When Dan Ben-Nun, creator of Inkkas Worldwear Shoe Co., found himself in need of capital to expand his footwear business, he reached out to entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis, host of CNBC’s reality show, “The Profit.”
Lemonis, who is also chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, often comes to the aid of struggling small businesses. In exchange for capital investment and his financial advice, Lemonis takes an ownership stake in the company.
According to Ben-Nun, Lemonis agreed to come aboard, with the story to unfold on the Jan. 19 episode of the show. “We had strong revenues, but not enough working capital,” said Ben-Nun, who launched the collection of Latin America-made footwear in 2013.
Sworn to secrecy until the show’s airing, Ben-Nun did tell Footwear News that since the company’s debut, it has generated revenues of $5 million, enough to peak Lemonis’ interest. “He saw our potential — and that we needed his help,” said Ben-Nun.
Ben-Nun stepped into the shoe business after a backpacking trip across Latin America in 2012, where he met and admired the local artisans making shoes from authentic textiles. He later hired them for his own line of sneakers and boots.
According to Ben-Nun, the company is also committed to fair trade, and as part of the OneShoeOneTree project, it plants one tree for every product sold. In partnership with TreesForTheFuture, Inkkas is helping to reforest the world and provide sustenance for local populations in developing countries.