Shark Tank, Oprah, and Jamba Juice Makes Gay Couple's Dreams Come True

Steven Nakisher and his husband Shane Talbott just got richer, thanks to ABC's hit reality series.



Nakisher recommended a different type of container, so Talbott designed attractive packaging, now described as museum-quality, for the teas, which he called Talbott Teas. The brews were such a success that the two decided to close the salon and focus on the tea business. The company quickly expanded, selling its products in Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, and select Whole Foods stores. Then, in 2010, a big name in media came calling: Oprah.

“She put us on her ‘favorite things’ show, which obviously changes the course of any business and instantly puts you on the map,” Nakisher says. “It’s kind of like winning the lottery for a business person.”

Oprah’s endorsement brought new customers to Talbott Teas — actually, more than the entrepreneurs could handle, and they had to start turning business down. “We had an instant, huge boost in sales for online sales, and then we also had retailers, a lot of retailers, reaching out to us saying that they wanted us to be part of the retail,” Nakisher says.

The two partners needed more capital to help them meet the growing demand, so Nakisher and Talbott applied to participate on Shark Tank and were selected. The rest is history. Like their experience on Shark Tank, their relationship has been blessed as well. Partners for 14 years, the two men married in a 2004 ceremony in downtown Chicago.


After the aquisition of Talbott Teas, Jamba Juice CEO James D. White called Shane Talbott a “visionary trendsetter” and described the Talbott Teas products as a good complement to Jamba’s smoothies, juices, and other tasty but healthy offerings. The teas are expected to be available in Jamba Juice stores before fall.

For his part, Talbott is pleased with his new gig as vice president of innovation. “It allows me to focus on what I’ve always loved to do, which is to develop new teas, new products. I don’t have to worry so much about all the other pieces of it,” he says. “I really get to just do what I love.”

Tags: television