Jewish Journal

A Conversation with Lori Greiner of Shark Tank

by Ilana Angel

February 10, 2012 | 3:25 pm

Lori Greiner

I love ABC’s Shark Tank.  It is fun, smart and thoroughly entertaining.  The idea of watching the American dream come true for someone is exhilarating, and truth be told,  I happen to think Kevin O’Leary is one of the sexiest men on television.  I dig his bald head and wicked sense of humor. The American dream is a beautiful thing, but this man is divine.

I like all the sharks actually.  They fit together well and balance each other out.  This is reality television at its best and I look forward to it each week.  When people have mortgaged their homes and sacrificed everything for something they believe in and are passionate about, I get invested and excited for them when the sharks bite, and crushed for them when they don’t.

If you are not watching this show I suggest you give it a look.  Watch one time and I guarantee you will be hooked.  This week marks the debut of a new shark when they welcome Lori Greiner to the Shark Tank.  I spoke with Lori recently about her new gig and I must tell you, I really liked her.  She was sincere and humble, and while super sweet, there is a shark in her.

Lori Greiner knows what will make money.  She is the Queen of QVC with over 350 products.  She turned her idea for a jewelry box into a multi-million dollar company.  She may be petite and pageant pretty, but this chick knows her stuff. She is business minded to be sure, but in talking to her you quickly see that at her core she is decent, and wants to help people succeed.

She told me the greatest joy in achieving the American dream is to be able to help others do the same thing.  She owns 110 patents which is crazy.  That alone is impressive, but factor in that she is a multi-millionaire, and she rocks.  We’re not talking about a women who invents things in her basement and has a stack of rejection letters.  Lori Greiner is the big league.

Lori lives in Chicago with her husband, who works with her.  She is educated, artistic, and a visionary.  Her first big hit was an earring organizer, and to hear her tell the story of how it came to be is fascinating.  From the inception of the idea, to the development, and countless prototypes, I would have given up, but she is tenacious in her goals and she fought hard to make it perfect.

She is driven, focused, and not intimidated by a challenge.  She is also a perfectionist and will not sell anything not up to her standards, which are high.  She does not give up and is keenly aware of what it means to have an entrepreneurial spirit. She will be looking for those people on Shark Tank.  It’s not enough to have a good idea, you need to believe in your product and yourself.

Lori is looking for people with “gumption”, which I love.  That is a good word.  She wants people to be careful, proceed with caution, and license their ideas.  Don’t be intimidated, be confident, and trust their instincts.  If I were going on Shark Tank I would want Lori as my shark because she cares.  She’s there to help people, which trumps the money, which is not very shark like.

She’s there to make money for sure, but she wants to walk next to someone on their journey, not shove them aside and take over.  She is supportive, and while I have not seen her first episode yet, she was kind and supportive of me during our interview.  She laughs easily, and has a girlfriend vibe to her.  I liked her and even more importantly,  trusted her, which I think is rare.

Lori told me she is not only looking at the products but at the people.  She wants to build relationships with the contestants because she will be in business with them, and relationships matter.  She is picking wisely in terms of those she wants to take under her wing.  She’s no push over.  She truly wants to help and has a soft spot for people who are trying so hard to make it.

In terms of the other sharks, Lori says Damon and Kevin are very funny, Robert is incredibly kind, and Mark is brilliant.  I love the sharks and think they are all fabulous so it will be interesting to see how Lori fits into a group that works so well together. Robert is the one I would want to be friends with, and Kevin is the one I want to have dinner with.  Call me Kevin.

I asked Lori to tell me three words that best described her and she chose smart, kind and driven.  She describes herself as a caring person who thinks people matter most.  I suppose some may think that sounds made up for TV, and we’ll see how she is tonight, but in the 30 minutes I spoke with her, I can tell you that she is smart, quick, charming and very, very warm.

At some point I simply stopped taking notes and listened to her as if we were hanging out and having a coffee together.  Great for me because I loved it, not so great for this article because my notes are a little light.  This is the type of woman that one is perhaps intimidated by because she is smart, wealthy and takes no crap, but she’s also very sweet and invested in people.

She has made a lot of money. A lot.  That is not her motivation though.  The thrill of success drives her, but the success does not need to be hers.  She has been helping people long before she found her way to Shark Tank, so it makes sense they have added her on.  I love Barbara and so I was a new woman in the shark tank, but Lori has won me over.  She is inspiring.

This is a self-made woman who loves her family, her employees, and her work.  She is there to help others achieve her same success and I think we will all be cheering her on tonight.  This article could prove to not match what we see tonight, but I don’t think that will be the case.  Lori Greiner is the real thing, and tonight on Shark Tank we are going to love how she is keeping it real.

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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