From Clown Makeup to Raising Capital - The Stylista Group


From Clown Makeup to Raising Capital

Brand Rewind

From Clown Makeup to Raising Capital

By Altia Bend

Earlier this month, TLB announced that it had raised $6.7 million with the help of  Pendulum, an inclusive and strategic growth investing and advisory platform designed for founders and leaders of color, to expand its house brands such as their stable brand, The Lip Bar and thread beauty, “the newly launched, bold, gender-neutral, Gen Z-focused, BIPOC beauty brand that is proving to be a breath of fresh air in the industry”.This is an amazing accomplishment considering how TLB got its start.

Prior to its present success, TLB faced nearly a decade of rejection. In 2021, founder Melissa Butler started making vegan lipsticks for women of color in her kitchen. Butler even appeared on Shark Tank , where she was rejected and told her products looked like “clown makeup”. Check out the cringe-worth rejection here:

In an interview with Detroit Free Press, Butler discussed her Shark Tank appearance andstated, “In business, especially for 10 years, things obviously go wrong every single day…that was just something that went wrong that day. But I understand the view of resilience that lots of people have come to admire about us because we could have stopped going when a group of multimillionaires and billionaires are telling you that your idea won’t work. It takes a lot of courage to look within and say, ‘I’m still going to go after this.’” 

Rather than giving up ion her dream and her products, Butler recognized that the investors on the show were not her core demographic and continued developing TLB. 

Now, TLB had reached major milestones with over 2 million units sold, a flagship store in Butler’s hometown, Detroit, and can be found in stores across the country like Target, Meijer and Walmart. Butler’s products have even been worn by Michelle Obana and other celebrities! 

As for what’s next for TLB? “We plan on growing our team and improving our ability to better service the needs of our consumers across different divisions, because we understand how experience and expertise can spur growth quickly,” The Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler wrote in a statement to The Detroit News. “We also plan to continue to drive our innovation forward to create beauty solutions that allow everyone to experience easy, effortless, essentials that empower confidence.”

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