TLB (formerly The Lip Bar), is celebrating 10 years in the beauty business providing products that not only take an authentic approach to makeup but also display inclusiveness, which is exactly why we’ve been obsessed with the brand for the past decade. 

“Not only has our business and product offering grown tremendously but so has our purpose in the industry,” Creative Director Rosco Spears says about the celebration.

TLB has evolved since its inception as a line of bright lipsticks, and the brand has become synonymous with effortless beauty for all skin tones. “At every stage of our journey, our products have spoken for themselves and provided a solution for shoppers that was missing in the beauty space—in the beginning, we created affordable lipstick in out-of-the-box shades with quality ingredients,” she explains.

Spears continues, “Over the last few years, we have developed an amazing complexion-based makeup offering that’s curated for our customers. Our goal is to continue to create products that are easy to use, providing maximum impact with minimal effort.”

To further commemorate the success of the brand, TLB has launched a bundle of its best-selling lipstick color, Bawse Lady, a deep red, which is known to be a favorite of Michelle Obama’s. The Bawse Bundle ($39) includes liquid lipstick, lip gloss, shimmer balm, and lip liner in a bold color.

As for founder Melissa Butler, she honored the milestone by sitting down with ESSENCE to share her secrets to success as a Black beauty founder with future entrepreneurs.

“Don’t hide your Blackness,” Butler stresses. The entrepreneur advocates for upcoming business owners to use their voices to promote diversity and inclusivity within their industry.

Little known fact, just because a business is Black-owned doesn’t mean that it’s exclusively for Black consumers. Most African-American founders fear being categorized as such and refrain from sharing that they are Black-Owned until they have reached a certain level of success. 

“Don’t be afraid to use your voice, because the reality is, only a Black person can use it effectively. By telling your story, you’re also identifying a piece of the market that still has the opportunity for growth.”

Butler suggests prioritizing unique relationships so that people know more about you and the direction in which you are navigating your business. “They will be able to keep up with you, look out for you, and find where they can help you.”

Amongst those relationships, she believes that mentorship can truly help entrepreneurs excel, however you need to know the right questions to ask. “Entrepreneurs reach out to me all the time and they say, ‘Hey, Melissa! I also want to start a business. Where do I start?” she explains. “It’s really difficult for me to answer that question because I don’t know what you’ve done? You have to come to me with more, I can’t give you everything.” 

For a more productive conversation, the business owner urges future entrepreneurs to ask specific questions. “Come to me and tell me what you’ve done and what you really need assistance with, then I can help you and give feedback where I can.” 

Lastly, Butler advises future founders to be vulnerable and ask for support.

“Be willing to build a relationship with your community.  Be vulnerable and humble enough to say, ‘hey, I’m doing this, will you support me? Or ‘hey, I did this and it didn’t go right. Do you know how to make it better?’ You will most certainly get someone’s attention.” 

The Bawse Bundle is available starting online at and