Despite the Pandemic, This Black Couple Has Doubled Their Employees and Have Been Featured in Forbes

Tim and Kim Lewis, founders of CurlMix

Tim and Kim Lewis, founders of CurlMix, have been able to not only double their amount of employees but also earn themselves a feature in Forbes magazine. The couple was in the national spotlight last year when they famously turned down nearly a half-million-dollar deal on ABC’s Shark Tank. However, their company has been so successful during the pandemic that it is now set to launch a second e-commerce brand.
Back in March, CurlMix had less than 20 employees and like many businesses were faced with a challenge - adapt or close up shop. However, despite the pandemic, they have managed to add nearly 20 new jobs between their remote work and in-person positions. All of their entry-level positions start at $17/hr and up and include full benefits like health, dental, and vision insurance, and a 401k.

Kim comments, “The effects of COVID on essential business like ours are unavoidable, increased hygiene protocols, masks, testing, PPE, etc. but CurlMix has been able to thrive in a shut-down economy where online shopping has increased.”

With so many people working from home, or simply staying in due to shutdowns and social distancing requirements, E-Commerce has seen an unprecedented boom.

Her husband, Tim, comments, “We are getting so many new customers, many of whom are shopping online for the first time, we could not keep up, so we had to start hiring fast!”

“Our greatest accomplishment is to be able to employ black people and pay them a living wage and not a minimum wage. We have a staff of nearly 40 people and manufacture here on the west side of Chicago. When my team says they can afford their first-ever apartment, go back to school, or afford to buy an engagement ring for their fiancé, that is more rewarding than any accolade we could ever receive. We are changing lives with our products for customers and with our employees,” Kim added.

The future continues to look bright for the company famous for turning down nearly a half-million-dollar deal on ABC’s Shark Tank last year, CurlMix is now set to launch a second e-commerce brand at the height of the pandemic.

“We have been approached by several of the mass retailers but because we have focused on Direct to Consumer with our E-commerce platform, and our business has been thriving. Our goals now are to keep growing and to keep our people safe and supported. Luckily we haven’t had anyone contract COVID-19 and we hope to keep it that way,” says Kim.


CurlMix is clean beauty made simple. The brand provides women with simple routines and simple ingredients to give them simple but beautiful results. It focuses on naturally curly hair but also offers personal care collections as well.

Founded by Forbes 30 Under 30, Morgan Park alums and high school sweethearts, Kim and Tim Lewis, CurlMix employs 90% Black people from the south and west side of Chicago.

Kim comments, “Growing up, we saw our parents work jobs where they were underpaid, overworked, and treated like just a number at a large corporation. CurlMix is more than just hair products, we want to be a place where our team loves coming to work.”

She says that the company is an employer that cares about its people above profits.

Their Story

Born and raised in Chicago, Kim + Tim Lewis are high school sweethearts who are no strangers to taking chances! In fact, the story of how they built CurlMix is a roller coaster tale that involves a popular game show, an epic fail, a necessary pivot, and a million-dollar launch!

After both attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, life began for the pair. Between marriage and job-hunting, adulting became a harrowing adventure of ups and downs. Eventually, Kim landed her first job making nearly $100K, and while Tim was still on his search, he worked at Starbucks until the right opportunity opened up.

One day, knowing Tim's talent for trivia, Kim had the bright idea of signing him up for " Who Wants to Be a Millionaire " because what better way to make money than game show trivia? To their surprise, Tim was selected to be a contestant on the show and after putting his knowledge of random facts to good use, he walked away with $100K. It was then that their journey in entrepreneurship began!

Knowing his wife's dream of owning a business, Tim wasted no time investing a portion of his winnings in their first startup - a niche social network for people with curly hair. Kim quit her job to focus on making it work, but unfortunately, their win turned into a loss when the business failed. Refusing to go back to a 9-5, Kim vowed to succeed in their next venture, and soon after CurlMix was born!

Learn more about CurlMix at

Also, follow the brand on Instagram and Facebook.

For press inquiries, contact or 312-380-0419.

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