Oliver's eponymous hand-knit handbag company, which has been buffeted for nearly a decade by the Purlettes + One community of knitters living at the Redwoods Retirement Community – will be featured on the Dec. 4th episode of Shark Tank, the popular ABC show that features entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to a panel of famed business people and investors in the hopes of getting their financial investment.
Oliver is seeking an investment in exchange for equity ownership in her business, and her application was picked from a pool of 55,000 entrepreneurs to pitch her business to the "sharks."
The Purlettes + One is a group of knitters that first came together at Oliver's request. Recalling that she first learned to knit from her mom and grandmother, Oliver approached the activities director at the Redwoods – she'd taken her kids to the senior community years earlier as part of a playgroup – to see about gathering a group of knitters. And so the Purlettes – their name reflects their “knit one, purl two” expertise, as well as the pearls of wisdom they impart," according to Oliver – was born. The "plus one" refers to Hector Richards, the sole male member of the group.
The relationship with the Purlettes + One has been so successful that Oliver is using it as a model to spread throughout the country. The members are paid for their work, and they meet weekly with Oliver to get new assignments and to turn in their work from the previous week.
The 411: Sarah Oliver Handbags will appear on Shark Tank on ABC (Ch. 7) at 9pm Friday. Dec. 4. The show is slated to include footage of The Purlettes+1 (see below).