sizes in denim range from 00 to 24.
“I never set out to create a company that was rooted in principles of diversity,” Grede told Bustle. “That’s just what happens when a Black woman is at the helm of a company. Decisions are made with this viewpoint that I grew up [with]. The women in my family are super curvy, and I don’t want to count a whole bunch of people out because fashion can’t be bothered or can’t figure it out.”
Good American is sold at select Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus stores.
Regular hosts — Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary, and Daymond John — return in the new season. Chairman and founder of KIND Daniel Lubetzky will also reoccur on the show. Comedian Kevin Hart and Nirav Tolia, the co-founder of neighborhood watch security cam app Nextdoor will appear on the show in upcoming episodes.
Watch “Shark Tank” on Fridays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Deidre Redhead is a junior journalism and international relations student at Stony Brook University. Her bylines include The Statesman and Mission Magazine.