Sharlean Davis, owner and creator of Lip Play Cosmetics, is a mother, educator, student and entrepreneur. Lip Pay is an all-natural cosmetics line that she started in 2013 and began rebranding in 2019. The line currently boasts playful, colorful glosses, lip stains, lip oils and body butters handmade and custom blended. Sharlean had to set her business aside for a moment but had the courage to come back and relaunch her products under a new name and a new energy. For a small business owner, the first step is always the hardest. Gaining momentum and sustaining in uncertain times takes a special kind of entrepreneur.

Sharlean, Tell me your story:

Why did you create Lip Play?

SD: I created Lip Play after admiring Keyshia Ka'Oir cosmetics line and wanting all the colors but not being able to afford them. I actually started the line as something just for myself but when I went out I would get compliments about my lip color and asked where I got it from.

What products do you sell? What are your favorites? Why?

SD: Lip Play offers natural cosmetics that I personally make. Lip Gloss, Lip Oil and Whipped Shea Butter. I love all of my products, but my favorite is the whipped shea butter because each one is unique when it comes to the swirl of the colors it is so beautiful.

What are some unique ways your products stand out? i.e. color, packaging, smell, ingredients, price? Why would someone prefer Lip Play products over competing brands? What makes your items unique?

SD: Some unique ways that my products stand out is my Lip gloss and Lip oils are both long lasting and full of natural oils lip gloss tubes have wands and are easy to store. My lip oil tubes are roll ons with a cute pink top and a clear bottom so you can see the real roses I put inside, and the oils also smell like real roses. My shea butters come in a 12oz clear jar so that you can see the beautiful swirl of colors. I'm told all the time that it looks like frosting and it's moisturizing and long lasting. All of my products smell and look amazing.

With so many brands now boasting "homemade", “organic” and “natural” ingredients, do you feel you are at a competitive disadvantage? Why or Why not?

SD: With other brands boasting about natural and homemade I do not feel like I'm at a competitive disadvantage because just because we may make the same product does not mean we use the same natural ingredients or portions. I feel like my products are carefully researched before I present them. So as long as I believe in my product 100 people can be selling the same product and I will promote mine as the best because I believe in it

What have been some of your challenges as a small business owner? What are some of your accomplishments?

SD: Some challenges for me have been staying consistent with posting/advertising. My accomplishments are shipping my products outside of the Massachusetts area that was big for me.

Are you considering other potential markets, distribution venues or untapped audiences for your product? What can we expect next from your brand?

SD: I do have other ideas I am exploring before I commit to it. So we will just have to wait and see.

Did you have/ do you have a mentor? If so, what role have they/do they play? What is their importance?

SD: I do have a mentor; it is actually Ms. Nika. She has pushed, motivated and supported me and my vision for years. Other than my significant other she is the first person I speak about my ideas to because I trust and respect her opinion. I'm motivated by her hard work and dedication she has for her nonprofit business. She keeps going and each time she amazes me. I love how she is for everyone to win and women empowerment.

You are an educator and a mother of two children. How do you spend your time when you don't have any orders to fulfill?

SD:When I'm not making products I like to watch movies, listen to music, go hiking and just be with my little family.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for the readers out there?

SD: My advice for anyone that wants to start a business is. You can make 1,000 excuses as to why you shouldn't and why it wouldn't work. Focus on that 1 reason why it will and keep pushing. Don't be afraid of failure because making mistakes is a way of learning.

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