Melissa Lay pitches her line of hand printed clothing to the Sharks in Episode 5, Season 8. In 2014 Melissa learned how to screen print and started creating clothes in her garage. She was primarily making kids shirts with a simple and modern style. Melissa began selling her clothing on Etsy and within 3 years she had sold over 20,000 shirts. As her business grew she expanded the product line to include kids leggings, hats, holiday designs, and created a line of adult shirts and hats.
As her brand gained more exposure one of her most popular designs, the #merica shirt, became the center of a David and Goliath battle between SandiLake and Target. Melissa’s fans had been sending her photos of a shirt almost identical to hers being sold at Target. She made a formal complaint and posted pictures of herself wearing her #merica shirt in a local Target. After the story went viral on Buzzfeed and social media, Target announced that they would be removing the shirt from their stores. The shirt Target was selling was supplied by one of their vendors and they likely didn’t realize the design was not original.