What started as a hustle out of a kitchen is now a national brand and business. If you’ve never heard of #TheLipBar, it’s a black owned cosmetic line created by Melissa Butler. Celebrities including Taraji P. Henson has been seen rocking this lip line and its also been featured on the Wendy Williams Show and spotted in People Magazine, Elle, Essence and more.
In recent news, Melissa just expanded #TheLipBar from being accessible online to also being available in 100 more select Target stores in every state, including in Southfield, Michigan.
To celebrate the expansion she held an in-store event at the Target in Southfield today to share the excitement with people from her hometown. As busy as it was, luckily I was able to grab a quick interview.
“I feel great, it's good to have my city support me in such a way and come out,” says Butler.
“We wasn't supposed to get started until 12 p.m., but there were people here at 11:30 a.m. already shopping.”
Before #TheLipBar, Butler was working in business and finance at Barclays international investment bank on Wall Street. She then realized that she didn’t fit in that type of working environment and decided to start her own business.
Six years ago #TheLipBar started out with Melissa creating beauty products from a variety of soaps and body butter at home.
“I was frustrated with the beauty industry and wanted to challenge it. I wanted to change the lack of diversity; the fact that most cosmetics were filled with unnecessary chemicals.”
Melissa decided that with her homemade cosmetics she would somehow change the industry instead of continuing to complain about it. This led her to be on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2015. However, after pitching her idea, it was rejected.
Now in 2018, Melissa’s products are sold in 142 Target stores across the country. #TheLipBar has also been sold in Forever 21 and at Nasty Gal.
“So much work was put in. Everyday is work,” says Butler.
“There are a ton of things that equated into launching in Target, so for any entrepreneur out there I'd say do the work, do the research, but also know that it’s going be hard and it’s going to be no’s, and it’s going be failures but that's fine you just have to keep going.”
Now that Melissa’s small business has skyrocketed, her brand has partnered with Ashley Blaine from Netflix’s “Dear White People” to introduce the summer collection and to address the beauty industry about their false inclusivity of people of color. New colors from the summer collection includes “Jezebel” and “Haut Mess” just to name a few.
Melissa says her next goal is to expand out of the country and allowing people more access to her products.
“We get customers to shop with us from Brazil, Paris, London and Canada all the time,” says Butler.
“The biggest goal is to make responsibly-made, vegan, cruelty-free and affordable cosmetics very accessible, so not just Target, but in Walmart, Walgreens; everywhere.”
#TheLipBar will soon add on affordable, chemical-free facial products in addition to the bold lip shades offered.
“It’s intense, but I’m excited to keep growing and challenging the beauty standards.”