Philomina Kane, 26, is the founder of Kin Apparel, a firm she founded with only $500. The journey began for Kane when she was an undergraduate student at Princeton University majoring in biology. She was a member of the University’s rugby team and often found her hair falling out during games because she couldn’t take care of it.
To deal with it, she decided to cut her hair but as her hair regrew, she noticed it needed more protection. She found herself putting on a scarf before putting on a hoodie. One day, she decided she was going to make satin-lined hoodies to protect her hair.
The Bronx native started Kin Apparel last year with $500 and the business has since generated $350,000 in sales. Kin Apparel, which stands for “keep it naturally,” makes satin-lined hoods designed to prevent frizz, retain moisture and fit a variety of hairstyles. It also makes pillowcases, beanies, bucket hats and bonnets with the same satin lining.
“She taught me about my Ghanian culture, which I’ve grown to love so much,” the Ghanaian-American founder told ABC News.
Kane has even incorporated traditional designs into her sweatshirts. “Traditional hoodies are made with cotton and cotton absorbs the moisture in your hair, leaving it dry, frizzy,” said Kane. “So, what we do is we line the hoods with satin. That does not strip your hair of moisture.”
Her business recently got a major boost when she landed $200,000 from Shark Lori Grenier and guest Shark Emma Grede in exchange for a 30% stake in the business, according to CNBC.
Grede is the founding partner of Kim Kardashian’s shapewear-apparel line SKIM and also the founder and CEO of denim-brand Good American. She said, “retailers are looking for Black female founders,” adding that Kin Apparel’s broad, diverse audience “has a huge window of opportunity.”
Aside from getting a monetary boost from ‘Shark Tank,’ Kane’s popularity has also grown on social media. She has over 200,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel where she has documented her journey. She also shares tips on how Black girls can maintain their natural hair.