Kinfield on Shark Tank

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Edited by: Mark Furr
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Kinfield Shark Tank Update

Kinfield on Shark Tank

Mark Furr

This post contains affiliate links, and we may be compensated if you buy something after clicking on our links.

Kinfield is a company which helps people to enjoy the great outdoors by providing all-natural, plant-based sunscreens and insect repellents. But will the Sharks be impressed enough to take a bite out of this modern brand of products for people who love the outdoors? Read our Kinfield Shark Tank update to find out.

What is Kinfield?

Kinfield is a company which manufactures a line of natural, chemical-free, plant-based sunscreens and insect repellents. The company is based in Brooklyn, New York.  

Kinfield seeks to help people enjoy the great outdoors by giving them natural, independent lab-verified protection from both the sun, and from those critters which tend to come out just around sunset. They do this by using ingredients which are plant-based, sustainably sourced, and verified to work as advertised. 

Who created Kinfield?

Kinfield Founder

Kinfield was founded by Nichole Powell in Brooklyn, New York. Nichole attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned a BA degree in Political Science and International Studies, and she also attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she wrote a dissertation on UK Politics. 

Nichole began her professional career at Intuit, where she worked as a Marketing Associate for two years. After her stint at Intuit, Nichole founded her first business, Who Goes Wear, a lifestyle and inspiration brand. This led to Nichole being the first hire for a new, San Francisco-based, direct-to-consumer fashion brand, Modern Citizen, where she held the position of Head of Business Development. 

Next, Nichole transitioned out of the fashion industry to found Kinfield, which she sees as the next great outdoor brand, making great essentials for the great outdoors. 

How did Kinfield get started?

Kinfield founder Nichole Powell grew up in Minnesota, a state which she says calls the mosquito its state bird. When Nicloe appeared in the Tank, she said that when she was young, every time they went outside, her mother would cover her and her brother with icky, sticky, bug spray, and then coat them with greasy chemical-based sunscreen. 

Years later, as an adult, on a trip to Yosemite, Nichole realized that she was still using the same products that she remembered from her childhood. In an article in Glam, she states, “While I was packing for a trip to Yosemite, I realized that I was still taking some of the same products with me that I’d used while I was growing up, like the spray can of DEET mosquito repellent and the artificially neon green aloe gel so many of us remember. And it made me wonder, ‘Why isn’t there a brand making sustainable, transparent, clean, effective outdoor products?'”

At the time, she thought that there had to be a better way to make outdoor products like insect repellent and sunscreen. However, it wasn’t until after another trip, this time to Indonesia, where she came across a particular strain of citronella, that she realized it might be possible to bring her ideas for more natural outdoor protection products to life. 

What happened to Kinfield before Shark Tank?

In 2018, Nichole Powell left her job at Modern Citizen, as she had decided to build and grow her own brand of eco-friendly outdoor products. She told the trade publication Beauty Independent that she started raising capital for Kinfield in late 2018, wrapping up a pre-seed round of an undisclosed amount in December. Participants in the round include a mix of angel investors, friends and family backers, and two institutional funds. 

Concerning raising capital, Nichole also told the trade magazine, “It was honestly very challenging, I was fundraising as a first-time, solo female founder for a consumer company that hadn’t launched yet, a combination of challenges that multiple people told me was crazy to try to take on. But I believed so deeply in what Kinfield could be and, thankfully, eventually met our incredible investors who have been supportive of what we’re doing, and also allowed us the space to grow and build the way that we want to.”

Kinfield then launched in 2019, with its first product, Golden Hour, a natural mosquito repellant, and the company had revenues of just $45k in its first year. In 2020, its second year in business, Kinfield had sales of $565k, and during her pitch in the Tank, Nichole told the Sharks that they already had $1.5 million in sales year-to-date, and they projected sales of $2.1 million for 2022.

Almost all of Kinfield’s sales prior to Shark Tank were direct-to-consumer sales online, and Nichole indicated that they were just starting to move into retail stores. 

What do customers think of Kinfield?

Kinfield Product

Kinfield founder Nichole Powell revealed during her Shark Tank pitch that most of the company’s sales had come from their own website, so it is not surprising that the vast majority of online reviews are found on the Kinfield site. Their first, and most popular product, Golden Hour mosquito repellant, has 817 ratings, with an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Over on Amazon, there are just 66 ratings for Golden Hour, and Amazon purchasers give it an overall rating of 3.9 stars. 

