Business

After exiting Shark Tank, CurlMix has grown to become one of the most successful Black-owned beauty brands

BY Preta Peace Namasaba February 27, 2024 5:27 AM EDT
Tim and Kim Lewis. Photo credit: CurlMix

When Tim and Kim Lewis took their haircare company CurlMix to Shark Tank, it was undervalued. The startup had a valuation of $4 million and had generated $400,000 in sales over the previous nine months. Due to their unfamiliarity with the hair care industry and its competitiveness, the Sharks were hesitant to invest. The duo received a singular offer of $400,000 for 20% equity that they ultimately declined and left the tank.

But exiting the Shark Tank wasn’t the end of CurlMix. The company not only managed to stay in business but also raised the necessary funds needed to grow. They raised $1.2 million in a seed round led by the former CEO of LinkedIn and achieved $5 million in gross revenue in the same year. After struggling to raise $5 million in Series A funding, CurlMix turned to equity crowdfunding. The company raised more than $4.5 million within a few days from 7,000 investors in 2021.

CurlMix has grown tremendously within the past two years. The company hit $10 million in gross revenue in 2022 and nearly tripled its customer base from 100,000 to 260,000. They moved into a  30,000 sqft factory, purchased massive kettles and automated machines to fill tubes and bottles, and rebranded packaging to stand out in the market. In just two years, CurlMix has nearly tripled revenue from $13 million to $32 million.

“With the success of CurlMix, I hope our journey serves as a roadmap to aspiring entrepreneurs about what is possible with hard work and vision. I hope we inspire them to dream bigger and bigger,” Kim Lewis hopes CurlMix’s success inspires aspiring entrepreneurs.

Before Shark Tank, the founders began their business with $100,000 from an appearance on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2013. They founded CurlMix in 2015 as a do-it-yourself hair care subscription box that allowed customers to make their own hair products from the ingredients delivered to their doorstep. They decided to pivot the contents of their boxes when the subscription model became stagnant. Tim and Kim Lewis have since built one of the most successful Black-owned beauty brands.

Building a strong connection with its loyal customer base is responsible for CurlMix’s success in the market. With the launch of another equity crowdfunding campaign this month, Kim and Tim are offering the general public a sense of community ownership and engagement. They intend to raise $5 million more to expand the products’ online growth, retail distribution growth, and a path to profitability. CurlMix secured over $600,000 within 24 hours – an indicator of its feasibility on the market.

CurlMix is challenging conceptions of ownership as it gears to go public. Its founders are ensuring that customers are part of a history-making future.
“Too often customers of beauty brands are left out of the investment conversation, while it’s their loyalty that creates the value. I don’t want to leave my customers out, I want to bring as many people with me as possible. Our vision is to change the narrative on what ownership looks like. We aim to become the first Black-owned publicly traded conglomerate,” said Kim Lewis.