Tones of Melanin: Shark Tank Update – A Friendly Catch-up

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Tones of Melanin, an HBCU apparel brand founded by Ashley Jones in 2017, took the spotlight during the season 14 finale of the popular TV show Shark Tank. The brand is dedicated to providing stylish clothing specifically for the HBCU community, aiming to fill a gap that Ashley identified during her time at university.

On Shark Tank, Ashley presented her clothing line to the panel of investors, showcasing her enthusiasm and work ethic. The Sharks were impressed with the unique designs catering to minority communities in colleges across the country.

As fans of the show eagerly awaited updates since the episode aired, Ashley and her clothing brand, Tones of Melanin, have continued their journey.

Background and History

Tones of Melanin is a clothing brand founded by Ashley Jones, a professional graphic designer. She came up with the idea for the brand when she was attending Norfolk State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). Ashley was unimpressed with the clothing options available at the school bookstore. Recognizing this gap, she decided to create a fashion line that catered to the diverse fashion preferences of college students, especially those attending HBCUs like Norfolk State University.

Journey to Shark Tank

Ashley’s dedication in creating a unique fashion brand for minority students eventually led her to appear on Season 14 of the TV show “Shark Tank.” Upon presenting her business idea to the Sharks, she was seeking a life-changing investment. Throughout the show, Tones of Melanin’s potential was evident, and ultimately, Shark Mark Cuban decided to invest in the brand, offering $300k for 15% equity. After some negotiation, Ashley and Mark agreed on a deal with 12% equity. Following the Shark Tank appearance, Tones of Melanin saw a significant sales boost, generating around $3.3 million.

The brand’s growth after the show is a testament to Ashley’s resilience and commitment to providing a clothing line that resonates with her target audience. By combining various fashion styles and drawing inspiration from her experience at an HBCU like Norfolk State University, Ashley managed to create a brand that has left a lasting impression on fans and continues to thrive.

The Deal on Shark Tank

Tones of Melanin, an HBCU apparel brand founded by Ashley Jones in 2017, appeared on Shark Tank Season 14, Episode 22. Ashley sought a significant investment for her clothing brand, which focuses on stylish clothing for the HBCU community.

In the episode, Ashley’s enthusiasm and work ethic impressed the Sharks. She pitched her company with an initial offer of $300,000 for 5% equity, valuing Tones of Melanin at $6 million. Among the Sharks, Mark Cuban saw potential in Ashley’s business and decided to make a counter-offer.

Mark Cuban’s counter-offer was $300,000, but for 12% equity in the company. This brought the valuation of Tones of Melanin down to $2.5 million. After considering her options, Ashley accepted Mark Cuban’s offer, securing the funds to expand her business further.

With this deal, Tones of Melanin’s net worth now stands at around $3 million. The support and investment from Mark Cuban have helped Ashley continue redesigning traditional fashion for college students in minority communities, solidifying the company’s presence in the market.

This memorable deal on Shark Tank has contributed to Tones of Melanin’s growth and success, while also highlighting the importance of supporting minority-owned businesses and promoting diversity within the fashion industry.

Tones of Melanin: The Brand

Tones of Melanin is an apparel brand that focuses on bringing fashionable and stylish clothing to the HBCU community. Created by an HBCU graduate, Ashley Jones, the brand offers a range of clothing items including bags, bottoms, outerwear, skirts, and accessories, targeting both male and female customers.

Fashion and Design

The fashion and design of Tones of Melanin is centered around streetwear and vintage styles. With a focus on quality and comfort, the clothing brand offers a variety of options to choose from, such as:

  • Hats: The brand features a range of stylish and trendy hats designed to show off your HBCU pride.
  • Hoodies: Comfortable and cozy, the hoodies offered by Tones of Melanin come in various colors and designs.
  • Bottoms: The brand’s pants and skirts cater to different tastes and complement different outfits.
  • Outerwear: From jackets to coats, Tones of Melanin provides fashionable and functional outerwear options.
  • Accessories: Rounding out its collection, the brand also carries a variety of accessories such as bags and other items to complete your look.

By providing an array of clothing options, Tones of Melanin caters to the diverse needs and preferences of its target audience. The brand’s unique blend of fashion and design makes it an attractive choice for those seeking trendy looks while representing their HBCU community.

The HBCU Connection

Tones of Melanin is an HBCU apparel brand created to provide stylish clothing tailored specifically for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) community. Founded in 2017 by Ashley Jones, the brand has swiftly risen to prominence, capturing the hearts and wardrobes of HBCU students and alumni alike.

