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From Rejected To Major Retailers: What Happened To The Lip Bar After 'Shark Tank?'

If you’re a burgeoning business owner or hopeful entrepreneur, chances are you’re familiar with ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Premiering in 2009, the show’s premise revolves around aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their products or business ideas to a panel of potential investors, known as “sharks.” Made up of successful business moguls including Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary, these seasoned vets have the power to make some big dreams come true, as contestants plead for investment funds in exchange for equity in their companies. The show has been the force behind some of the industry’s most coveted products, from the Squatty Potty to the Scrub Daddy. Some products that don’t secure a deal on the show still manage to make traction, including Melissa Butler’s inclusive cosmetic brand , The Lip Bar. But what happened to The Lip Bar after “Shark Tank?” Here’s what we know. Who Is Melissa Butler? Before her appearance on “Shark Tank,” Melissa Butler was a former Wall Street financial analyst who...

Mar 29, 2024

Charlamagne Tha God Is Set To Open A Cannabis Dispensary And 6 Krystal Restaurants, And His Father's Journey Is The Reason Behind It All

If you are familiar with popular culture, you’ve likely heard of “The Breakfast Club” with Charlamagne tha God. Weekly, Charlamagne and his co-hosts dive into topics around entertainment, businesses, mental health, and more. Known for his hot takes and exploratory commentary, Charlamagne has made it known that his dimensions are not limited to his job behind the mic. He is an accomplished entrepreneur.

Dec 27, 2023

Producer And Businessman Timbaland Says Attending AFROTECH Conference For Fellowship 'Could Be The Timing For Your Next Step'

One of the beauties of the human experience is the ability to be multi-dimensional. Each person has a unique set of characteristics that, on the surface, may seem to contrast but make up a tapestry of people-centeredness that allows life to be less boring and the pursuit of passions more engaging. During AFROTECH Conference 2023, attendees were brought into a real-life example through an in-depth conversation with Hip-Hop producer Timbaland. While much of his discussion with the audience was centered around the future and possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI), including its intersections with the music industry, he dropped many gems that any entrepreneur or creative could use to advance their work. After his on-stage presence, AFROTECH had the chance to sit with Timbaland and go in-depth on his views beyond the music studio and how that has impacted his career trajectory.

Nov 17, 2023

T.I. Shares Some Of The Secrets To His Grand Hustle Success — 'Fear Of Failure Kills More Dreams Than Failure In It Ever Did'

There are certain songs that, when you hear them, it automatically gets you hyped. From school pep rallies to cheer competitions and every other big gathering in between — “Bring Em Out” by T.I.  is one of those songs. While the 2004 hit song has longevity and cross-over appeal, the song’s success is only a snapshot of the trap rapper’s career. Born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., T.I. released his debut album “I’m Serious” in 2001. Although the work didn’t receive major commercial appeal, it didn’t stop his musical pursuits. T.I. partnered with business partner Jason Geter to launch Grand Hustle Records in 2003. From its initial launch, the rapper began putting out a series of mixtapes, leading him to release his second album, “Trap Muzik,” boasting singles such as “Rubberband Man” and “Let’s Get Away.” Harris’ success story would continue to blossom from this point, as he produced several more successful albums, appeared in movies, and tapped into his business acumen. Diversifying his...

Apr 18, 2023

From A Restaurant With Gordon Ramsay To Virtual Cannabis, Snoop Dogg Has Business Moves That Prove He's More Than Music

When Snoop Dogg officially hit the scene as a solo artist in 1993 with his debut hit “Who Am I (What’s My Name),” the rapper put the world on notice that he was an emerging force and his presence in the rap game would be long-lasting. While only time could tell Snoop’s fate in the industry, a string of rap hits would prove that his name proclamation in the early 90s hit song would be his introduction as a household name. From the previously mentioned hit song from the album, “Doggystyle,” Snoop Dogg went on to create a slew of hits that include “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” “Beautiful,” and “Sensual Seduction.” And even though Snoop conquered the rap game, he diversified his music style, tapping into Gospel and Reggae music as Snoop Lion. To date, the California rapper has been involved in over 20 musical projects, including studio albums, compilations, and EPs. As reported by AfroTech, Snoop Dogg has garnered a net worth of $150 million, making him one of the wealthiest rappers from the...

