Melissa Butler and Rosco Spears did not get a deal on Shark Tank, but their company The Lip Bar is doing just fine. The women created a line of luxury, bright-colored lipsticks made from natural ingredients. At the time of the pitch, The Lip Bar had earned $107,000 in sales over two years. Since that time, they have held fast to their message of empowerment of women.
There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.
— TheLipBar (@TheLipBar) June 14, 2015
After their episode aired in February, Butler told Ebony that the harsh critique they received was largely a product of reality television. Despite being called “cockroaches” by Kevin O’Leary and leaving the Tank without financial backing, they valued the experience.
“It was actually awesome. They were jerks on the show, but you have to remember that it’s TV. It’s literally reality TV. So at a certain point, you have to realize that they’re trying to increase their ratings. We’re pitching for like an hour and then they chop it down to about seven or eight minutes to make good TV, but it was good because it made us run our show a little more tight. It made us validate the reason for existence because they were right. It is a saturated market. But I’m a firm believer that people buy what you believe and not what you sell.”
One shark, Lori Grenier, said there are issues with selling lipstick online because the colors don’t often match the pictures. But The Lip Bar got at least one online customer as a result of the show. Carol H. Hood wrote in Dame that she ordered four shades and although Grenier was somewhat correct, the colors turned out great.
The women told The Lip Bar’s Instagram followers in April that the Shark Tank experience served as motivation to continue on a positive trajectory. They have stuck with their existing branding, despite the panelists’ disapproval.
“[G]irls are not our target audience. Women are! So we have strategically chosen to keep our branding intact. The bar theme is not what makes us. Our commitment to natural, vegan and sustainable ingredients as well as our belief in empowering women to express themselves freely are why we are here.”
“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful” – Sophia Loren
— TheLipBar (@TheLipBar) June 18, 2015
Shark Tank is currently in reruns, but will return with new episodes in the fall.