The HBCU community has long been seeking options to express their school pride through comfortable and fashionable clothing. Tones of Melanin addresses this need by offering a wide variety of products, such as bags, bottoms, outerwear, skirts, and more for both male and female HBCU students.

When Ashley Jones was attending university, she was left unimpressed by the choice of clothes available in the school bookstore. This inspired her to create Tones of Melanin, which has not only filled the gap in the fashion industry but also strengthened the connection between HBCU students and their education.

The brand’s mission is clear: to celebrate HBCU education and promote its value through fashionable clothing specifically designed for this community. This commitment led Tones of Melanin to secure deals with HBCU bookstores and licenses.

One significant milestone for the brand was the partnership with Follett bookstores, which expanded the availability of Tones of Melanin products to numerous HBCU campuses. This has further solidified the company’s presence in the HBCU community and increased accessibility for students who wish to showcase their school pride through their attire.

The success of Tones of Melanin caught the attention of the popular TV show Shark Tank. Ashley Jones took her HBCU athleisure brand to the show and walked away with a $300,000 investment from Mark Cuban in exchange for 5% equity, providing the necessary financial means to expand and reach a broader audience in the HBCU community.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Tones of Melanin, founded by Ashley Jones, has been making waves in the fashion industry since its appearance on the Season 14 finale of Shark Tank. The brand, which aims to celebrate the culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through a fusion of streetwear, collegiate, and vintage fashion, has forged several noteworthy partnerships and collaborations in recent years.

One such collaboration is with Belk, a renowned department store chain in the United States. This partnership has enabled Tones of Melanin to expand its reach and showcase its unique, culturally significant clothing line to a wider audience. The brand’s products are now available in Belk stores across the country, providing customers with easy access to the fashionable and meaningful apparel.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, another prominent retailer, has also partnered with Tones of Melanin to offer their stylish merchandise. This collaboration not only broadens the brand’s presence but also aligns well with the athletic community that often associates Dick’s Sporting Goods with high-quality sportswear and clothing.

In addition to these retail partnerships, Tones of Melanin has joined forces with Fanatics, a global leader in licensed sports merchandise. This alliance has led to the development of exclusive, co-branded apparel collections, further cementing the brand’s position in the fashion sphere.

Moreover, Tones of Melanin has successfully established licensing programs, allowing its distinctive designs to be incorporated into other clothing lines and merchandise. These programs have contributed to the brand’s growing recognition and influence in the fashion industry.

Lastly, Tones of Melanin has found a solid footing within the academic community through collaborations with Follett College Bookstores. This partnership enables the brand to have a presence in college campuses and directly cater to its target audience, celebrating HBCU culture through its unique fashion offerings.

These partnerships and collaborations have undoubtedly contributed significantly to Tones of Melanin’s growing success and widespread recognition, while also staying true to the brand’s mission to celebrate HBCU culture and promote fashionable, culturally relevant apparel.

Sales and Revenue

Tones of Melanin, an HBCU apparel brand created by Ashley Jones, has seen significant success since its appearance on Shark Tank. The brand offers a wide variety of products including bags, bottoms, outerwear, skirts, and many more for both men and women.

So far, Tones of Melanin has generated $3.3 million in total sales. In 2022 alone, the company brought in an impressive $1.4 million. The year 2023 has also started on a positive note, with the brand already achieving a revenue of $330,000.

A key to Tones of Melanin’s success is their attractive product margins. For example, their iconic reversible jacket can be produced for around $30, while it sells online for $165. Many other products in the company’s collection boast similarly healthy margins, which is undoubtedly appealing to potential investors.

Speaking of investors, Tones of Melanin creator Ashley Jones secured a life-changing $300,000 investment from Mark Cuban during her Shark Tank appearance. This significant investment, combined with the revenue generated by the company, has contributed to Tones of Melanin’s growing net worth and market presence.

Given the sales, revenue, and investment figures, it’s evident that Tones of Melanin is progressing well in the competitive clothing market. With a strong product line, dedicated founder, and supportive investors, the brand is poised to continue its upward trajectory in the years to come.

User Experience and Feedback

Tones of Melanin has received a warm welcome from customers who appreciate the comfort and style of their clothing. The brand’s dedication to providing inclusive apparel options for a diverse range of skin tones has garnered much enthusiasm and positive feedback.

Many wearers have praised the comfortable materials used in the products, such as the iconic reversible jacket. Additionally, the brand’s dedication to inclusivity is apparent, as it offers a wide variety of clothing designed to suit various tastes and preferences. Customers note that the stylish designs set Tones of Melanin apart from other clothing brands, further solidifying its place in the market.

