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Finding Triumph After Tragedy

The founders of “Grace & Lace”, Rich & Melissa Hinnant, will share how they started their business and ministry after the loss of their baby and went on to win a partnership on Shark Tank. Read Transcript

TERRY: Rick and Melissa Hinnant we're

excited to start a family.

In 2010 when Melissa was five months pregnant,

she was ordered on bed rest until the baby was born.

To pass the time she started sewing and knitting.

They were heartbroken when Melissa lost the baby two weeks


But Rick and Melissa decided to channel that pain

into something good.

They launched their company Grace and Lace

by making and selling lace socks online.

After appearing on ABC'S ""Shark Tank" in 2013,

they hit $1 million in five days.

TERRY: Joining us now are the founders of Grace and Lace,

Rick and Melissa Hinnant.

And we thank you both for being here.

TERRY: Thank you for having us.

TERRY: We talk first just a little bit to set this up

about the tragedy that you experienced

I mean, you were you having a perfectly normal pregnancy

Melissa before your fifth month?


we had struggled to get pregnant in the beginning.

We had always desired to have a family and but once I was it

was fabulous.

I felt great I didn't have any morning sickness.

Everything was going great until that one doctor's visit.

TERRY: Wow so you really had no preparation for any of what

you were about to embark on.


they put you on bed rest.

And even then you had the hope that if you just did everything

they say you should do, you were going

to deliver this baby normally.

Probably a little bit early but within,

was it a couple of weeks?

MELISSA: I was told, they rushed me in emergency surgery.

The doctor said-- gave me the initial devastating news,

that you're going to give birth to your daughter

within 24 hours and she's not going to survive.

And that was heartbreaking and they rushed me

in emergency surgery and they said

we'll do what we can to try to save her

but you'll remain in the hospital

for potentially four months the duration of the pregnancy.

In order to keep her and for her to be developed enough

to survive.

And so it was during that time, on the bed rest,

in the hospital that I had to lay on my back

and so I began to sew and create.


Out of you out of the pain and really the fear.

I mean, I just can't even imagine

the fear that must have been in your heart

that the potential of this loss.

You start creating, with no idea that it was ever

going to go any where.

It was more something to pass the time it seemed like.

MELISSA: Exactly.

When you're stuck in the hospital

and you know you can watch TV lying on your back and that's

about it.

I needed to pass the time and that's really

where my love for knits grew was on that hospital bed.

TERRY: So Rick in the middle of all

of this chaos and potential tragedy

which had even finished unfolding, how did your faith

impact your ability to endure?

RICK: I would say that was at the forefront of everything.

We were shocked.

And certainly the unknown can be very fearful.

But we love God and we just said this

is what faith is all about.

So instead of being upset about the very inconvenient

situation, we just said, let's bring joy to this situation.

Let's make the best of it.

If this is what it's going to take, to have a healthy child.

No big deal.

We're going to do it no problem.

TERRY: So in the middle of that you begin

to knit a blanket for Haley.

And you went on and finished that

even after Haley had gone to with the Lord.

What was going through your mind then?

MELISSA: You know because I started

making that for her while I was on the bed rest

and after she had passed away and didn't make it,

it was kind of a healing moment for me.

The Lord really spoke to me through those stitches.

I'm just knitting and continuing to make that for her

even though she wasn't there in person.

I kind of felt you know as the my body failed in birthing

and having a child survive.

But I still could create and develop

and something beautiful could come from this yarn.

And so the Lord really really ministered through me

and continued to create with my hands,

even though my body had failed in giving birth to her.

So after the blanket came these legs--

I don't know what you call them.

Boot socks.

MELISSA: Laced topped boot socks.

TERRY: Lace topped boot socks.

So you had people stopping you on the streets,

saying where did you get those?


Yes, you know I made a pair for myself.

And it took me five hours to make

and in fact, I promised him I'd never make another pair again.

So here we are over 100,000 pairs later.

Boot socks.

But yes I put them on, they took five hours to make.

So I'm going to wear them so I get my use out of them.

And everywhere I went people would stop and ask me

where I got them.

TERRY: Now Rick, you have an entrepreneur's heart

and you did long before any of this

began to happen at what point did you say, hey,

let's throw these up online and see if we can get a customer?

RICK: Well when she would come home and have

business cards and handwritten notes of people's information.

Something in me said, we might be on to something.

And let's just try it.

Let's throw it up online and see what happens.


So you threw it up online and you immediately,

really, like within--

MELISSA: They sold instantly.

And then within a matter of three days,

we had over 500 purchase orders.

TERRY: At five hours the pop, that

must have been terrifying to you, can I say.

RICK: Well, you know we're people

that, I think God has instilled in us to be

able to figure things out.

