Athens brothers land on ABC’s Shark Tank show, with help from kids

Athens, Ga., brothers, Alex (left) and Jonathan Torrey started a clothing line based on the artwork of kids locally and around the world. The venture has landed the brothers and their company, umano, on the ABC TV show Shark Tank. SPECIAL

Two Athens brothers with no fashion pedigree find out Friday night whether the nation wants their kid-inspired line of clothing. That’s when a segment on them airs on the ABC TV show Shark Tank.

Alex and Jonathan Torrey went to school in Athens, majored in business at the University of Georgia and started careers working for other people. Then, four years ago, they swerved.

They launched umano (they don’t capitalize that first letter) as a line of t-shirts manufactured to their specifications and then emblazoned with artwork by young school kids they visit. They’ve since expanded to other types of clothing.

The brothers donate backpacks full of school supplies to the schools that take part, including ones in Athens, Harlem, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Peru.

Their Shark Tank segment was filmed in advance, and the brothers only recently learned they made the cut to actually air on TV. The show starts at 9 p.m. Friday on the East Coast.

Alex Torrey told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he can’t disclose ahead of time whether the show’s sharks (wealthy investors) struck a deal to help fund and guide the business.

He did say he’s happy. A stint on Shark Tank can give small businesses big brand exposure.

“We are super pumped,” Torrey said. “An opportunity like this doesn’t come up every day or week or every year.”

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