Our Swim in the Shark Tank: Part 1

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Nichole Powell of Kinfield stands on the set of ABC Shark Tank with her display of Kinfield products in the background.

"You should be on Shark Tank!"

I laughed. The year was 2018, and Kinfield hadn't even launched yet—it was still a dream in the sky. I was in New York, pacing the lobby of a random hotel, and on the phone with someone who would later become one of our investors. His suggestion was a powerful one, but it felt wild in the moment. We hadn't even launched yet! How could I dream about sharing our story and products on national TV?!

Fast-forward to the summer of 2022. I had launched Kinfield in 2019 to fanfare and positive reviews, and had spent the next three years putting every late night and ounce of energy I had into building my small company.

What I didn't know was that a producer from ABC's Shark Tank had emailed us in January of that year—and we had missed it.

"I'm hoping to connect with your founder Nichole Powell. Might she have interest in potentially being considered for our upcoming 14th season?"

(I know, I know—you're thinking, how the heck do you miss that?! But here's the thing: we're a small team, and we get a LOT of spam emails and sales pitches. So this particular email went unnoticed. Oops.)

Months later, a friend mentioned that she thought we'd be a good fit for Shark Tank. As I was later searching in my inbox for her email, I found it: the note that the casting producer had sent, and that my customer care team had forwarded... seven months earlier.

I had missed it completely. CUE PANIC MODE.

It was a Tuesday in early August. I called the casting producer and left a voicemail. I sent him an note moments later, replying to his January email. Unsurprisingly, he wrote back to say sorry, I was too late. There wasn't enough time for producers to consider me for the season. Augh.

Undeterred, I offered to send over a quick video for consideration as an alternate. I was SURE that the producers, and Shark Tank's viewers, would love the story of Kinfield and the products and community we had created. If only I could have the chance to share it.

Ten minutes later, my phone rang. It was the producer.

"That is THE LONGEST it has EVER taken ANYONE to respond to my email!!!!!!"

You could hear the laughter in his voice. And rightly so! I had written him back SEVEN months later, with a note that made it seem as though I was just a few days late. I immediately apologized and sheepishly explained how it had all happened, and said that I'd still love to be considered, if there was anything at all that we could do.

He told me that they were finalizing the rest of the season in three days—so we had less than 72 hours to pull together the audition video, send product samples to LA, and complete the 200+ question application. He asked me if I wanted to do it. Without hesitation, I responded:


Stay tuned for the next chapter, and subscribe to our emails to be the first to read Part 2!

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