Here's What Went Down With Cincha Travel Belts & Bags After Shark Tank

As enlightening as traveling can be, it can also be a hassle — and a lot of that hassle comes from lugging around a hefty carry-on and a personal item. Realizing that there was a way to make this part of traveling easier, James Baker and Ashley "Ash" Sharma created a belt that literally "cinches" one's personal item tighter and attaches it to their carry-on bag. Launching in 2019, the partners very aptly named their brand Cincha Travel.

"Cincha brings something special, 'why didn't I think of that?' accessory to most kinds of travelers, whether you're an over-packer, or a parent with a child who needs your attention, or just someone who just wants an extra hand when they travel," Sharma said in an interview with Medium's Authority Magazine in 2022. "Cincha is for each of them. It's truly a travel accessory for everyone and it's made with the utmost thoughtfulness in mind."

Wanting to take Cincha Travel to the next level, Baker and Sharma headed to "Shark Tank" hoping to get $200k for 15% of their company. Unlike some business owners, the two walked away happy, with a deal.

What happened on Shark Tank

Both Baker and Sharma charmed the sharks with their background stories — especially Baker who grew up homeless but eventually made it to Harvard Law School. The sharks were also impressed by their $830,000 in sales in 2022, a major increase after essentially being put out of business in 2020 (they only made $32,000) due to COVID-19.

Gwyneth Paltrow was first to pass on investing in Cincha, saying it's out of her wheelhouse, but she's still "super impressed." Both Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner also passed, with Cuban saying the investment didn't fit his strengths and Greiner explaining that she already had a partner doing something similar. But just when it looked like things weren't going to go in favor of Baker and Sharma, Barbara Corcoran spoke up.

Pointing out that those who have experienced the worst hardships are the same people who make the best entrepreneurs, she offered $100k in cash and $100k in a credit line for 33% of Cincha. Kevin O'Leary offered the asking $200k but wanted 20% of the business and royalties of $4.00 per unit until he gets all his capital back, then it will drop to 50 cents in perpetuity. After a bit of negotiating with Corcoran, Baker and Sharma got her to agree to their counteroffer of $100k in cash and $100k in a credit line for 25% of Cincha Travel.

What happened after Shark Tank

To no surprise, Cincha's appearance on "Shark Tank" did wonders for the brand. Baker and Sharma got some very necessary exposure — not all was great — and it's also probably pretty safe to assume that being able to pocket Barbara Corcoran's investment helped quite a bit too.

According to their website, their products have appeared in Travel + Leisure, AFAR, Essence, and The New York Times (just to name a few). Cincha has also found itself in several product roundups on BuzzFeed, and just this month, Cincha's "love is in the air" Travel Belt made it to Forbes' Valentine's Day Gift Guide, and the Cincha Original Travel Belt is also included in Oprah Daily's 20 Thoughtful Valentine's Day Gifts for Long-Distance Relationships list. From all accounts and based on where they are today, Cincha Travel kept its eye on the prize and continued to move in the right direction.

Cincha is still in business

Not only is Cincha still in business, but they appear to be thriving. They have over 16k followers on Instagram and have expanded their line of travel products. Although they still make the travel belts that garnered them their original fans and Corcoran as an investor, they've also branched out by creating The Belt Buddy and The Canvas Go-Tote. Both of which, like the belts, come in a variety of colors and patterns. But it doesn't stop there. Cincha has also designed and created pens, pen holders, notepad sets, layover socks, and the padded Stowaway Pocket.

"We made sure that when we launched the brand we had a place where people could connect with us," Sharma told Insider in October 2023. "We are listening to what our customers want, what they're saying, what they're complaining about, what they're happy about, and we answer every direct message."

Baker and Sharma have also been able to continue to give back to the community, just as they did in the very beginning, thanks to their continued successes. As of July 2023, Cincha Travel has donated over one million miles to Miles4Migrants and supplied the Bay Area with more than 3,300 meals to those in need. It's estimated that Cincha's net worth is $1.1 million.

What's next for Cincha

By all appearances, it looks like what's next for Baker and Sharma is to continue growing Cincha Travel. Although it looks like Sharma might still have her marketing director job at Cora and Baker is still practicing law, their Cincha Instagram is really active with posts, keeping their followers updated with their new ideas and ventures, as well as sticking to their pledge to continue giving back to the community in any way they can.

When Sharma spoke to Medium's Authority Magazine in 2022 and was asked what movement she'd like to start that would be most beneficial for people, she responded, "I'd work to raise awareness about the need for more affordable and accessible mental health services. Mental health care should not be a luxury good, especially after this pandemic we have all been through and are going through." Based on that statement, between their ongoing endeavors to give back and their ability to listen to their customers' needs, the future looks bright for Cincha Travel.