And to turn to Him.

And I just told Melissa I said, you're

not going to make 500 pairs but you know how to make them.

So let's go find as many seamstresses as we can.

And let's teach them how to do it

and then we'll fulfill the orders.

And I thought that'd probably be the end of it.

It wasn't.

Orders just kept coming in.

Not hundreds, it turned in to thousands.

MELISSA: Before we know it we had a business.

TERRY: So from this new business to "Shark Tank"

How did that quantum leap happen?

RICK: Oh goodness.

TERRY: Everybody liked to do that but--

MELISSA: We've always been a fan of "Shark Tank" since season


We don't have time for TV but we'll

watch "Shark Tank" with that entrepreneurial mind in us.

And ever since season one Rick has always said,

Melissa wouldn't it be great if we

had a business that one day we could be on "Shark Tank"?

And I was like, no, no, no, no!

I don't want to be on "Shark Tank" I don't want to get eaten

alive by Mister Wonderful.

TERRY: I think I have to say I'd be right there with you


MELISSA: So when Grace and Lace started, he, behind the scenes

is applying for the show.

And I had no faith we would be on but--

TERRY: But you met a friend of yours?

RICK: Yes.

TERRY: It came forward.

You didn't even know this guy knew or anybody

connected with this show right?

RICK: No, my friend didn't know that we

had a desire to be on "Shark Tank" which I felt was of God.

And so I had applied five times and heard nothing.

And then one phone call to him and I asked him point blank

if he wanted to be a partner with us and he said I do,

but I really feel like you're supposed to be on "Shark Tank".

And so from that, he connected us to a producer

and the rest is history, as we say.

TERRY: You wound up partnering with Barbara from the "Shark

Tank" crew of people.

After the show aired what happened?

RICK: Oh my goodness things exploded.

MELISSA: Sales soared.

Yes, we went from this what we what we thought

was a thriving business to airing in front

of eight million viewers.

TERRY: Good grief

MELISSA: We did over $1 million in business in five days.

RICK: And that had never been done on "Shark Tank"

TERRY: In five days?

RICK: It's never been done.

And so we were excited about seeing the numbers

coming in, but also thinking, oh my goodness.

How are we going to possibly fulfill this many orders?

Because we were used to about 150 to 250 orders per day,

we were now getting 2,000 to 4,000 orders per day.

So we went from six employees before "Shark Tank" to 36

two days after "Shark Tank".

TERRY: Wow wow.

And you've created many more products since then.

MELISSA: Not just boot socks anymore.

TERRY: Yea not just boot socks anymore.

Grace and Lace has expanded.

But in addition to that, you of course,

had this desire to be entrepreneurial,

to have your own business.

But you also had a desire to change and make

a difference in the lives of people

who didn't have the same opportunity, talk about that.

MELISSA: Oh you know we've always been mission minded.

Both of us.

I actually I grew up in a Christian home

but ever since the age of 13, I spent my summers overseas

on mission trips.

And the Lord has just really burdened me

for the poorest of poor.

And the summer of my--

when I was 18, I was in India and I had never

seen poor like that before.

Poverty just, at the most extreme right.


MELISSA: Yes and I left there with a note

my journal that just said, I need to do something more.

I was so burdened.

And never in a million years would I

think that the Lord would, I have thought then,

that the Lord would gives me, give us

a business that would be able to fund and support

the building of orphan-- orphanages there in India.

And we've been able to do just that with Grace and Lace.

TERRY: So through your tragedy, came blessing and opportunity.

I don't know why God chooses sometimes

that it happens that way.

Maybe he takes what is just in the world that's

tragic and then turns around and gives us

beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning.

And out of that, you have reached back

into someone else's tragic circumstances

and made a difference.

Where are you going with all of this, what's your vision?

RICK: Well this is God's business,

we simply steward the business, it's his story.

And if I knew the answer to that I would tell you but honestly I


I think we're just in the beginning phases.

We have a huge heart.

I would like to see this business at 100 million

plus plus plus.

But it's really God's story.

So we're following Him to the best of our ability.

And hopefully he takes it and explodes it

but you know what he may not.

But we're going to do everything that we can to go after him.

Psalm 34:7 excuse me, 37:4, delight yourself in the Lord

and he will grant you the desires of your heart.

So that's what we want to do.

We want to go after Him with all that we've got

and let him bring the desires of our heart to us.

TERRY: How wonderful, Haley's applauding I am sure.

I am sure.

Just want to say that Rick and Melissa are doing so much.

If you're interested in seeing all

that Grace and Lace has to offer, check out their web

site at and also check out

what their company, their corporation

is doing to bless the lives of others.

Thank you both so much.

Great to have you here.

RICK: Thank you, Terry.


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