Oct 4, 2022

In 1984, David Steward Borrowed $2K From His Dad To Venture Into Entrepreneurship — Now He's The Majority Owner Of A $14.5B Company

In 1978, gospel legend Walter Hawkins pinned lyrics that stated, “a little rain mixed with God’s sunshine a little pain, makes me appreciate the good times.” These words position themselves perfectly to the rags to riches story related to tech billionaire David Steward. Stories like these often provide hope, invigorate motivation, and inspire change, and Steward’s is no different. Born in Chicago, IL, Steward came from humble beginnings with seven other siblings. Although he was born in the Windy City, his family moved to his mother’s hometown of Clinton, MO, where he was raised. There, they lived in a small home that did not include indoor plumbing or heating. The family had a small farm with cows, vegetables, and crops. Tending to the land was a part of the Steward family’s daily responsibilities. “My jobs included emptying the chamber pots, shaking down the ash in the potbelly stove and then spreading it on the driveway for traction, cleaning the barn, feeding the cows and pigs,...

Sep 13, 2022

Black Businesses Are A Vibe — But LinkedIn Data Suggests Access To Capital Is Still A Huge Barrier, Especially For Black Women

In 1900, James Weldon Johnson penned the poem, “Lift Every Voice And Sing.” Later, his brother J. Rosamond Johnson would put music to that poem, which would be one day known as the Black National Anthem. Written initially to commemorate the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, the anthem is now a song of pride for Black people and speaks to the audacity of hope and a future far beyond many people’s wildest dreams. For years, Black men and women have latched on to that audacity, and through innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, they created a life and a future they could be proud of. As the United States celebrates Black Business Month in August, it is a time to reflect on the glorious past and strategize for a more promising future. LinkedIn is a partner in that strategic effort and collaborated with YouGov to gather data about the state of Black businesses that can help shed light on the great strides the community has made and the opportunities to advance. During its...

Aug 5, 2022

How Mikaila Ulmer Started Me & The Bees Lemonade At Age Four Then Later Hit The Seven-Figure Mark in Sales

Meet Mikaila Ulmer, the owner of the lucrative lemonade business that everyone seems to be talking about. In 2016, the Texas native created her own brand of lemonade, Me & The Bees Classic Lemonade, based on an idea that came about after her great-grandmother gifted her an old cookbook. Despite the fact that the book was falling apart, what ended up falling together for Mikaila changed the course of her family’s lives forever. According to The New York Post, the young lady found a recipe from the 1940s for making lemonade with flaxseed as one of the main ingredients. Like many youths, she started with a lemonade stand right outside of her house and the rest was history. Per reports from Ulmer’s team, her company received a Local Producer Loan from Whole Foods Market in the amount of $10,000 back in 2015. Since then, she has used the funds to scale and grow her business, which recently hit the 7-figure sales mark.

Jun 21, 2022

More Than Cookies: Famous Amos Is Awarding $150,000 To Three Black Entrepreneurs

When Wally Amos founded Famous Amos Cookies in 1975, he was navigating one of the most challenging times of his life. Newly divorced and struggling with the tides of pursuing Hollywood success, he went on to find major success in sweet treats. However, his success was not a solo effort. With early backing from celebrities like Marvin Gaye, Amos was able to sell approximately $300,000 worth of cookies in his inaugural year. The cookie brand is now paying it forward with the second round of entrepreneurial grants. In a May 19 press release, Famous Amos announced a partnership with the National Black Chamber of Commerce to launch the second cycle of the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative . The entrepreneurial program is designed to offer grants and mentorship as essential tools and resources to assist Black business owners. Participants will engage in a pitch contest that provides a high-level overview of their business, why it will become a successful...

May 20, 2022

Pharrell Williams' Black Ambition Returns To Award Black And Latinx Entrepreneurs Prizes Of Up To $1M

Pharrell Williams continues to pour into Black entrepreneurs and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Founded by the global superstar, Black Ambition is returning for its second year to foster Black and Latinx leaders and communities. Entrepreneurs with ventures in products and services, media and entertainment, healthcare, technology, and Web 3.0 are encouraged to apply for a chance to win up to a million dollars. In addition to funding, students will be provided mentorship, resources, and “founder-friendly investment terms.” “When you realize how lucky you are to be in the constellation of the universe and when you learn how it really works, you stop buying vehicles and you create vehicles to drive you. That’s what Black Ambition is, it’s a vehicle for impact. At Black Ambition, we find you and then we fund you,” Williams said, according to a press release. In 2021, Black Ambition supported over 250 entrepreneurs and awarded over $3.2 million to support their...

