After starting out in 2021 selling only through its own website, a local beauty products brand has expanded its presence online and in the physical world.
LipLoveLine made its brick-and-mortar store debut earlier this month at the D.C. outpost of retail chain Showfields, while also filling out its roster of online venues through deals with Urban Outfitters and Thirteen Lune.
The expansions are aimed at tapping into those companies’ customer bases to build the LipLoveLine brand ahead of plans to pursue investor capital next year, founder and CEO Briana Williams said in an interview Wednesday.
“These partnerships are building credibility for the brand and positioning me to plan for that big raise,” Williams said. “I like to say we’re wealthy in social capital, because we’re positioned in a way that I have built relationships in the industry that a lot of people are like, ‘Let me know when you’re ready to take that next step.’”
The Richmond-based company sells lip balms, lip glosses and lipsticks and plans to introduce additional new products next year.
Williams said Showfields, Urban Outfitters and Thirteen Lune (an online store focused on beauty products from black-owned companies) reached out to her about selling her products.
“Showfields had reached out to me early last year to get me in their New York store as part of a new businesses campaign. It just wasn’t the right time,” Williams said. “This time, they reached out to me again because they had another opportunity.”
She said the companies have a common interest in seeking minority-owned brands to join their lineups.
LipLoveLine products started to appear on the Urban Outfitters website last week and on Thirteen Lune and Amazon earlier this year. Williams said the range of online stores will allow her to get in front of different customers and hopefully learn more about how to position her company moving forward.
“A lot of marketing dollars you spend nowadays, especially in the ad world, is trying to figure out what works for you. A lot of these partners have afforded me the ability to do marketing without paying those marketing dollars,” Williams said.
LipLoveLine started out selling its products on its own website in 2021, which it continues to do. The company was founded the previous year. Its wares aren’t made with animal products and are produced by a New Jersey-based manufacturing company.
Williams left her job in public relations at VCU to pursue LipLoveLine full-time in January. She moved the company out of her home and into an office leased from business incubator StartUp Virginia in the 1717 Innovation Center in August.
The company doesn’t have any employees but does have contracted workers and interns.