How did Lori Greiner get started in business? She is my favorite on “Shark Tank.”
—Jameson West, Providence, R.I.
The Chicago, Ill., native originally planned to be a journalist, graduating with a communications degree, but instead she went to work in consumer products. While laboring away, she kept getting ideas for products that she never created.
Finally frustrated at watching others be successful, she bet on herself and quit the rat race to become an entrepreneur, designing a plastic jewelry organizer that held 100 pairs of earrings. It wasn’t cheap. It cost her $10,000 to get the sample made. Then, she took it out and test marketed it herself in a variety of neighborhoods in Chicago before she finally decided that it would be successful.
To have the mold made that would allow her to produce the earring organizer in bulk cost $300,000. But Greiner talked her way into a loan and then onto QVC and into JCPenney, where her first product took off.
That was more than 15 years ago. Today, Greiner holds 115 U.S. and international patents on a variety of inventions and is known as the queen of QVC, where she sells jewelry cleaners, expandable luggage, kitchen utensils and cosmetic organizers as host of her own show, “Clever & Unique Creations by Lori Greiner.”
With a net worth estimated at more than $15 million, some of Greiner’s most gratifying moments come when she is able to help budding entrepreneurs achieve the same success she enjoys. It is why she decided to become the “warm-blooded shark” on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
“I think that people watching us see that we’re all self-made, that we started from nothing, and we got to where we are. We give them hope,” she says. “Then they watch to learn. I think it’s a big show for people to learn how to do what we did. They listen to us, and they analyze how we analyze the businesses that come in.”