Once Rejected By Investors, Melissa Butler’s "The Lip Bar" Raises Nearly $7M In Funding Round

Beauty entrepreneur Melissa Butler launched her cosmetics brand The Lip Bar with a mission to “change the way people think about beauty.” It looks like she’s changed the minds of skeptical investors as well.

In 2015, Butler appeared on the business pitch competition series Shark Tank with the aim of obtaining investment dollars for her cutting-edge beauty company—the panel was harsh, and even called it “clown makeup.” 

7 years later, Butler has closed on $6.7M in seed funding.

Per a news release, the round was led by Penduluman inclusive and strategic growth investing and advisory platform designed for founders and leaders of color, with The Fearless Fund and Endeavor rounding out the cap table. Butler said she plans to continue growing The Lip Bar, changing societal beauty norms along the way.

“TLB’s tremendous success is a direct testament to Melissa Butler’s dedication to building an innovative house of brands. Beyond its bold color cosmetics, TLB resonates with customers because of its commitment to reimagining beauty standards,” said Pendulum’s Co-Founder and CEO Robbie Robinson in a news release. “We are excited to partner with Melissa and the TLB team as they continue to grow an inclusive platform in the category.” 

The company initially launched with just lipsticks, and eventually expanded to offer a full range of vegan cruelty-free products.

“I have personally witnessed Melissa’s journey from leaving Wall Street, to the inception of TLB and the subsequent execution that has turned TLB into a first-class beauty company revolutionizing the variety of colors and bold lips for women of color,” said Arian Simone, General Partner and Co-Founder of Fearless Fund. “We at the Fearless Fund are honored to partake in this round alongside Pendulum and Endeavor. We look forward to adding value as Melissa continues to scale the business and offer solutions that cater to all buyers in the beauty space,”

Launched in 2012, the line is sold in more than 1000 stores nationwide including Target and Walmart.

“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,” Butler said. “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. Until recently, I had only raised $2M and with that $2M, drove a massive expansion in Target and Walmart, hired top tier talent and launched a second brand, thread. If I could do that with $2M, I’m excited about what I can do with $6.7M!”

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