Mar 22, 2022

22-Year-Old University Of Houston Student Datreese Thomas Launches Doll Company To Empower Black Girls

The coming of age story can lead to a beautiful destination. Datreese Thomas dived into a journey of self-discovery after experiencing growing pains during her freshman year at the University of Houston. Datreese Thomas’ season of becoming led to her first business venture, The Melanie Dolls. The student turned entrepreneur wanted to empower Black girls in their journey of becoming. “I wanted to help Black girls feel beautiful, gain courage, and just develop self-love. I do that by providing a product that helps young Black girls individually see themselves better. I truly believe the company I created is a clear reflection of the journey that I had to go through with myself,” Datreese Thomas told AfroTech. Thank you so much @its_Datreese ! Representation is everything!!! She loves it!!! @themelaniedolls — Da’Yon Dunlap (@DayonDunlap) January 10, 2022

Mar 7, 2022

Nic King Talks Creating The First-Black Owned Cereal Company With Family And The Culture In Mind

Everybody eats when the family is at the forefront! When describing himself, Nic King — the founder of the first Black-owned cereal company — says “family-oriented” is what comes to mind, which sounds about right for the man who has a vision of building a legacy for his family. “This is why I call my company Legacy Cereal company,” he explained. “I’ve always set the expectation that this is forging a path to set my family up to have a better future. [That] has been my goal forever.” As previously reported by AfroTech, King’s cereal brand, Proud Puffs was launched as a reminder that representation matters in every industry. Now, just over a year later, King is on a mission to continue to build brands within his company that impacts the culture. He joined AfroTech to shed light on the importance of building a legacy, his own personal journey to entrepreneurship, and creating cereal that is for the culture.

Mar 4, 2022

LinkedIn Distributes $500K To And digitalundivided To Support Black Entrepreneurs

LinkedIn is on a mission to support the Black community. According to information provided exclusively to AfroTech, LinkedIn will distribute $500,000 in grants to digitalundivided and The contribution will propel LinkedIn’s Black entrepreneurship fellowship programs and provide new economic pathways for the community. LinkedIn will work alongside the selected organizations to uplift the stories of rising entrepreneurs and instill awareness for additional capital and resources year-round. “As a company, we are on a journey to create equal access to opportunity and help drive more equitable outcomes. Our strategic partners are essential in that journey and since 2020, we have donated $5 million in funding and services to organizations that support economic and workforce development within the Black community,” LinkedIn said in an article published. “We selected digitalundivided and because of their holistic approach to developing, supporting and funding...

Feb 9, 2022

Method Man Prioritizes Working With Minorities As He Ventures Into The Cannabis Industry

Method Man is now a businessman in the pot industry. According to Westword, the legendary Wu-Tang rapper and actor has launched a new cannabis line called TICAL, which is named after his first solo album. In collaboration with Boulder marijuana grower Vera, TICAL will begin a limited release of products to Denver dispensaries beginning on Aug. 13, and the line includes various strains of popular marijuana plants. The first strains include Sweet Grease, Free Mac and Orange Cookie Kush which will make their debut at Simply Pure and WolfPac Cannabis stores. “I’m absolutely thrilled at the prospect of bringing TICAL to Colorado’s mature and sophisticated adult-use market,” Method Man says in a statement to the outlet announcing the launch. “Our team has worked long and hard to bring the same energy, creativity, and equity to this brand that I have to everything I have done throughout my career.” Additionally, TICAL took the extra step to partner with Simply Pure and WolfPac, two...

After Struggling With His Skin, Here's How Kri Peck Worked With Chemists To Create A Skincare Line Of His Own

This founder turned his acne woes into dough! Kri Peck has always been one to stand out and go against the norm. Whether it’s through his work as a publicist or an advocate within the LGBTQIA+ community, he isn’t afraid to use his platform and voice to prompt change. Now, he’s changing the skincare game ! KRI SKIN was launched to help others with their skincare journey. The publicist, actor, and now entrepreneur has made the decision to use a solution that worked for him to help eradicate acne , hyperpigmentation, and acne scars.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by @kriskinllc   After struggling with horrible cystic acne for over 10 years and coming up short on finding products that worked, Kri took matters into his own hands. “I basically tried everything on the market, everything over the counter and everything prescribed to me by dermatologists and nothing works,” said Kri in an official interview with AfroTech. “And so I was like I’ve got to figure out a way to...

Jun 30, 2021