Share this story...
Latest News

Valley entrepreneurs to be featured on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ on Friday

Skylar Bennett and Kevin Shoemaker (American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

PHOENIX — A pair of East Valley entrepreneurs are putting their business to the test when they appear on TV’s “Shark Tank” on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Skylar Bennett and Kevin Shoemaker of Mesa will attempt to convince a group of tycoons known as the “sharks” to invest in their Gilbert-based small business Tough Apparel, which sells durable men’s accessories.

“Having our business profiled on ‘Shark Tank’ is unlike anything we ever imagined,” Bennett said in a press release.

The former commercial real estate agents in 2017 developed a line of durable, machine-washable ties.

“We took a risk, quit our jobs, and threw ourselves into developing a line of durable and machine-washable ties that could stand up to the wear-and-tear of real life,” Bennett said.

Shoemaker added, “Really, it all boils down to taking an idea you’re passionate about and running with it.”

The two on their website said they have been watching the Emmy Award-winning show for years, currently in its 11th season, and made it through an applicant pool of thousands who want to take their business to the next level.

“Being able to introduce our products to the self-made business pros on ‘Shark Tank’, and getting their feedback, is unbelievable,” Shoemaker said.

There have been at least a handful of Valley people on that show over the years.

Brothers Brian and Michael Speciale back in 2017 secured a $50,000 investment from the show for their product Original Comfy.

Phoenix creators of a tipping app also landed a $150,000 investment for their company as well in 2017 after pitching their business on the show.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit

Show Podcasts and Interviews

Reporter Stories