What are customers saying about Kinfield?

Unsurprisingly, we found only very positive reviews on the company’s website. One very happy Golden Hour customer wrote, “My husband and I just went to Thailand. You hear about the horrible mosquitoes there. I ordered Kinfield hoping it actually worked. Well it did! This stuff is so potent and awesome I had ZERO bites. My husband, who is a preferred meal for mosquitoes, had no large bites. This will be in my arsenal forever now!”

Another satisfied purchaser on the Kinfield site says, “I travel to Costa Rica often for work, staying on our beach front property. Sand flies, mosquitoes, and noseeums are everywhere! Golden Hour keeps them all at bay! I reapply every 2-3 hours and have 90% less bug bites than usual. The smell is so pleasant and it does not irritate my skin at all. Way better than using deet-filled products.”

While we couldn’t find any negative comments on the Kinfield website, there were a few unhappy customers over on Amazon. One verified purchaser wrote, “I had been waiting for this to get restocked so I could order it. I had read so many reviews and watched all the ads about how this smells amazing. Well, here’s the truth-it smells like a room full of citronella plants. It smells terrible! No vanilla at all. As for keeping mosquitoes away-it works as well as the Off spray w DEET. So, hit or miss depending on if you’re a mosquito magnet like me. Personally, I don’t think this product was worth the money or the wait.”

Another dissatisfied Amazon customer says, “This smelled so bad and strong that I’d have to spray it on myself and run out of the room because I’d start coughing. It didn’t work for me, I got so many bug bites on my vacation.”

When did Kinfield appear on Shark Tank?

Kinfield appeared on Shark Tank in Season 14, Episode 11 which aired on January 13, 2023. This episode featured regular Sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, as well as Guest Shark Tony Xu, co-founder and CEO of DoorDash. 

Kinfield appeared in Season 14 of Shark Tank, which saw many successful pitches in the Tank, including Stealth Bros & Co.

What happened to Kinfield on Shark Tank?

Kinfield founder Nichole Powell entered the Tank and asked the Sharks for a $250k investment in return for an 5% equity stake in the company.

Kinfield founder Nichole walked into the Tank and told the Sharks that she grew up in Minnesota where people say that the mosquito is the state bird. She then stated that as a child growing up, everytime that she and her brother went outside, her parents would cover them with icky, sticky bug spray and then coat them in greasy chemical sunscreen.

Next, Nichole explained that years later, as an adult, while on a trip to Yosemite, she realized that she was still using the same gross, artificial, and environmentally unfriendly products that she remembered from her childhood. This was the spark which led her to create her first product, Golden Hour, a plant-based, insect repellent which has been verified to work by an independent lab. 

After the introduction of the company’s first product, explained Nichole, Kinfield continued to add products so that the company continues expanding to become a modern outdoor brand. Along with Golden Hour, their natural insect repellent, they now offer a biodegradable repellent wipe, as well as a natural line of sunscreen products. 

At this point in the pitch, the Sharks examined samples of the products, and it was easy to see that there was some early interest brewing in the Tank. Barbara Corcoran said, “The bug repellent smells so good, I’m surprised it doesn’t attract  bugs!” Guest Shark, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu, commented, “Yeah, it doesn’t smell like a bug repellant.” 

Tony Xu followed up by asking Nichole how her product compares to a DEET-based bug repellant, and he learned that Kinfield had an independent lab test their product, and the lab certified that it offered bug protection for three hours. 

Lori Greiner joined the questioning when she asked Nichole how she came up with the idea, and Nichole said that the idea really came together during a trip to Indonesia when she came across the particular strain of citronella which is used in their bug repellant. 

As usual, Kevin O’Leary jumps in to get to the numbers, and he tells Nichole that since she had valued the company at $5 million in the Tank, “you better have some sales.” Nichole told Mr. Wonderful that they launched in 2019 and had sales of $45k, and in 2020, they had $565k in revenues. 

Mark Cuban wanted to know if these sales were in retail, and Nichole responded that all of these sales were direct-to-consumer online. O’Leary jumped back in to ask if the company had made any money, and Nichole told him simply, “Not yet.”

Tony Xu then inquired about 2022 sales, and Nichole said that they had done $1.5 million year-to-date, and they projected 2022 sales of $2.1 million. Tony also asked about the company’s customer acquisition cost, and he learned that they were spending $26 to acquire a new customer. This seemed to bother Mr. Wonderful who then needed to know the company’s margins, and Nichole informed him that their profit margins were between 79-85%. 

