The Crossfit craze has swept the nation and the world over the past 10 years. And weightlifting, which was once reserved for professional athletes and the muscles heads on Venice Beach, is now popular across all ages and demographics, including your grandparents.
If you’ve jumped on the weightlifting bandwagon, then you know how easy it is to tear the skin on your hands. Olympic weightlifters pride themselves on the calluses they develop overtime. It’s a war-wound of sorts they can brag about.
But for the rest of us, who don’t live and breathe Olympic weightlifting, but still enjoy it from time to time, we have The Natural Grip: Reusable cotton hand protectors for working out designed and produced by an Army captain.
With the slogan, “Ripped Hands Suck,” Army Capt. Ashley Drake, who had fallen in love with Crossfit, created The Natural Grip in order to prevent her own hands from being ripped and torn while working out. But it wasn’t until she took her product to ABC’s “Shark Tank” and made a deal with master shark Robert Herjavec that her business really took off.
“I would say that ‘Shark Tank’ might have been more stressful than being deployed because it was just me,” Drake told ABC news.
Drake spent 15 months deployed in Iraq, but says she always felt safe because she was part of a team.
“The Natural Grip was created out of the need to prevent my own hands from ripping and tearing while working out,” said Drake in an interview with ABC. “It was hard to find things to fit my hands because as a female I have smaller hands and nothing I was using was working. It was either too thick or bulky. It was hindering my grip on the bar. And I think my husband was sick of hearing me whine and complain and he wanted to try and help me solve that problem, so he created these things, which we now call The Natural Grip.”
Her business was an instant success, receiving 150 orders the first week her Facebook page was live. But she knew she needed more to grow the business and that’s where “Shark Tank” came into play. Prior to her episode airing, Drake’s company was doing about $10,000 a month in sales. Once “Shark Tank” aired, that number skyrocketed to $130,000 a month.
An Army captain, entrepreneur, “Shark Tank” alum and wife, Drake is also the mother of a three-year-old little girl.