With over 88 million Americans tuning into podcasts in 2019 and small businesses being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, American Express is venturing into new media, and tapping into a broader audience, with a video podcast “Built To Last” which highlights and honors the past and present stories of Black entrepreneurs while inspiring listeners to make the conscious choice to shop at Black-owned small businesses at a time when they need it most. This week, Detroiter Melissa Butler, CEO of The Lip Bar, shared her story on the podcast.
Hosted by Elaine Welteroth, each episode of “Built To Last” features in-depth interviews with Black-owned small business owners who are
flourishing despite these current circumstances. Throughout the series, Welteroth will explore the importance of Black-owned small businesses to their community, the legacy of the businesses that paved the way before them, the issues they are facing while navigating a global pandemic, and what it means for a business to be “Built to Last.”
This week, Welteroth is joined by Melissa Butler – founder and CEO of the sustainable cosmetic line, The Lip Bar. Throughout the video podcast Welteroth and Butler discuss the grand vision for Butler’s vegan and cruelty-free company, the unexpected lessons she’s learned from being a leader (and not just a CEO), and the essential importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“I was unfulfilled in my previous job and I chose to take the risk instead of having regret, so I started The Lip Bar. Money can’t make you happy. So I chose to do something to fulfill my purpose and help the community. I chose to not ignore the intuition in the back of my mind.” Says Butler. “I didn’t have money in the beginning, we didn’t become a real business until four years ago. I stuck with it because I believed in the purpose, the importance of self-worth and self-esteem. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful or whole or enough.”
Butler was motivated by a society that wasn’t conducive to women. She shares her experience on Wall Street, her journey to focusing on natural products, and expresses the importance of not willing to settle and setting your mind to a goal. Butler started The Lip Bar out of her own frustrations and feeling very blocked in as a black woman.
“It’s sad that we still have to solve the problem of diversity within the beauty space. Not even just with black women but Indian women, Asian women, these are all women that you rarely see within the beauty industry. That’s exactly why I started making lipstick in my kitchen eight years ago and that’s exactly why I’m going to continue to do it because representation is so important” says Butler. “We have to continue on the legacy of the Madam C.J. Walker’s of the world and the Eunice Walker Johnson’s of the world. I’m excited to have a moment to share my story alongside her history because we wouldn’t be here without her. It’s important to understand the trailblazers that came before you and understanding how, why, and when you need to keep carrying that torch.”
Melissa Butler is an iconic Detroiter setting an example for any entrepreneur that has a dream. Throughout the interview, she shares the inspiring story of pivoting her career path and making a difference in the world. Watch the full video podcast and learn more about Butler’s journey here.
“It’s an honor to host this debut season of “Built to Last,” a vodcast from American Express that shines a light on Black entrepreneurs that are blazing new trails and finding innovative ways to thrive despite the unprecedented challenges of these times,” said Elaine Welteroth New York Times best-selling author, journalist, producer and former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue. “Their stories offer us all invaluable lessons in resilience and fortitude that inspire a new generation of entrepreneurship. We also dive deep into untold stories of Black business owners of the past that have defied the odds throughout history and laid vital blueprints for us to build on.”
Upcoming weekly episodes will feature Black business owners including Anifa Mvuemba of Hanifa, Corianna and Brianna Dotson of Coco & Breezy, and Shannon Maldonado of Yowie. “Built to Last” by American Express is now available on all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud, and Stitcher, as well as the video podcast episodes on American Express’ YouTube channel. New episodes will be available approximately each week starting October 27 through December 8, 2020.