Melissa Butler would never have had a shot at  becoming the founder of the first Black-owned vegan brand lipstick. She took a bold step of transitioning from Wall Street as a financial analyst to The Lip Bar, a business founded by her.  The Lip Bar owner Melissa Butler and creative director Rosco Spears had appeared in 2015 on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank on live television to pitch the vegan, gluten-free and paraben-free lipstick company, along with a mobile food-truck like vehicle that would allow Butler to get her products directly to consumers. Kevin O’Leary, an investor on ABC literally told Melissa and her partner that they’de be “crushed like colorful cockroaches.”


There is going to be a hundred thousand doors slammed in your face before one opens, so feel ok about taking rejection. Heather Mataraz


The strategy worked, sending over 30,000 hits to their website when the show aired last year in February, and another 120,000 within the first two weeks of the premiere. The increase in their brand presence also lead fashion sites such as Nasty Gal and Forever 21 knocking on their door. A lot of our opportunities came organically. They ‘ve never paid for marketing. It’s just been an awesome experience because they think The Lip Bar keeps growing and the appreciation for their very cool packaging, story and  product. This is the fairytale of how “The colourful cockroaches” has gained interest.”



In her words, she says “I do this because I grew up doubting my own beauty and today, I see people transforming to fit into society’s linear idea of what beauty is. So i’m here to say, YOU ARE ENOUGH, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

And I see makeup  as a mere enhancement of who you are, not a completion of you! Melissa went back to her work table to and for the past two years she has been working on improving her brand.

However the good news is The Lip Bar, has gotten a deal with Target Stores.

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