Mango Mango: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Sweet, plump, and fragrant, tropical mangoes work well in so many recipes, from sugared mango muffins to a summery pureed mango dipping sauce. For Tanecia Willis, Lakesha Brown-Renfro, and Nzinga Teule-Hekima, their love of mangoes also turned into a juicy business idea.

The three women — a military wife, a registered nurse, and a physician — originally formed an event planning business together, called Simply Panache, established in Hampton, Virginia in 2001. It's here that they began incorporating homemade mango preserve into recipes they prepared for their clients, spreading it on toasts, bagels, or croissants, mixing it with cream cheese for a dip, shaking it with red wine vinegar and olive to oil for a fruity vinaigrette, and stirring it with their "Jammin' ginger party mix" to make mango ginger shrimp. And thus the idea for Mango Mango was born.

As the positive feedback from clients grew, so did the realization that the trio could start commercially producing and selling the preserves. They took Mango Mango to farmers' markets and food shows, often selling out of stock, and were soon picked up by three Whole Foods markets. Keen to take the growing business to a new level, the entrepreneurs then turned to "Shark Tank."

What happened to Mango Mango on 'Shark Tank'?

Mango Mango had been in business just 18 months by the time Tanecia Willis, Lakesha Brown-Renfro, and Nzinga Teule-Hekima appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2013, where they sought $75,000 for a 20% stake of the company. They said the investment was needed to help open a larger production facility. Armed with the catchy jingle, "Spread it, mix it, shake it, stir it," the trio noted their preserve could be used in over 100 ways, and demonstrated some recipes for the hungry sharks. Not only that, but they explained the tasty treat contained only four natural ingredients: mango, pure cane sugar, vanilla extract, and fresh lime juice.

The sharks loved the taste of the preserves, with Lori Greiner saying the mango lemonade was "delicious," and Robert Herjavec especially impressed by the mango-spiced shrimp. When Kevin O'Leary questioned the uniqueness of the product, he received the reply, "No one is working that jelly like us."

The ladies also offered some solid numbers, noting they had made $138,000 year to date with Mango Mango, and had projected sales of $291,000 for the coming year. The preserves, they said, are made for around $2.20 for the cost of goods and sold for $3.96. But, the sharks questioned the high price of the jars and also suggested that they should perhaps find a co-packer to handle production and shipping labor. Herjavec also worried that he'd "eat all the profits." In the end, despite all of the sharks being impressed by the flavor of the product, none of them offered Mango Mango a deal, and the trio left empty-handed.

Mango Mango after 'Shark Tank'

Although Mango Mango didn't partner with a shark, Tanecia Willis, Lakesha Brown-Renfro, and Nzinga Teule-Hekima saw an immediate boost in sales after their appearance on "Shark Tank" in 2013. The business reportedly received more than 15,000 orders within 48 hours of the episode airing, equating to almost 100,000 jars worth over $300,000. When Mango Mango debuted on shopping channel QVC a short time after, the product sold out five times.

Due to the popularity, Mango Mango preserves went on to be stocked in all Whole Foods stores in the Mid-Atlantic region as well as specialty and gourmet stores nationwide, with the company's revenue reaching over $1 million in sales. Realizing they needed to scale up, the trio had to ask friends and family to help them and their four employees fulfill orders — but even then, it took them about six months to process them all.

With their earnings, the trio went on to open a community bistro, named Mango Mangeaux, in Hampton, Virginia in 2016. They began to use the space for private events, brunch, and catering opportunities, as well as for the production and distribution of their mango preserves. Unsurprisingly, many menu items feature the preserve that started it all, with dishes such as fried chicken French toast with Mango Mango whipped butter, and Chesapeake eggs benedict with lump crab, Cajun hollandaise sauce, and Mango Mango fruit dip.

Is Mango Mango still in business?

Mango Mango preserves are still available to buy online, and the eatery also started by founders Tanecia Willis, Lakesha Brown-Renfro, and Nzinga Teule-Hekima is still going strong. By 2020, the bistro, which specializes in French Creole dishes and neo-soul food, was bringing in over $100,000 a month (via USA Today) and had 45 employees on the payroll.

Mango Mangeaux is clearly still very popular, with an average Google rating of 4.3 stars from 2,168 reviews. "The food was fantastic and everything I would expect from a Creole bistro, but with a mango twist on everything from our drinks to the tartar sauce to the dessert," says one review from August 2023. "I will definitely be going here again!" The three entrepreneurs also try to help out the local community where they can. During the pandemic, when the area's school lunch program was suspended, they provided free lunches for nearly 1,200 students.

Though Mango Mango has been quiet on Instagram since 2019, the company is still active on Facebook, sharing recipe ideas, such as Mango Mango tea with coconut rum, and providing regular offers, such as free shipping on their preserves. 

What's next for Mango Mango?

In addition to running Mango Mango and their bistro Mango Mangeaux, Tanecia Willis, Lakesha Brown-Renfro, and Nzinga Teule-Hekima continue to be busy around the Hampton, Virginia area where their businesses initially took root. In addition, they run a boutique hotel called Simply Panache Place, as well as the Simply Panache Nail Bar & Medi Spa, a private social club called Noir: A Simply Panache Lounge, and Charlotte's: A Simply Panache Cafeteria. They have also transformed The Hampton, a historic space which dates back to 1919, into an open floorplan event venue for weddings, corporate events, fashion shows, and more.

According to LinkedIn, Brown-Renfro appears to be running the business full-time, while Teule-Hekima is still splitting her time producing mango preserves with her other role as Acting Health Director at Peninsula Health Department, where she has worked since 2005. Willis is also in healthcare, with an IT consulting job at Vernell Payne Group LLC, where she has been since 2010.

The trio said in 2020 that they were trying to constantly "reach out and spread love" in their business community (via The Scout Guide). Despite a lack of investment from the sharks, it seems as though they are continuing to do exactly that.