Boca Raton Native Set To Swim With “The Sharks”
By Alyssa Lamp
Rachel Zietz was a 13 year old entrepreneur and lacrosse player when she founded Gladiator Lacrosse. Now at 15, she will appear on ABC’s Shark Tank, on May 13th, with her product.
Her journey all started when she participated in the Young Entrepreneur Academy Program, where she got the idea to start a business which would provide high quality lacrosse equipment at an affordable price.
“Through a 33-week program called the YEA, I learned how to start, manage, and run a successful business,” Ziets says, “I’ve made every decision for Gladiator Lacrosse, from raw material and equipment design, to brand and creative development and marketing strategy.”
She is involved in the sales process, maintaining the website, and handling all press inquires.
Rachel says her biggest challenge in getting started with Gladiator Lacrosse would have been managing her business while keeping up with school, competitive lacrosse, and other extracurricular activities.
“I’ve learned that time management skills are very important and since beginning the company I have developed these skills to make managing everything much easier.”
While her friends are enjoying a leisurely summer, Ziets is managing inventory, balancing budgets, forecasting demands, and estimating profits for her company. Because of her dedication to Gladiator Lacrosse, Ziets believes this is why her line is one of the top sellers in it’s category on Amazon.
Appearing on Shark Tank was also just a stepping stone for Ziets’s product. “I was very scared and nervous, but I also felt prepared.”
Zietz says she approached the audition just like she does a lacrosse game, “you give your all and get in the zone. I know we have a great product.”
Rachel was not scared of one “Shark” more than another. All Sharks have a different way of looking at things and she presented her product to the group, not picking one out specifically. She can also not say whether a Shark invested in her company, but she can say she was able to answer their questions about her product and not be humiliated like some people have been.
Casey Powell, an American professional lacrosse player, has recently partnered with Gladiator Lacrosse. He is now the company’s brand ambassador. The company now hopes to make a unique and lasting impact on the lacrosse community.
In the future, Zietz is hoping to add more to the product line, such as a clothing line, water bottles, compression socks, and other lacrosse related items. She would like to include things in her product line that she believes there is a need for. “I use my own experience to decide which products to add to the line, because throughout practice and games I realize what types of items would help players excel.”