Nichole then also informed the Sharks that their current mix of sales is 80% online and 20% in retail, and this appeared to concern Mark Cuban, as he believed that they would lose money by going into retail with their current margins. 

While Mark Cuban seemed a bit skeptical about the company’s retail strategy, the rest of the Sharks looked to be circling in the Tank. 

Did Kinfield get a deal on Shark Tank?

Kinfiled did successfully negotiate a deal in the Tank. Barbara Corcoran and Guest Shark Tony Xu partnered to make a deal for an investment of $250k for 10% equity in the company. 

Barbara Corcoran, in what was an unusual move for her, opened the negotiations with an offer of $250k for 10% of the company, and she included a royalty of $2 per product until she recouped her investment. With his favorite word, royalty, in place, Mr. Wonderful immediately followed with an offer of $250k for just 5% equity, and he claimed that he wouldn’t “be as greedy as Barbara,” as he added a royalty of $1.50 per unit until he received $750k. 

Tony Xu warned Nichole that this offer was a “double ratchet.” Lori Greiner seemed unfazed by Xu’s criticisms of the royalty deals as she proceeded to say, “If there’s anyone up here who knows how to sell a mosquito product, it’s me.” She told Nichole that within a couple of years of her investment in Bug Bite Thing, the company did $25 million in sales and that they were in 30,000 stores. So, Lori also offered to invest $250k for 5%, but she wanted a royalty of $4.00 per item sold until she got her money back. 

Tony Xu quickly chimed in to say that Lori’s offer was “as blood sucking as Kevin’s offer.” Mark Cuban agreed with Tony and said, “when someone asks for a royalty, only ‘til I’m paid back,’ that is really equivalent to saying, ‘I don’t really want to give you any money.’” Lori disagreed with Mark and told him that he should sit there and be quiet since he was not making an offer. 

Lori started to explain why she thought it was fair to ask for a royalty when Tony Xu spoke up again, this time to tender the fourth offer in the Tank. Xu offered $250k for 10% equity with no royalty. This seemed to surprise Kevin O’Leary, but Barbara Corcoran offered to match Tony’s offer.

Nichole then asked Barbara and Tony if they would be willing to join forces, and they agreed to partner with an offer of $250k for 10% of the business, and after surviving a prolonged Shark attack, including three attempts at extracting royalties from her company, Nichole agreed to the deal with Barbara and Tony. 

Kinfield Shark Tank update, what happened after Shark Tank?

Immediately following its episode in January of 2023, Kinfield experienced a huge Shark Tank effect, as the company saw sales 28 times greater than in January of the previous year.  After her appearance in the Tank Kinfield founder Nichole Powell told the trade publication Beauty Matter:

“Shark Tank showed us that Kinfield is easily capable of delivering multiple six-figure revenue months in our ‘quiet’ season, when we have the right visibility.” The founder added that, given the brand’s success even during its offseason, she expected the following months to continue to show unprecedented numbers. “Our summer months are typically multiple times larger than our winter months, so starting the year with such a bang definitely is a strong indicator for a great year to come,” she explained.

We have not yet been able to confirm whether or not the deal between Shark partners Barbara Corcoran and Tony Xu and Kinfield has closed. However, there is no doubt that since its episode aired, Kinfield has continued to grow. After starting with one single product, the all natural mosquito repellent, Kinfield then added a line of sunscreen, and in the Fall of 2023, the brand launched its Sport line, which includes an anti-chafe balm, a natural deodorant, and cleansing cloths. 

When Skincare.com asked Nichole where she thought the company would be in 10 years, she told them, “I see Kinfield being a pioneer for sustainability in consumer products that are both clean and effective, while creating and celebrating an inspired community of people who love the outdoors. I hope that we can continue to set the bar on incredible products that are powered by plants, backed by science, and part of a happy, healthy outdoor lifestyle.”

If Kinfield’s deal with the Sharks does eventually close, the company will likely experience even more dynamic growth with Barbara Corcoran and Tony Xu along for the ride. 

Author

  • Mark Furr

    Mark is a professional writer and editor currently living in Belize. He taught abroad at universities for many years, and he was also a Series Editor for Oxford University Press. After a career in education, he moved to Hawaii where he owned several businesses in the tourism industry. As a former business owner, Mark is interested in entrepreneurship and has always been a fan of Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den.