Shoppers peek inside 8 Detroit women-owned businesses

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tour guides invited shoppers Saturday to learn about some of Detroit's new businesses, all of them owned by women. 

Closing out Women's Month, more than 30 shoppers -- of mostly women -- sold out the afternoon bus tour, hosted by the Detroit Experience Factory, also owned by a woman, Jeanette Pierce.

Whitney Harmon, center,  make-up artist at The Lip Bar, talks o the Detroit Experience Factory tour group which stopped at the business in  on Saturday. The Lip Bar, a beauty store in West Village is owned  by Melissa Butler, who started the lipstick company in 2012 because she was frustrated with the limited availability of cruelty-free and colors.

Kaylan Waterman, program manager of the tour, said she and Pierce didn't expect it to sell out but they hope to have more tours in the future. Tickets for the tour were $44. 

"We wanted to give people a chance to learn about other women in their own city doing awesome things," said Waterman. "We shed a light on these businesses hoping guests will learn something, tell their friends and come back to support these women."

The tour started at The Lip Bar, a beauty store in West Village. Owner Melissa Butler started the lipstick company in 2012 because she was frustrated with the limited availability of cruelty-free and colors.

She went on Shark Tank where they told her it wouldn't be a profitable business and today, she's in Target stores and has her own storefront on Van Dyke and Agnes Street. All of the products are vegan and cruelty-free. Lipsticks range from $12-$14.

One of Butler's makeup artists, Whitney Harmon, said it was important to participate in the Women's Bus Tour because of Butler's success story and because women need to support each other. 

"Especially, in the beauty industry, we can't pressure women to fit into the trendy beauty standard," Harmon said. "As women, we need to empower each other. Melissa wanted this business to be inclusive to all skin types and all different colors and that's the way it should be in this industry."

From The Lip Bar, they walked next door to Live Cycle Delight, a fitness training center with TRX, cycling and yoga. Amina Daniels opened Detroit's first cycle studio after she won Hatch Detroit in 2015. 

"As a woman, Amina saw the need to make fitness more accessible and something that would cater to women as well, outside of suburb chain fitness centers," said Jasmine Hatcher. "Her viewpoint of making everyone feel comfortable in a unique, clean, space makes this thrive."

The group also stopped at Beau Bien Fine Foods, Good Cakes and Bakes, Art in Motion Collective, El Dorado General Store, Farmer's Hand and Mama Coo's.

"Saw it as an opportunity to support Detroit and have a day out with the girls," said Sue Bommarito, 43. "I heard about The Lip Bar from Shark Tank and wanted to come and it's been great."