Ghanaian American shares how she made $4.9M three years after starting natural hair hoodie line with $500 

Abu Mubarik July 20, 2023
Philomina Kane strikes a $200,000 deal on “Shark Tank” for her satin-lined hoodie company. Photo: YouTube/ABC

Meet Philomina Kane; she is the founder of Kin Apparel, a clothing business 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 in 2020 with $500 and generated some $350,000 when Face2Face Africa first reported on her venture in 2021. 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. According to Kane, Kin Apparel also honors her family’s roots. She told ABC News that she was raised by her grandmother in Ghana for the first five years of her life. Kane even incorporated traditional Ghanaian Akan 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.”

In 2021, her business 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. Grede is the founding partner of Kim Kardashian’s shapewear-apparel line SKIM and also the founder and CEO of denim-brand Good American.

According to CNBC Make It, Kane has made over $4.9 million in lifetime revenue and she said Grede’s advice helped her achieve that.

“Take your time, feel people out and use the power of discernment before making drastic decisions in life and entrepreneurship,” Kane told CNBC Make It, recalling the advice Grede gave her that changed her approach to business.

According to Kane, the deal she accepted with Grede and Lori Greiner during her Shark Tank episode was just a “handshake agreement” as she closed a different deal off camera. “After due diligence [and] so much time had passed, literally nine months, I decided to only go with Emma,” Kane noted. She said the decision left her with less funding but allowed her to keep a bigger stake in her own company.

“Emma Grede is currently my investor for half the price [and] half the percentage. It was a decision I made just thinking about where I want to see my company and what makes sense,” she explained to CNBC Make It.

As her business grew, Kane decided to hire more hands, excluding family members and friends. Today, she has employed 15 team members and this has allowed her to handle all aspects of her business effectively.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 20, 2023


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