Melissa and Rick Hinnant are the creators of Grace & Lace, a company that uses its profits to helps orphans in India. The Texas couple became widely-known after appearing in the reality show The Shark Tank, and they are using their online business to help others, Live Action News reported.
Their daughter is the inspiration for their company and the generous contributions they make to Angel House, an organization that works to build orphanages in India. In 2010, the couple discovered that Melissa was pregnant. After five months of pregnancy with her baby girl, Melissa went into preterm labor. She had an emergency surgery and was put on bed rest. Despite the doctors’ efforts to delay labor, her daughter was born two weeks later. Baby Hinnant’s lungs weren’t completely developed yet, and she did not survive outside the womb.
Melissa described the experience in People magazine: “We went through a very, very painful time. But I remember Rick looking at me, and he said we have a choice to make. He said we can either be mad at God and wonder why these things happen, or we can choose to believe there’s a bigger plan here. There’s some purpose, some reason – and something good is going to come out of this.”
While in the hospital, Melissa took up sewing to pass the time. In fall of 2011, she said she began wearing a pair of lace leg warmers she made, and people took notice.
“Everywhere I wore them, people would ask me where I got them,” she said. “So I put them up online, and within 48 hours we had over 400 requests for them.”
Thus began the business Grace and Lace. As the business expanded, the Hinnants made a television appearance. This promotion increased their orders from 200 a day to 3,000 a day, according to the report. This was when Melissa realized that they had an opportunity to honor their daughter’s memory and help other children.
After their business took off, Melissa and Rick began working with Angel House to accomplish their mission. When Melissa was 18 she had volunteered in India, and she said she was excited to do more.
Melissa told People: “When I found out my friends were doing this, it just lined up and I said, ‘This is it, we’re supposed to link our business to this.’ And right then and there we committed that a portion of our proceeds would go to Angel House, towards funding and building orphanages from the ground up.”
Live Action News reported on the contribution Melissa and Rick made to Angle House: “Today, the couple has helped to open seven orphanages, helping hundreds of children get off the streets and out of the slums of India. They provide them with shelter, a mattress, three meals a day, water, house parents, and a private school education. In addition, they have opened a freedom home in Nepal that works to save women from human trafficking.”
After experiencing the heartbreak of losing their daughter, the Hinnants have dedicated their business to helping children. Their story is an example of how much of an impact every life has, no matter how short.