KIN Apparel: What Happened To The Brand After Shark Tank?

Starting and sustaining a successful business doesn't just take an extraordinary amount of hard work; it requires a substantial sum of money. This is why dozens of entrepreneurs risk humiliation each season by presenting their product and concept to the intimidating panel of investors on ABC's "Shark Tank."

One such hopeful who appeared on Season 13 is Philomina Kane, founder of the Black-owned protective hair apparel company KIN Apparel (short for "keep in naturally"). The company set out to solve a specific problem: the damage standard hoodies and hats cause to natural hair. While an undergraduate student at Princeton University, Kane found that stress began making her lose her hair, so she boldly decided to cut her hair short and regrow it. During this regrowth process, Kane noticed that typical hoodies and hats didn't offer enough space or protection for her delicate strands.

When Kane arrived at the "Shark Tank" set, she had already made $355,000 in KIN Apparel sales after starting the company with just $500 and spending $0 on customer acquisition. Her impressive efforts made QVC Queen Lori Greiner and Good American CEO Emma Grede take notice, as the regular Shark and the guest Shark struck a deal with Kane.

KIN Apparel's Shark Tank pitch

During her pitch on "Shark Tank," KIN Apparel founder Philomina Kane gets emotional recounting the ways in which stress had impacted her natural hair during her time at Princeton, ultimately leading her to chop her hair off and grow it back. "I found myself always putting a scarf on before putting a hoodie on," Kane says during the episode. "One day I was like, you know what, I'm going to make satin-lined hoodies."

Kane presents the Sharks with samples of her satin-lined hoodies, hats, and pillowcases while explaining how her products had gone viral multiple times on social media, making it difficult to keep up with demand. She asks the Sharks to invest $200,000 in return for 10% equity in the company. She receives a joint offer of $200,00 for 30% equity in the business from Lori Greiner and Good American's Emma Grede. Although Kane attempts to negotiate, the Sharks hold strong in their resolve. Despite this, she accepts the deal. 

KIN Apparel after Shark Tank

After KIN Apparel appeared on "Shark Tank," founder Philomina Kane found herself second-guessing the deal she had agreed to on camera with Lori Greiner and Emma Grede. Rather than proceeding or pulling out completely, she was able to negotiate a new deal with Grede alone. The new agreement without Greiner consisted of a $100,000 investment in exchange for 15% equity. Once the new deal was made official, the company quickly expanded, hiring a staff of 15 employees to help with marketing, customer service, and order fulfillment.

The publicity associated with appearing on "Shark Tank" was enough to justify the company's expansion, with well over 1,000 orders placed immediately after the episode aired. Between Kane's ever-growing social media presence, her expanded budget for inventory, and her brand-new marketing team, KIN Apparel's online popularity quickly exploded — sales soared from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. 

Is KIN Apparel still in business?

Since the business closed its post-"Shark Tank" deal with Emma Grede, KIN Apparel has continued to flourish. As of this writing, the brand's Instagram boasts nearly 200,000 followers and occasionally announces the launch of new products, such as the satin-lined hoodie dress, or shares throwbacks to Philomina Kane's "Shark Tank" appearance. As of 2022, the company held a net worth of $1.5 million.

While the brand has mostly stuck to its original satin-lined hoodies, hats, and pillowcases, its offerings have expanded further than just the addition of hoodie dresses. You can now also purchase full jogging suits featuring satin-lined hoods and your choice of either thick or thin pockets for cooler or warmer seasons — proving the line to be way more than just athleisure wear. Other additions include shorts sets, waterproof bucket hats, adult onesies, and a children's line of hoodies. KIN Apparel also offers a rewards program that allows loyal shoppers to collect "koins" to be redeemed for discounts. Though the base program is free, two additional paid tiers offer higher earning potential in rewards.

The outlook for KIN Apparel

Since KIN Apparel appeared on "Shark Tank," it's clear that its founder Philomina Kane intends to stick to her plan to build her own natural haircare empire. She remains a beacon of light and a source of educational information on YouTube for those individuals who choose to embrace their natural hair texture and learn how to build a lifestyle that supports properly caring for their hair.

While her reasoning for founding KIN Apparel hasn't changed, Kane has discovered that many of her customers buy her products for reasons unrelated to haircare. Rather than resorting to gatekeeping, she has expressed full support for those who embrace her hoodies due to fabric preferences related to sensory issues or struggles with fitting disability aids, such as noise-canceling headphones, under standard-sized hoods. For this inclusive Black-owned business and its natural haircare guru founder, the future looks brighter than ever.