A reminder to never give up on your dreams!
Shark Tank investors told Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler to quit, but 10 years later, her beauty company is booming.
Viewers have tuned in for 13 seasons to watch Shark Tank, a popular ABC show where entrepreneurs get a chance to pitch their company to successful investors with the hope of gaining financial backing. The investors, known as “sharks,” usually give the entrepreneurs advice on the product, marketing and other business essentials, before making the decision to invest or not, negotiating the terms for millions to see.
The show is a pretty good way to see a glimpse of the inner machinations of big business, many budding entrepreneurs seeing their business grow exponentially after securing a Shark Tank deal. Keisha Smith-Jeremie secured a $150,000 investment deal from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in exchange for a 25 percent stake in her applesauce company. Prior to that, Moziah Bridges snagged an investment deal at just 12-years-old on the hit show for his bow tie business. Most recently, 19-year-old Tania Speaks was able to score a whopping $400,000 investment deal from Cuban for her beauty brand, the shark saying he was inspired by her story.
However, not all of the entrepreneurs walk away from the show so lucky, a number of great businesses being overlooked because the investor panel doesn’t know what to do with the business idea, doesn’t feel the entrepreneur’s pitch is strong enough, feels the investment is too risky for the product, or in the case with The Lip Bar, doesn’t understand the value of the entrepreneur's idea.
Founded by Butler in 2012, The Lip Bar (TLB) is a vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand that started out selling lipsticks and has now grown their offerings from concealers, to tinted skin conditioners and everything in between. In 2015, Butler and her business partner, Rosco Spears appeared on Shark Tank, looking to build their brand which had already begun gaining traction in Butler’s hometown of Detroit.
The women pitched to the Sharks, donned in their TLB vibrant lip shades, highlighting their current success, interest from major retailers, and their issue with distribution which they hoped to solve by opening a “Lip Bar Mobile,” which would bring their products directly to consumers.
Instead of offering constructive criticism or even highlighting the genius in the idea while declining to invest, the sharks began to attack the women, calling the idea flat-out “bad.” The women defended their position, letting them know that bright color lipstick, like the purple and green they were sporting were actually very popular with their demographics and wearing it drove sales. The sharks weren’t trying to hear it and basically dismissed the women, telling them to quit.
Despite the experience, Butler and Spears persisted, growing TLB into a full-on beauty house, securing their products in major retailers including Target and Walmart and winning a number of honors, including being named Allure’s Best of Beauty winner. 10 years later, the women decided to celebrate their success with new billboards across the country that read “Shark Tank told me to quit. 10 years and 2 million units sold. Thanks, Mr. Wonderful.”
“10 years later and we’re still [100 percent] that Bawse. The sharks told us to quit, but we kept going. 2 million units later…thanks, Mr. Wonderful. Here’s to many more years of challenging beauty standards and ignoring the haters. And I’m so happy to be doing it beside my bestie, [Rosco Spears],” Butler captioned a photo of her and Spears standing in front of one of the billboards.
The women received a litany of praise in the comments, many commenting on how much they love their products and how proud they were of the duo’s success. TLB’s story is a reminder to entrepreneurs everywhere to never give up, and to believe in your dream no matter what people say, even if the people are millionaire and billionaire investors. When you have a good product, the people will buy and despite what the sharks said, the people have spoken. The Lip Bar is here to stay.
Congratulations, Melissa and Rosco! Purchase your Lip Bar products here.
Photo Courtesy of Melissa Butler/Instagram