The founders of CurlMix have taken the phrase “know your worth” to a whole new level!
Tim and Kim Lewis launched CurlMix in 2015 as a do-it-yourself (DIY) subscription box but in order to improve sales, they pivoted the concept into a haircare line that has been thriving ever since.
“CurlMix was birthed from our first business as a DIY box for curly hair, so think like Blue Apron, but for hair,” said Kim in an exclusive interview with AfroTech. “We were sending people raw materials to make their own kits or products at home and one box emerged from all 24 that we produced and that was our flaxseed gel.”
After customers loved the box, the Chicago couple shifted their entire business to focus on their flaxseed gel noting that customers weren’t able to get the product in stores because most brands would never consider making real flaxseed gel because of the way that it is produced is like cooking.
“You have to boil real flaxseeds and then extract the gel,” Kim explained. “Then you have to figure out how to preserve and put it into the bottle and we were the only ones doing that.”
Today they continue to do this exceptionally well, having raised over $5.1 million thanks to the support of their community which her husband Tim adds may be the future of how companies decide to fundraise for their businesses in the future.
View this post on Instagram
“I kind of see it as like the future of how companies like us can do business,” said Tim. “Traditionally under-invested companies and founders now have a path to success that doesn’t require us going to the old or rich investors. You have an opportunity to really kind of have community ownership of companies allowing you to democratize finance and venture capital (VC) for regular people.”
For CurlMix this is extremely powerful since the company is known for turning down a $400,000 offer during an appearance on “Shark Tank.”
Investor Robert Hirshbeck offered the couple a deal that was $400,000 for 20% which would’ve given the company a $2 million valuation.
At the time, Kim and Tim felt as if their worth was $7 million in value so they made the decision to decline what was on the table.
“The decision was actually easy to make in the moment because we were prepared for it,” he continued. “We knew what our value was and we knew what we wanted to accomplish and what CurlMix could be one day.”
“If you could imagine what the sharks could have done if they had actually partnered with us, then they would have 10x’d their money already,” said Tim. “It was really their loss.”
Now, CurlMix continues to climb its way to the top.
“We raised over 5 million in our latest round that we’re closing in the next couple of weeks,” shared Kim.
“My goal is for us to be like the next Proctor and Gamble. We want to be Black-owned, traded on the New York Stock Exchange one day,’ she continued. “Over the next 10 years, our goal is to create more brands in underserved and overlooked audiences in the marketplace to create multimillion-dollar brands for more people who look like us.
Click here for more on CurlMix.