Everyone has that one that got away, whether it’s been a job, a relationship — you name it. However, for “Shark Tank’s” Kevin O’Leary, also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” it was The Lip Bar, a cosmetics company — “founded and owned by women of color” — to bring more inclusivity to the beauty industry.
“I’m determined to change the way people think about beauty and their experiences with beauty,” CEO Melissa Butler told AfroTech in a previous interview. “More than anything, I’m just determined to increase the self-esteem of women everywhere.”
On her route to determination, Butler and her partner appeared on “Shark Tank” in 2015 and faced rejection.
When Butler and her business partner first took the kitchen-made, vegan lipsticks into the “tank,” they were told to quit before it was too late, but thankfully, they didn’t.
During the appearance, Mr. Wonderful and other “sharks” harshly rejected the products and even went as far as calling it “clown makeup.” Now, he notes how the company rubs it in that he was wrong every chance they get, and rightfully so.
“‘Shark Tank’ told me to quit. 10 years and 2 million units sold,” read a billboard in Butler’s hometown of Detroit, MI to commemorate a decade in the business. “Thanks, Mr. Wonderful.”
It's Okay to Admit When You're Wrong
For Mr. Wonderful, it’s okay to admit when you had it wrong.
“Here’s what I’ve learned, you don’t know what’s going to work,” said the “Shark Tank” investor during an interview with “The Breakfast Club.” “You may think you do but each season the deals that I think are real dogs end up being real hits.”
He continued: “I’m proud of them for taking the heat. I’m proud that they’re entrepreneurs and are successful. It’s a wonderful thing to see that happen. They were facing an almost impossible task because going into the cosmetics industry is so difficult to get market share. But they pulled it off, so you gotta applaud them — there’s no question about it. But that is a tough space because the margins are so high that the competition is just brutal.”
Today, The Lip Bar sits in retailers like Target, Walmart, and more, along with a flagship store in Detroit.