Fitness doesn’t always have to be old-fashioned dumbbells and barbells. Natalie Holloway and Max Kislevitz realized this, so they created stylish wrist and ankle weights. They pitched their business Bala Bangles on season 11 of Shark Tank. After securing a deal with two Sharks, Bala Bangles is worth $10 million in 2024.
Meet the Founders
Natalie Holloway and Maximilian Kislevitz are a married couple from Los Angeles, California. Previously, they both worked for the marketing agency 72andSunny and spent over 10 years in the advertising industry.
The couple gained experience working with major brands such as Starbucks and Google. This was a substantial income source for them, but it also caused them to burnout.
Eventually they left 72andSunny, they took a gap year and traveled across Southeast Asia. During this time, the two spent a lot of time achieving fitness goals with daily yoga lessons.
Founding Bala Bangles
As they enjoyed the perks of a regular workout routine on their vacation, Natalie and Max remembered how hard it was to insert a fitness plan into their busy lives back home. The pair talked about ways to make exercising easier for busy people.
The discussion eventually led to the famous wrist and ankle weights in the 1980s. It sparked the idea to reinvent these tools with a more contemporary look. In 2017, they came up with the weight-adjustable Bala Bangles.
To launch the company, they used $10,000 of their own money and raised $40,000 from a Kickstarter campaign. By 2019, the company had already made $2 million in sales, but they didn’t want to stop there.
Appearing on Shark Tank
In 2020, Natalie Holloway and Max Kislevitz appeared on Shark Tank, asking for $400,000 in exchange for a 10% equity stake. Their pitch impressed the Sharks, including guest Shark Maria Sharapova, a former tennis player.
Being a fitness enthusiast herself, the light and trendy workout equipment immediately piqued Maria’s interest. The other Sharks were caught off guard by the startup’s remarkable profit margins and lifetime sales. Ultimately, Mark Cuban and Sharapova combined forces to invest $900,000 for 30% equity.
Update After Shark Tank
Their Shark Tank appearance helped them reach $3 million in sales through various pickup stores and fashion websites. Of course, the publicity helped but people like the unique design and sales continued to grow when the pandemic hit.
A month after the episode aired, fitness studios and gyms across the United States were closed for safety protocols. This created the home gym craze, which Bala Bangles massively benefited from. As 2020 ended, the company was worth 10 times its initial value.
Annual revenue now stands at $20 million as the Bangles is available in over 500 retail stores in the US. Lifetime sales have reached $64 million as of January 2024. Now, they are planning to introduce 10 new products onto the market. With this, the $10 million valuation is only expected to grow in the coming years.