Kim and Tim Lewis, the founders of CurlMix, have always been certified self-starters when it comes to the rise of their business.

From starting the haircare company as a do-it-yourself (DIY) subscription box to transforming it into a full-fledged clean, natural haircare line, the couple has made moves on their own terms.

As previously reported by AFROTECH, the Lewises pitched CurlMix during their “Shark Tank” appearance in 2019 and turned down a $400,000 offer for 20% of the company. Standing firm on their decision, they set out to raise money on their own in 2020 — resulting in $1.2 million for 10% of the brand.

Then, by the following year, the Lewises launched a crowdfunding campaign at the time that the SEC increased the limit on Regulation Crowdfunding from $1 million to $5 million over a 12-month time period. Within the first four hours of the campaign, it had raised $1 million. What’s more, within 30 days, it raised over $3.6 million, Kim says.

Now, three years later, CurlMix has returned with a new crowdfunding campaign that allows for people, who previously missed out, to invest.

Courtesy of CurlMix

Not only does the campaign give more consumers a shot at investing, but Kim shares that this go-round will be a smoother experience after the lessons her team learned as one of the first to ever raise the amount they did via Regulation Crowdfunding. 

“There were just a lot of hiccups,” Kim recalled to AFROTECH. “We didn’t know we needed a full-blown audit, so I ended up launching in April [2021] and didn’t really close until December. That was tough.”

She continued, “[This time] we did the full-blown audit before we launched. Lots of prep work.”

Additionally, despite people being more “coin conscious” within the market right now and CurlMix’s email servers going out two days before the launch date, Kim says that the 2024 campaign raised over $500,000 in the first few days from just social media and their text marketing list. As of this writing, that number has reached about $873,000.

Improvements have been made regarding the process behind the new crowdfunding campaign. However, Kim says that’s just one of many goals she’s set out to accomplish. Like what she did with CurlMix’s previous campaign, she wants to teach people about the ins and outs of business — such as the timeline of business transactions — in hopes of making way for the bigger picture, which is shifting the economic gap for the Black community. 

When it comes to Black-owned businesses, a trending topic is the backlash that often comes from the Black community when Black founders sell their companies. As for Kim, she makes it clear that selling is her ultimate goal, especially since it provides the means for people like her to pour back into the community.

We think that you’re supposed to hold on to these businesses for 50 to 100 years, and that’s not how Black wealth is made,” she said. “Black wealth is made by buying and selling companies.”

She added, “People don’t realize that companies either sell or die. Would you rather them die to say that it was still 100% Black-owned? No, you want them to have big exits so that then they can come back and pour into the community, which they often do. …People think that founders are rich, and we’re not rich. Many founders are living paycheck to paycheck, and they don’t actually get their big payday until they sell. And then that’s when they can actually impact the community and help people.”

As CurlMix approaches the 10-year milestone of its founding, and four to five years since functioning as a full-blown business, numerous feats have been reached during the company’s transformation. CurlMix has partnered with Ulta and is in 460 of its stores; had an “expensive” but highly successful rebrand; secured Cleveland Avenue as an institutional investor; and reached more than $32 million in lifetime sales after once having only $3,000 in sales when the company was first on the market.

Nearly three years ago, Kim shared that she wanted CurlMix “to be like the next Procter and Gamble.” Today, she told AFROTECH what her new vision is.

“I want to be more like the Sundial Brands — SheaMoisture family,” Kim said. “Like, how they have multiple brands. Sundial Brands is a parent company, but they owned several brands in different categories. They were retail-focused.”

She added, “So, right now I’m not adding as many brands as I thought I would be by this time. I’m more so focusing on the brands that we already have in play and getting those to grow.”

To learn more about CurlMix’s crowdfunding campaign, which ends on March 15, click here.