Lip Bar to open downtown Detroit store in Shinola Hotel alley

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler shows off her line of lipsticks, some of which were originally pitched on the TV show “Shark Tank.” The sharks didn’t invest in her start-up company, but Butler’s business has more than doubled its revenue after the harsh rejection.

Detroit — The Lip Bar is set to open its first full retail store Saturday downtown.

The vegan, gluten-free, all-natural and cruelty-free lipstick collection will debut in a 300-square-foot retail space in Parker's Alley behind the Shinola Hotel, founder and Detroiter Melissa Butler said. 

"Opening a store was so huge for us," Butler said. "I never planned on having a retail store. But last summer, we tested out a pop-up shop in the West Village and we knew there was a need."

The Lip Bar will celebrate its seventh anniversary with the store opening and goody bags. 

The store, at 1435 Farmer St., suite 122, will join other retailers including juice maker Drought, florist Posie Atelier and clothing retailer Madewell in the Shinola Hotel corridor. 

"The reality is, if you live in Detroit, you have to drive upwards of 30 minutes to purchase high-quality cosmetics," Butler said. "So I wanted to create a beauty experience that was unsurpassed within the city."

​​​​​The first line launched with 12 bright colors, like Purple Rain. The lipsticks and glosses also had cocktail-themed names, such as Whiskey Sour and Baby Bellini, inspired by Butler’s post-college experiences in the corporate world.

Butler is best known for her successful rebound after being rejected on ABC's "Shark Tank" in 2015. 

While the "sharks" didn't bite on to the purple, green and adventurous-colored lipsticks, others did. 

Butler started the Lip Bar truck and sold product in New York; Chicago; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and Toronto. She later distributed product out of a space in Ponyride, a Detroit incubator for entrepreneurs, then opened a temporary pop-up in the city's Indian Village last year.  

More than three years later, the lipsticks sell across the country through 500 Target stores in Detroit, New York and Los Angeles at $13 each.

After months of preparation from negotiations to designing the space, Butler said she is excited to see her long-awaited vision developed. 

"I worked with a super talented designer, Imani Day, who helped bring my vision to life,"  she said. "We thought of every little thing to make the customer experience more pleasant, from eye-popping ceiling graphics to swing stations for applying the lip color. I'm thrilled to bring this to my city, and cannot wait for everyone to experience it."

The Lip Bar Detroit rendering.
Twitter: @SarahRahal_