When it comes to moving with intention, Deborah Torres could write a book or two!
The founder of Atlas Monroe — a vegan fried chicken company — is on its way to becoming the largest manufacturer of deep-fried vegan chicken across the globe even after turning down a $1 million offer on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
That’s right, Torres has maintained 100 percent ownership of the company since she appeared on the episode back in 2019.
In an exclusive email interview with AfroTech, Torres explained how the “Shark Tank” decision actually took a toll on her.
“My Shark Tank experience rocked me to the core,” explained Torres. “I was not nervous. I was surprised and disappointed that they withdrew the first offer. ”
During her experience, Torres notes how while the entrepreneurial-themed reality television show recognized her company’s worth, they refused to truly see her individual worth.
“Anyone that knows me knows that I am a genuine, down-to-earth, upfront kind of person who is determined, hardworking, and unwavering – and it is who I’ve been my whole life,” shared Torres. “I’m a person very capable of failures like anyone else, but I continue to learn and get back up 10xs stronger because I’ve been raised to work 10xs harder, just to be able to receive the same recognition.”
Recognition like garnering the attention of a huge national chain at such a small stage in her business, graduating high school at 15-years-old, earning her first degree at age 17, having zero debt, and drawing in $250,000 in sales within the first year and a half of launching her business.
Torres says that despite hearing all of this, “Shark Tank” flipped the fair deal that was on the table offering her $1 million for the entire company just for her to lose the rights and be stripped of her power.
“I would be devastated to see my company go on to make millions and myself and my people profiting very little from it after working so hard,” continued Torres. “As a Black woman we are treated as disposable and the truth is we cannot rely on conventional jobs to view us as a valuable asset. ”
Thank God that Torres knew her worth because, since the decision, Atlas Monroe has gone on to reach over $2 million in sales through its website, fulfilled tens of thousands of orders, and has also expanded to producing more products which include vegan bacon, applewood smoked ribs, deep-fried and stuffed turkeys, signature sauces as well as bakery items and more.
“I wanted to create a legacy for my family- for the people that have supported Atlas Monroe from day one,” shared Torres.”It is too often that you hear about whole companies being swept out from under the original creators. From Famous Amos, to McDonalds, and more.”
Since the “Shark Tank” episode, Atlas Monroe has acquired its own multi-million dollar manufacturing plant at a two-story, 10,000-square-foot warehouse in San Diego, California.
Veg News also reports that it plans to open a second location this year.
With that said, it looks like Deborah Torres and Atlas Monroe is well on its way to becoming an empire.
Order directly from their website by clicking here.