It’s not unheard of to be familiar with someone annoyed by the challenge of finding bandages that match that person’s skin tone. As a solution to that issue, in 2018, Rashid Mahdi and Intisar Bashir launched Browndages, which offers a diverse array of skin-toned bandages.
“The bandages we were buying did not match the flesh of our family,” Bashir told Vogue, “so we thought to create our own company.”
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Browndages may have proved a great idea for the married couple, but they didn’t have the funding or means to make Browndages bigger. That was until the founders went on ABC’s business pitch show “Shark Tank” in June 2020.
Their appearance on the show drove up sales. According to the entrepreneurial husband and wife, they brought in roughly $130,000 in revenue in just six days.
The “Shark Tank” pitch also landed the pair a $100,000 investment with a $75,000 line of credit from the investor trio of Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner and Daymond John. The three Sharks agreed to split 25 percent equity in the company, CNBC reported.
Browndages’ paper boxes retail for $3.99 each and only cost 63 cents per item to make.
“I can’t even fathom right now exactly what this means and what it’s going to do for us to have Mark and Lori and Damon all on the Browndages team,” Bashir said. “But I only expect things to go up and for us to continue to grow and leave an even bigger legacy for our children.”
Cuban even offered to have his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, to wear and distribute the bandages as well.
According to Cuban, doing this would help the brand “extend into multiple communities, so they can all feel represented.” The Mavericks could “partner with schools all around [Dallas],” he said, and nurses at those schools also could distribute Browndages’ bandages.
The couple has expanded the line to include bandages for children, after finding that their three young children liked wearing colorful bandages adorned with images of princesses and superheroes on them. “But none of those images that we’d purchase looked like them,” Bashir said.
So, in addition to the brown-tone colored bandages, they added fun bandages for children of color. They commissioned U.K.-based artist Princess Karibo to draw images in the likeness of their own children, depicting them as veterinarians, chefs, astronauts and ballerinas on the bandages.
“We wanted to show them what they could actually attain,” she said.
Mahdi and Bashir suddenly sold out of Browndages bandages and could not keep up with inventory. So the couple reached out to their Shark investors for help with distributing and marketing.
The pair now is working on a plan to get Browndages, which reportedly has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration, into hospitals, schools and big-box stores.