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Founder of The Painted Pretzel Paints Her Own Entrepreneurial Story After Shark Tank Success

Everyone who has even the slightest interest in entrepreneurship has taken in a Shark Tank episode or two… or binged an entire marathon. Back in 2012, a business called The Painted Pretzel, founded by Raven Thomas, became the first Black woman-owned business to secure funding in the investor tank. Now in 2017, Thomas wishes to paint her own story and tapped on our favorite publisher, Ardre Orie of 13th & Joan to tell it.

Ardre Orie, now known to the world as the Queen of Storytelling is in the midst of building a publishing empire with a clientele of recognizable names and authors eager to conquer the world.  Orie maintains that her publishing company, 13th & Joan, works with authors to not only see themselves as writers of a book, but as brands built to leverage . Orie is diligent in her mission to teach clients how their books and brands can become a pathway to streams of residual income.

Orie founded 13th & Joan Publishing in 2015 and named the company after the two women that raised her. Her grandmother was born on the 13th of October and her mother is named Joan. Orie maintains that her personal story is an intersection of the two women who most influenced her life and who she became. 13th & Joan offers start to finish book publishing services, ghostwriting services, multi media production and branding and marketing services for authors.

“We’d like to consider ourselves to be a one stop shop for all of the things that authors need to either construct a brand or reposition their brand for premium market access”, states Orie.

In July of 2017, Orie sealed the deal with a massively successful entrepreneur and mogul named Raven Thomas. Raven’s success dons a never ending resume of hard work and tenacity.  

Raven launched her company, The Painted Pretzel, in her kitchen as a stay at home mom and transformed it into a multi million dollar business partnering with brands such as Movado, Chick-fil-A, and Nordstrom, to name a few.

Raven had already lifted heavy weights with her business prior to scoring an appearance on Shark Tank.  She garnered over $60K in sales in the year prior to her appearance and was becoming overwhelmed with orders due to the popularity of her products. Raven’s largest order at the time was from  Neiman Marcus, but she didn’t have the resources to fill the order, it was simply too large. Thomas had previously walked away from a $2M order from SAM’s Wholesale Club for the same reason. She needed to take her business to the next level, which meant, among other things,  leasing commercial kitchen space.

In February of 2012, three years after launching her business, Raven appeared on Episode 302 of Shark Tank and wowed the Sharks. After a convincing pitch, Raven landed a major partnership with mogul Mark Cuban.  

She had done the work and now, it was time to scale her business. Since that time, The Painted Pretzel continues to serve large corporations and customers who can’t get enough of the sweet treats.

When asked what plans 13th & Joan has for Raven’s book, Orie gave the following:  

“Raven’s forthcoming book will prove to be a wealth of knowledge and insight for entrepreneurs who begin with very little seed funding. Raven’s story is a true testament to the fact that faith, persistence and a belief in self, above all, affords you an opportunity to swim with sharks.”

To learn more about Raven Thomas and the Painted Pretzel, visit

To follow Raven Thomas on social media: @thatssoooo_raven

To learn more about Ardre and 13th & Joan, visit

To follow Ardre Orie on social media: @IAMArdreOrie

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