The enthusiasm for Tones of Melanin has only grown since the brand’s appearance on Shark Tank, which skyrocketed its sales and public visibility. Influencer collaborations and ongoing marketing efforts have contributed to maintaining a strong online presence, drawing in new customers and keeping loyal followers engaged.

Satisfied customers often share their positive experiences on social media, with many posting pictures of themselves wearing Tones of Melanin garments to showcase how the clothing complements their unique skin tones. This has generated a supportive online community that celebrates the brand’s mission.

In conclusion, user experience and feedback for Tones of Melanin reflect the brand’s success in providing comfortable, stylish, and inclusive clothing options for people with diverse skin tones. Customers’ dedication and enthusiasm further solidify its position as a trailblazer in the fashion industry.

Marketing and Awareness

Tones of Melanin has made significant strides in creating marketing and awareness for their brand, especially after their appearance on Shark Tank. The company leverages various channels to market their products and raise awareness among consumers in the fashion industry.

One of the effective strategies employed by Tones of Melanin is digital marketing. They have a strong online presence through their website and social media accounts, where they share vibrant product images and engage with their audience. In addition, they collaborate with popular HBCU influencers and events, enabling them to tap into a larger audience that resonates with their mission.

Furthermore, Tones of Melanin actively participates in fashion shows and expos that cater to minority communities. These events help position the brand as a leader in the collegiate fashion space for minority communities. Participation in these platforms not only increases visibility but also cements their commitment to embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity in the fashion industry.

In addition to these marketing strategies, Tones of Melanin’s collaboration with Shark Mark Cuban has played a significant role in increasing the brand’s reach. This partnership has opened doors for the company to access valuable resources, expertise, and strategic advice that have helped the brand to grow and innovate.

To sum up, Tones of Melanin’s marketing and awareness efforts have been instrumental in expanding their footprint in the fashion industry. Through a combination of effective digital marketing, strategic collaborations, and participating in relevant events, the company continues to be a positive force for change, empowering minority communities and promoting inclusivity.

Future Prospects and Opportunities

Tones of Melanin, a clothing brand introduced by entrepreneur Ashley Jones, has experienced significant success after its appearance on Shark Tank’s season 14 finale. With a growing following and established presence online, the brand is embracing multiple opportunities to expand and reach new heights in the market.

E-commerce has played a crucial role in the growth of Tones of Melanin. By focusing on their online presence and sales, the company is able to capitalize on the wide audience that the internet offers. This approach allows them to reach diverse customer groups and ensure a steady stream of income, even amid the ever-evolving retail landscape.

In addition to their online efforts, Tones of Melanin is also exploring the possibility of partnering with big box stores. Such collaborations have the potential to enhance brand visibility and credibility on a nationwide scale, giving the company an opportunity to establish itself even further as a prominent name in the fashion industry.

As the brand continues to gain traction, Tones of Melanin has several growth opportunities in the future. Expanding their product line to include more styles and designs that cater to a wider audience is one such opportunity. This added variety can help the brand maintain a strong connection with its customers, fostering loyalty, and encouraging repeat purchases.

Furthermore, Tones of Melanin can explore building new partnerships with colleges, particularly Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), across the country. This approach will not only create a stronger association with these institutions but also boost the brand’s foothold within their respective communities.

Overall, Tones of Melanin’s future is filled with promising prospects and opportunities. By capitalizing on e-commerce trends, exploring partnerships with big box stores, and maintaining a strong presence in educational institutions nationwide, the brand is well-positioned for continued growth and success.


Ashley Jones, the entrepreneur behind Tones of Melanin, made a significant impact on the Sharks during her appearance on Shark Tank. Her dedication to her business, along with her passion for HBCU culture, resonated with the investors. Ashley managed to secure a deal with Mark Cuban, who offered $300,000 for a 15% equity stake in the company. After a quick negotiation, Ashley and Mark agreed on a deal for 12% equity.

Tones of Melanin’s success goes beyond its appearance on television. The company has been able to donate $50,000 to HBCU Education by June 2022, thanks to private gifts and contributions. These funds provide a substantial boost to the educational institutions Tones of Melanin aims to support.

One of the strengths that set Tones of Melanin apart lies in its graphic design. Blending traditional HBCU imagery with modern fashion trends, the brand has carved a niche for itself in the world of college apparel. Having their products available in approximately 18 HBCU Follett bookstores across the country testifies to their growing presence and promising future.

In a world where businesses come and go, Tones of Melanin’s passion, dedication, and smart partnerships have set it on a path to success. With Ashley’s strong leadership, Mark Cuban’s investment, and the support they receive from HBCUs and their communities, this brand is poised to continue making a difference in the lives of students attending historically black colleges and universities.