To listen to her husband Tim inform it, Kimberly Lewis was destined for entrepreneurship. He even noticed glimmers of it after they had been relationship in highschool, as Kim made her personal jewellery whereas finding out to enter the company world.

“She has the guts of an artist, however she needed to be a businesswoman,” he informed Inc.’s What I Know podcast. “And so, I believe entrepreneurship is a means for her to create–but then even have that enterprise.”

Collectively, the 2 created CurlMix, a Chicago-based hair-care model. However years earlier than CurlMix offered its hit wash-and-go kits and moisturizers for curly hair, it began as a social-network for people with curls. As soon as Kim had an concept for a product to promote, she despatched Tim out to get the capital to again it–not out to Sand Hill Street to pitch VCs, however slightly to a taping of Who Needs to Be a Millionaire. Kim had seen Tim watching an episode.

“Tim answered, for 2 hours straight, like 95 p.c of the questions proper,” Kim Lewis says. “So, I actually purchased him a aircraft ticket, signed up, and despatched him on the market to audition.”

Tim made it onto the show–and got here again with $100,000. With that verify, they began the enterprise, later getting a lift from a little bit of seed funding from Arlan Hamilton and an look on Shark Tank. Rising the enterprise was a wrestle, however their prospects had been dedicated–and fashioned a vocal, supportive viewers on their Fb group. In spite of everything, the enterprise had began as its personal social community.

The Lewises listened to their followers, who informed them they preferred Curl Combine’s package for extracting flaxseed gel, which labored nicely for moisturizing curly hair and the scalp, however it was too time- and labor-intensive. In response, the founders determined to make and promote a completed model of the product.

“We simply put up a little bit touchdown web page and we emailed our subscribers and had been like, ‘Are you guys on this?” Tim Lewis says. They supplied 60, and offered out inside minutes. 

“Within the two or three years that we had been in enterprise, this was probably the most success we might skilled,” Kim Lewis says. “I used to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is what individuals need!'”

From that time on, Curl Combine did not simply develop, it grew tremendous quick, touchdown at No. 93 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 after rising income by greater than four,000 p.c over the previous three years.

For Kim and Tim Lewis’s full story, click on on the participant under, or observe What I Know on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your audio.

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