Interview with LipLoveLine’s Founder and CEO, Briana Williams

What inspired you to start your own business? 

BW: Growing up as a young Black girl, one of the few things that made me feel beautiful was my lip gloss. I dealt with many health issues including obesity, skin sensitivities and low self esteem, but I will never forget the time my mom bought my first lip gloss set and how much personality and confidence it gave me - so much so that it earned me the nickname ‘glossy’ by my peers.

As I grew older lipstick did the same for me and I cared much more about the health of my lips and the products I chose to use on them. Lip products became a simple, reliable and affordable way for me to feel beautiful without a full face of makeup, thus why I created LipLoveLine.

I wanted to create a beauty brand with the belief that you can (and you should!) feel beautiful in your own skin and empower self-expression in the best and cleanest way possible: through the lips. No full face of makeup necessary. We’re a lip care beauty brand born to enhance natural beauty and celebrate girls and women in all of their forms with our ingredient-conscious lip products made for clean beauty lovers.

How do you strive to create a diverse and inclusive culture within your business?

BW: Our lifelong mission to ‘celebrate beauty in all its forms’ and inspire fearless self-acceptance extends far beyond our lip products. We believe that beauty manifests in many forms and exists in every individual. We believe in embracing and owning your natural beauty and that of others. Our products are made for all skin tones and types to celebrate you just as you are. We also continue to partner and collaborate with organizations that support young girls and women in need of counseling, therapy, and health and wellness guidance. 

What challenges have you faced as a black business owner and how have you overcome them?

BW: I think one of the first big challenges was setting my company and purpose apart from competitors in a very saturated market & industry. There is definitely a lot of research involved, planning and story crafting. The next challenge that seems to be the most popular is lack of capital, especially among black women founders. When wanting to work with a manufacturer to assist with creating your formulations and the overall production of a beauty product, just know that it costs money and time. I chose to go with the flow and do what I could when possible, knowing that our products would launch when they were supposed to launch.

Also, I realized it’s important to find the right people to work with along the way to help make what is a very long, tedious and stressful process, feel somewhat easier. I found that “social capital” is very valuable when starting your own business. Being able to work with community partners and organizations to get business advice, grant money, pro bono services, etc. truly helped us to grow and scale faster than we ever thought possible.

How do you hope to contribute to the advancement of black entrepreneurship in your industry?

BW: I am always open and willing to talk with other aspiring entrepreneurs in their journey. It’s beneficial both ways. I think community is important and sharing our experiences help us all to contribute to the large picture and advance in our own unique ways and industries.

What advice do you have for other black individuals looking to start their own businesses?

BW: I would say to know who you are, your values and what your ultimate goal is with your company from the very beginning and stick to them. Learn that saying ‘no’ is okay if it’s not right for you and your business, especially when it comes to partnering with people, retailers, and taking money from investors. Also, it’s OKAY to ask for help!

If someone is new to your brand, what product would you suggest?

BW: Probably our “Pure Comfort” set which includes our all-natural ‘Comfort’ Lip Balm and our Clear Gloss ‘Pure’. It’s the perfect lip care and beauty pair duo set. Both soothing and moisturizing with a cooling sensation and breath-freshening effect—you may find it hard to pick between the two on any given day. Both are infused with peppermint and jojoba oils to awaken your smile from the inside out while soothing and moisturizing in all the right ways. The mint-infused lip balm soothes and cares for your lips in the best possible way while our clear gloss accents your natural lip color with a glossy finish —aka say goodbye to dry or cracked lips. .

What are other black owned businesses that you are currently inspired by? 

BW: So many, it’s ridiculous. I love Bea’s Bayou Skincare, Gemini Naturals, Hanahana Beauty, Mischo Beauty, and Odelia, Marie & Patrice - just to name a few. :) All amazing Black women founders with amazing beauty and skincare products!