Melissa Butler knew her line of brightly colored lipsticks would be a hit—so when the beauty industry ignored and even rejected her, she kept moving forward.
Two things led Melissa Butler to become an entrepreneur: She hated her Wall Street job; and as a Black woman, she couldn’t find lipstick that complemented her skin tone. “Growing up, I never saw people who looked like me and were considered beautiful,” she says. “As I got older, I started understanding how the beauty industry perpetuates this B.S., linear idea of beauty.” So Butler set out to create a better beauty brand, offering vegan, cruelty-free lipsticks in bold shades like purple and green. She had no idea what she was doing—but naivete served her well, forcing her to take risks when she had no other option. Today, thanks to relentless hard work (and a little bit of stalking), The Lip Bar is an eight-year-old brand with $2 million in funding and shelf space at Target. Here’s how she built it.
1/ Ask questions— and get answers.
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