CurlMix: What Happened To The Brand After Shark Tank?

Entrepreneurs that want to take their brand to the next level know that it will take not only a lot of time but also a lot of support, both advice and monetary. This is why they turn to investors who can put forth funds in exchange for a stake in the company. Typically, the investor's share in the company depends on how much money and advice they can offer to grow the business. The stressful process of negotiating with investors was brought to light with the hit show "Shark Tank." Brands that have appeared on the show, whether they left with a deal or not, had the opportunity to be featured in front of the general public. One of these brands was CurlMix.

CurlMix is a Black-owned business based in Chicago that helps people master their curls with high-quality products made with simple ingredients. They sell shampoos, conditioners, masks, tools, serums, gels, and sets. Before "Shark Tank," the owners say the company had achieved $400,000 in sales in the last nine months and was being sold direct to consumers, as well as on Amazon. The couple hoped an investor would help them to infiltrate the beauty market.

CurlMix's Shark Tank experience

Founded by husband and wife duo Kimberly and Tim Lewis in 2015, CurlMix decided to take their hair care brand before the sharks on "Shark Tank." They introduced the brand as a premium natural hair care line for curly girls. In a YouTube clip of their time on the show, it is shown that the couple offered a 10% stake in CurlMix in exchange for a $400,000 investment. The Lewises said they would use the investment for staying stocked on inventory, as at the moment, their inventory was constantly selling out. Because of this, they told the Sharks that the estimated value of their company was around $4 million. Their valuation, along with their impressive margins from selling products, initially interested the Sharks.

Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Alli Webb, and Lori Greiner all had concerns, particularly about the competitive hair care market which led to them backing out. This left Robert Herjavec who was willing to give the couple $400,000 but required a 20% stake in the company. The CurlMix founders didn't like this offer and ultimately decided to leave the show without a deal.

What happened to CurlMix after Shark Tank?

As Tim Lewis said in an interview on "The Jam" TV show, "It's tough turning down half a million dollars," but they explained they turned down Robert Herjavec's offer because "We knew we were worth more," as Robert's offer was a lower valuation than the Lewises had calculated. Kimberly added, "Advice is more important than money." In a Q&A session in 2019, Kim Lewis shared, "When the show aired, the month of March, we made $900,000." She acknowledged the boost they received from appearing on "Shark Tank" but stressed that their company was prepared for the influx of orders due to the publicity.

The CurlMix community on Facebook, along with those who saw the brand on "Shark Tank,wanted to ensure that this Black-owned and operated business had the funding it needed to thrive. This led CurlMix to crowdfund. "My proudest moment as an entrepreneur is raising $4.5 million in equity crowdfunding," she told Inc. After this, CurlMix truly took off, earning the No. 93 spot on the Inc. 5000 list for 2021as they had huge growth from the time they started operations to 2021. 

This has given the brand not only more publicity but also the ability to ensure it can keep its products in stock, create new formulations, expand to wholesale, and begin new ventures. One of these new ventures includes being directly involved with customers via a masterclass on curl care.

Is CurlMix still in business?

CurlMix not only survived after not accepting any "Shark Tank" offers but thrived. The publicity of being on "Shark Tank" obviously led more customers their way but also led to other people wanting to invest in the brand. After gaining millions of dollars in investments, the brand has increased its product offerings and inventory.

CurlMix currently offers a wide variety of hair care products, with its best-seller being the Wash and Go System with Ultra Hold for Curly Hair. This system includes four products that should be used throughout their routine — a shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and gel. While its top seller is a set for the strongest hold, they offer systems for every hold possible. The brand also offers the option to buy each product individually and some other products, such as masks, serums, and mousses not offered in the sets. CurlMix has also created a line of hair tools and a "fresh" line that has an exclusive feel, as the products are created by hand in small batches.

Products aren't the only things CurlMix is excelling at. Community is at the center of CurlMix, with the option to purchase a monthly VIP membership to ensure you are a certified "CurlMixer." Depending on the VIP package purchased, customers receive a private Facebook group invite, discounts, referral bonuses, and more.

What's next for CurlMix?

CurlMix has big goals, and the founders don't plan on scaling back their business anytime soon. "By the year 2024, we expect to have $40M in annual revenue," CurlMix founder Kimberly Lewis writes on LinkedIn. The brand has stated over the years that they want to be sold in the biggest chain beauty stores, such as Ulta and Sephora. It seems to be well on the way as the brand continues to innovate both itself and its products.

The Lewises have continued to push through obstacles, so their business can continue to grow. Creating community and using customer engagement to their advantage seems to be working for them, as customers are buying a VIP membership to their site in order to simply join their Facebook group. They created a YouTube channel for the brand, which as of this writing, has over 50,000 subscribers. In an interview with Google Small Business, Kim Lewis said, "We invested in YouTube ads. The best ads were literally the ones where I took out my cell phone and I was like 'Hi guys, I'm Kim,  CEO and co-founder of CurlMix.'" She understand that customers wanted to hear from actual people they could relate to, not brands. Their customer base has grown and diversified, and they grew from her and her husband to a staff of 40 in a 15,000 square foot manufacturing facility.