Rejected on Shark Tank, Detroiter's lipstick line 'Lip Bar' is a hit

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She was on the show Shark Tank and was bitten hard by the sharks.

She didn’t sink, but swam, and swam hard.  Now, her idea of bold colored lipsticks is making a mark across the country and her story is based here in Detroit.  

"They were wrong, but it’s okay," Melissa Butler said. "I didn’t take what they said to my head. They didn’t have the power to have authority over my dreams and my business."

It’s that attitude that’s created a beauty business called the Lip Bar.  They said it couldn’t be done, there wouldn’t be interest, but now Target is carrying her vegan, natural and boisterous colors on their store shelves.  

Her first brick and mortar store is in her hometown.  Butler moved from New York back to Detroit to make the move and open this business on Agnes Street and Van Dyke in West Village.
It was her hard work, grit, and never quit attitude, that landed her this success. But she’s thankful for a program called Entrepreneurs of Color that helped cement the deal.  

"We get the call from Target and they said we are going to launch in 42 stores, but how do we pay for the inventory? And so they issued us a line of credit and it helped pay for the Target inventory," she said. "We would have never been able to pay for it."

The Entrepreneurs of Color program started with $6 million.  It’s now tripled to $18 million.  It’s a program similar to the Motor City Match program which helped the house of Pure Vin led by Regina Gaines, get off the ground-now tasting tremendous success.  
"We have a team of amazingly talented people at the Detroit economic growth corporation," said Michael Rafferty, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. "They cannot only help you with your business plan but also point you in the direction of other resources that exist throughout the city

Butler hopes others will be inspired-to create an idea that sticks as colorfully as hers 

"If you believe strongly in your purpose and your passion don’t let anything get in your way," Butler said. 

For more on Entrepreneurs of Color, go to

For more information about Motor City Match, go to