‘Shark Tank’ investors didn’t miss out on its product. This only strengthened his resolve

Lydia Evans has come a long way since her appearance shark Tank in 2014. In episode 11 of season 6, the business owner and medical esthetician approached the show’s celebrity investors with Handmade. Skin care item she’ll definitely be a hit with: the SW&G bar, a $15 soap made with extracts and other natural ingredients that can clean, exfoliate, and disinfect skin all at the same time.

Evans sought $125,000 in exchange for 20 percent equity in his Houston-based company, Soap, Wash & Grooming Essentials, aka SW&G Essentials. Shark liked the idea, but eventually left the show without an offer.

Although investors felt it was too early to invest, Evans had actually been making body scrubs and creams for years, inspired by his longtime battle with eczema. He founded SW&G Essentials in 2008 with the intention of turning it into “a baby bath and body works”. A core element of the business was helping others who needed skincare products that either didn’t exist or were hard to find. The idea for the SW&G bar, suggested by his barber brother, resonated with that goal. “When I looked at what was in there, they were mainly chemically exfoliated products,” says Evans, 42. Nothing was made for men with natural ingredients that provides manual exfoliation. Word began to spread, and eventually he had nine local barbershops requisitioning bars.

The need for emotional self-healing also provided part of the impetus for becoming an entrepreneur. “As a chocolaty, fat girl, I grew up with the projection of other people’s insecurities onto myself, which then became my insecurities, and I didn’t feel like I was good enough in my natural state,” she says. The eczema that doctors couldn’t treat contributed to those insecurities. Over the years, she learned to create her own diet to improve the appearance of her skin.

Evans worked as a sales manager for a wholesale fragrance manufacturer in 2006. Then she started selling her own handmade body butters and scrubs from her home, and two years later opened a skin boutique in Houston called Urban Sugarbaby. As of 2012 she could not afford brick and mortar; Still committed to making and selling her own products, she started working from her home. He also enrolled in the Institute of Cosmetology, Aesthetics and Massage to gain a complete understanding of the chemistry of skincare, earning his medical esthetician’s license that year.

In 2013, SW&G’s sales approached $55,000, and its shark Tank Appearances garnered over $100,000 in sales in just 30 minutes after the show aired. Since then Evans has been able to secure promotional collaborations with the likes of Cedric the Entertainer and has booked public speaking engagements. Its soaps, eye masks, and other products — which the company now sells through online retailers including Amazon and Alrossa — are featured on good Morning America And this show today, She says the company’s valuation peaked at $2 million before the pandemic.

Evans still doesn’t have any investors, but he hasn’t given up on the idea entirely, especially since the pandemic forced him to leave the 3,000-square-foot lab he acquired two weeks after his television debut . She was reduced from eight employees to three and moved into a shared laboratory and workspace with other beauty brand makers. Like many other manufacturers, it is also facing supply chain challenges. SW&G’s revenue in 2021 was $300,000, a drop from pre-pandemic levels, and it is now looking for other ways to keep the company solvent.

“As with many small businesses, we are constantly assessing ways to pivot and direct our energies to thrive and bounce back from unforeseen events like the COVID shock,” says Evans. She has added beauty consultants to her credentials, tapping into her 15 years of experience in the business to mentor other entrepreneurs building their own beauty line.

SW&G Essentials also launched an affiliate program this year, which rewards customers who encourage their friends to buy the company’s products. Evans says that 10 percent of his revenue now comes from this program. Staying true to a lesson she learned from the days before she met the shark, she says, “Word of mouth is the oldest and best form of advertising.”