Husband-and-wife duo Tim and Kim Lewis launched natural hair care line CurlMix in 2015 as a DIY box for curly hair. “We began that way because I was spending a lot of time on YouTube,” Kim told The Chicago Defender. “I collected ingredients from the tutorials and would go home to make the products myself. I thought about how much time and money I would save if someone just sent me a box with everything I needed. My husband was the one who convinced me to do it because I wasn’t sure that the market would love it.”
In two years, their flaxseed gels were making waves since they were difficult to get in stores due to the time-consuming procedure of producing them. To prepare them, the couple will boil real flaxseeds and extract the gel before considering how to preserve and package them. Many of their clients began using the flaxseed gel for their wash-and-go’s, and when the pair noticed this, they chose to focus on their flaxseed gels and moisturizers, as these were their best-selling products.
By 2018, they had made their first million dollars. “We were super excited and couldn’t believe that we turned our business around in like a year,” Kim said. “In the year prior, we made $100,000 in revenue, so that was a huge deal for us.”
The duo has since added handcrafted and organic shampoos, conditioners, serums, and other clean, natural hair products to their objective of making organic haircare products more accessible to women with curly hair.
According to SUBTA, Kim and Tim raised more than $5 million in equity crowdfunding by 2021 after leveraging WeFunder’s crowdfunding technologies to increase community involvement in the firm. Interestingly, this came just two years after the pair turned down an investment offer from Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec.
The pair turned down a $400,000 offer that forced them to give up 20% of their company. They had promised to give up no more than 15% the night before going on Shark Tank. As a result, when Herjavec offered $400,000 with a 20% ownership, they declined.
“I wanted to be honest and truthful. I wanted to be proud of the decision that I made on TV,” Kim explained to The Chicago Defender. “I did not want to say that we would do a deal and then not do it, because people do that. I wanted to be true to who I was. So that’s how we ended up turning it down.”
“And Robert (Herjavec) wouldn’t budge on the equity piece. What is more important than cash is equity. I treated each percent like a million dollars. So, when people would tell me that it was only 5%. I had to tell them that it was more than that. It was more like $5 million,” she added.
Tim believed that their company was worth more than that, and that it will one day be worth a billion dollars. CurlMix was the first Black-owned beauty firm to use equity crowdfunding at the time. They chose that course in order to increase wealth in their community, make their consumers feel involved in future decisions, and empower them as owners of the company.
According to data, Black-owned cosmetics firms do not receive a larger percentage of investment or shelf space. According to a McKinsey analysis, “inequity is pervasive in the beauty sector…Although Black clients make up more than 11% of all beauty customers, Black brands account for only 2.5% of total beauty sector revenues.”
It further indicated that barely 4 to 5% of all personnel in the US beauty sector are Black, from entry-level to C-suite, and from shops to beauty companies. CurlMix’s founders want to be the first Black-owned personal and household care firm, akin to Procter & Gamble, and have been working hard to change that.