When you’re a startup and you’re not already wealthy or have powerful connections, you need all the funding you can get. So, it was surprising when the Chicago couple that owns CurlMix turned down a $400,000 offer in Shark Tank.
However, they had another plan in mind.
The company started an equity crowdfunding campaign that a loyal community of followers pushed. It worked spectacularly. They earned more than $1 million in just over 4 hours, and $2.3 million in just 2 days.
That’s a significant amount, but what’s most impressive isn’t how much they raised; it’s the number of people who raised it. They had little more than 3,800 investors. This means that, on average, each investor put in around $600.
The owners, Chicago couple Tim and Kim Lewis, launched the brand around six years ago. To get better sales, they altered their curly hair subscription box into a haircare line. Their sales went up and they ended up earning $1 million in just 12 months.
The couple then went on Shark Tank and pitched their idea. Investor Robert Herjavec was willing to invest $400,000 in exchange for a 20% equity stake in CurlMix. After seeing the potential of the brand, though, the owners knew that this offer didn’t make sense in the long term. So, they walked away from it.
They decided that, instead of relying on a sole investor, it might be worth it to rely on the community. Sure enough, around 4,300 investors from their community have raised more than $2.4 million for CurlMix. A lot of these are Black investors, and Lamar Tyler—who owns Traffic Sales & Profit—invested in the brand.
In fact, Tyler went as far as promoting the brand to his Facebook group, which has over 24,000 members. His group’s main goal is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners to plug profit holes in their businesses.
Lewis’ dream is for CurlMix to become a black-owned version of Proctor & Gamble, where investors make money when the brand makes money. If you’re interested, you can invest through the Wefunder campaign page. Just select your preferred investment level—which starts at $250—and get equity in the company.
Like with all investment opportunities, though, ensure you do your due diligence and that this investment aligns with your own financial goals.