MilSpouse on Shark Tank Tonight!

watch a milso on sharktank tonight!

I bet you didn’t know your plans tonight involved watching ABC’s business-pitch reality show, Shark Tank. But with a military spouse on tonight pitching her own product, we should all tune in.

Because I write for Military.com’s Spouse Employment Center, I talk to a lot of  spouses who have great ideas for companies. They’re marketing their own products, inventing great things, taking photographs, selling homemade crafts, opening up stores… all while also balancing military life and, frequently, parenthood. It’s impressive, to say the least. For Lakesha Brown-Renfro, all of that is just another day at work. And right now, that work is running an event planning company and selling their very own preserves, Mango Mango.

Lakesha and her two partners at Simply Panache, decided to go commercial with Mango Mango after the preserves they used in various recipes at their parties became a huge hit. “Every recipe that we used our preserve in became wildly popular,” Lakesha said. “So we decided to produce our mango preserves for retail sale.”

The preserves are everything you’d want them to be, and nothing else: mango, sugar, lime juice, and vanilla. They’re made in small batches, and they’re terrific on just about everything, Lakesha says. “We call our preserves a PARTY in a jar because you can use our preserves over 100 ways. For starters: Spread it on breads, Mix it with cream cheese for a delicious fruit dip, Shake it with red wine vinegar and olive oil for a Mangolicious vinaigrette or stir it in shrimp and a ginger spice for a mango ginger shrimp.”

Just like their clients encouraged them to make the jelly for sale, they also urged the women to go on Shark Tank. The competition better beware, though, because Lakesha has an entrepreneurial spirit that’s hard to beat. It’s also one that a deployment helped come to life.

“My husband proudly serves his country in the world’s greatest Navy and, for me, being a military spouse/entrepreneur has sometimes had a bittersweet element,” Lakesha says. ” You see, we started this second business (food production company, actually making the mango preserves) during one of the hardest times for my family and I: during my husband’s Afghanistan deployment, the longest deployment of his career.”

We all know deployments can be hard, but for Lakesha, Mango Mango helped ease the strain.

“I started this business while missing my husband in every possible way and doing my absolute best to manage my young daughter’s sadness at missing her father every second of every day. This was bittersweet, because it was both challenging and a blessing at the same time. It was challenging for obvious reasons, but it was a blessing because it gave me a wonderfully productive distraction and made the time of my husband’s deployment seem to pass more quickly.”

If only all of our deployment projects turned out so successfully! Be sure to tune in tonight to see Lakesha “take a dip” in the tank.

And for anyone who decided to take home a little Mango Mango of their own (because we’re all in the business of supporting other military spouses), I highly recommend adding it and a little coconut and some cashews to your morning oatmeal. Mango is delicious all day long!

Tell us: If you were going to pitch an idea on Shark Tank, what would it be?

About the Author

Raleigh Duttweiler
Raleigh Duttweiler is a writer and social media expert living just outside the gates of MacDill in sunny Saint Petersburg, Florida. A Marine Corps wife, she has navigated the stress of Active Duty moves, trainings, and deployments, and now that her family has transitioned to the Reserves, she's experiencing the "weekend warrior" side of military life. (NB: It's not quite as part-time as advertised.) When not writing about benefits and military families, Raleigh posts here about truly life-altering, important issues like What Not to Wear to a Military Ball (visible thongs), Military Halloween Costumes We Love to Hate (ones that generally resemble both military uniforms AND thongs), and how to pack awesome care packages. She is passionate about spouse employment, higher education, and helping families navigate the often-bumpy transition back into civilian life. Raleigh also manages the SpouseBUZZ and Military.com Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages, so be sure to say hi!
  • sabrinacking

    Ladies you did a GREAT job!

  • debbib

    Great Job!!! I just went on Amazon and bought my jars!!! Hope recipes come with it.

    • jane washington

      How did u find it on amazon?

  • Mary in Wichita

    I saw the program. Where can it be purchased? I didn’t see it on amazon.
    Thank You

  • Mary in Wichita

    I found the site at http://amangoparty.com/
    Thank You

  • jane

    Went to the website and it is working now so i was able to purchase mine.

  • carol franklin

    I ordered mines on Amazon last Friday and got a reply they are out of Mango Mango and wanted to know if I would try something else..