Here's What Went Down With CurlMix After Shark Tank

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With hundreds of beauty and hair products being pitched on the ABC show "Shark Tank," it's impressive to be able to stand out among the rest. Husband and wife duo Kim and Tim Lewis had the opportunity to pitch CurlMix, their natural line of hair care specifically designed for curly hair. While many products aim to straighten curly hair, CurlMix products allow people to embrace their natural curls and coils, and combat common curly hair problems.

Kim and Tim Lewis, high school sweethearts from Chicago, launched the company in 2015. It began as a subscription service for people to make their own hair products at home. As Kim Lewis explains on her website, the inspiration struck while she was watching "Shark Tank" at home and saw a company supplying customers with raw ingredients to make cookies at home. This inspired Lewis to create a hair care subscription box service that would allow customers to make their own products at home, but she later changed the focus to selling the pre-made hair products that they sell today. 

Before going on the show, CurlMix had brought in $400,000 in nine months and was on track to make $1 million in the year of filming. Their episode was especially memorable, as they decided to decline an offer from one of the shark investors. But even for those who walk out of "Shark Tank" without a deal, many are still able to soar to new heights, including CurlMix.

What happened to CurlMix on Shark Tank?

Kim and Tim Lewis had the opportunity to pitch CurlMix on the hit ABC show "Shark Tank" in March of 2019, during the show's tenth season. They entered the Shark Tank stage seeking $400,000 for 10% equity in their company. Their main issue was keeping up with inventory, so they wanted the money to invest in inventory and new equipment to create larger batches of their products. The sharks were impressed by their sales margins, but ultimately, they began to drop out for a few reasons. Mark Cuban didn't know enough about the hair care industry, Kevin O'Leary was concerned about their growth and competition, and even beauty expert Lori Greiner dropped out because of concerns with competition and lack of knowledge in that specific space. Guest shark Alli Webb also backed out due to the competitive nature of the hair care industry.

Surprisingly, Robert Herjavec was the only shark to make an offer, willing to invest $400,000 for 20%. Though nearly half a million dollars and a shark investor is enticing, they turned the offer down. It's rare that entrepreneurs will decline a "Shark Tank" deal, but for Kim and Tim Lewis, it felt like the right decision for them.

CurlMix After Shark Tank

Even without a deal, their appearance on "Shark Tank" drew new customers and exposure to the CurlMix brand. In a 2019 Q&A session, Kim Lewis stated that the company made $900,000 in the month of March after the episode aired. The brand also caught the attention of investor Jeff Weiner, former CEO of LinkedIn, who decided to invest in CurlMix and valuated the company at $12 million. This allowed them to grow their team and inventory. Kim Lewis also decided to start a community crowdfunding campaign that would allow their loyal customer base to invest and own shares of the company. They were able to raise $4.5 million in equity by crowdfunding from 7000 of their customers.

The couple appeared in several interviews after their television appearance, in which people asked them why they declined Robert Herjavec's deal. In a 2019 interview on The Jam TV Show, Kim Lewis explained, "We knew we were worth more." Kim and Tim Lewis also felt Robert Herjavec lacked the hair and beauty expertise they were looking for. On her website, Kim Lewis explained that the company was valuated at $7 million, so taking the deal with Herjavec would result in a lower $2 million valuation. "It's our livelihood and how we take care of our family, so I knew we couldn't go home with that offer. Many people have asked if we were disappointed about leaving the show without a deal, but I didn't feel that way," said Kim.

Is CurlMix still in business?

Four years after their Shark Tank appearance, CurlMix is doing better than ever. The company has grown to employ a full-time staff of over 30 women and BIPOC employees. According to Kim Lewis' LinkedIn page, CurlMix has brought in over $15 million in lifetime sales. In 2020, CurlMix products made it to Oprah's Favorite Things list as well as Forbes' 30 Under 30 list.

On the CurlMix website and on Amazon, you can buy their 4-step "Wash and Go System" based on different types of curly hair, ranging from light hold to ultra hold, depending on the customers' needs. The system includes a shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and their famous flaxseed gel, with the option to buy these products separately as well. You can also purchase their hair mousse, growth serum, refresher spray, edge control product, and a variety of hair accessories for curly girls. Regarding the flaxseed gel, customers on Amazon enjoyed how light-weight and non-greasy the product felt on their hair while maintaining a substantial level of hold. Though the products are on the more expensive side, they're very much worth it if you're looking for personalized care for your own curls.

What's next for CurlMix?

Since its founding, CurlMix products have primarily been sold online, but they recently shared some exciting news on their Instagram page. CurlMix products will begin selling in select Ulta Beauty stores starting on September 22, 2023. This is a huge accomplishment for the brand, as it gets its products in physical stores for a wider customer base to see. 

CurlMix doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon. Kim and Tim Lewis hope to inspire other entrepreneurs to chase their dreams and find success. "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 shared on her website

Tim and Kim Lewis continue to live in Chicago with two children. The dynamic duo will continue looking toward the future with big goals on the horizon. On her LinkedIn, Kim Lewis wrote "By the year 2024, we expect to have $40M in annual revenue." She also hopes to build a larger portfolio of brands that cater to Black women. When you truly believe in your business, you can do anything. This is certainly true for the co-founders of CurlMix.