SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's been four years since Southern Pines business "R. Riveter" made an appearance on ABC's Shark Tank, seeing significant expansion and employment growth within the military community.
Cameron Cruse, a co-founder of the handbag company, alongside her friend, Lisa Bradley, has been on a mission to help employ military spouses since their inception in 2011.
Their business focuses on creating American-made handbags and accessories with the help of military spouses. After opening up a shop in Southern Pines, Cruse and Bradley had the opportunity to make an appearance on ABC's Shark Tank in 2016. There, they shared their product with the 'sharks' and struck a deal with billionaire investor Mark Cuban.
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Cruse and Bradley's success on the show led to more TV appearances, allowing them to watch their business boom.
"It really has been an incredible blessing. You know, Mark's a great guy; he's really been there for us. Since the partnership, we've gotten partnerships with brands like QVC," Cruse said.
In the last four years, the company has employed 42 team members, known as "Remote Riveters". Cruse says there are military spouses spread across 15 states. The "Remote Riveters" duty is to craft components of the handbag from their homes and then ship them to their manufacturing and warehouse centers in Southern Pines and Wauchula, Florida.
In addition to the manufacturing expansion, the business owners have also opened a storefront in Columbus, Ohio. Cruse says their mission is to provide a flexible job for spouses who are constantly on the move.
"We needed something, not just for ourselves, but for every other military spouse that was in our same shoes. And so, we started the company to provide that mobile, flexible income that military spouses and families are looking for," Cruse said.
Despite the financial woes that came with COVID-19, Cruse says they've been able to continue to provide that opportunity for military families.
"I think surviving 2020 and surviving the pandemic is just something to be grateful for and just so happy to be here more than ever," Cruse added.
Cruse tells ABC11 they intend to further expand their network of military spouses and double their numbers in the coming year. If you are a military spouse looking for work, you can contact them for employment possibilities at the R. Riveter website.
Business run by military spouse continues to find success after Shark Tank appearance