Makeup Maven Tisha Thompson Built An Empire On Clean Beauty

Makeup Maven Tisha Thompson Built An Empire On Clean Beauty

LYS Beauty is the first-of-its-kind Black-owned clean makeup brand in Sephoras nationwide.

Love yourself is the motto that LYS founder, Tisha Thompson chooses to live by. So much so it is the namesake of her brand.

Founded in 2021, LYS Beauty is not only making clean beauty affordable for all and accessible to melanated skin tones, but it is also the first-of-its-kind Black-owned clean makeup brand in Sephoras nationwide. However, Tisha’s journey to creating her successful brand is a personal one. 

Born and raised in a military family most of her life, Tisha learned how to be her own biggest advocate at a young age. After having to move around a lot and adjust to new life, she found her safe space playing with makeup. 

“I did not see anybody who looked like me,” Thompson told BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“Definitely, no plus size girls, I think I was in my 20s before I saw a makeup ad with anybody like it was who looks like me.”

Originally a corporate maven, Tisha had always dreamed of starting her brand.

“I was doing finance for a makeup company…while I was freelancing as a makeup artist,” Thompson shared. “I had this passion and excitement about beauty. It’s what I wanted to do, but finance paid the bills.”

Thompson noticed that very little attention was given to marketing and nuances that pertained to makeup for women of color, and began to share her thoughts with colleagues. Thompson’s insight led to a more inclusive role as market coordinator within the company. It was her way of getting her foot in the door.

“I took a demotion,” Thompson told BE.

“I would say, within seven years, I was a director, and then I was a VP. It was a great boot camp for me to learn everything about the industry,” the makeup maven shared.

At the peak of her corporate career, Thompson packed up her office and started laying the foundation for LYS, pulling from her own experience with makeup.

“I broke out a lot,” Thompson said.

“It wasn’t until I began doing product formulation, getting into my career and spending over a decade in product development, that I really, truly understood and learned the benefits of certain ingredients [and] the cons of certain ingredients.”

Thompson continued: “People of color in general, are two times more likely to be exposed to harmful ingredients in their products…the lack of diversity within these brands caused them to create products that excluded us, and maybe not always intentionally.”

From MAC employee to accountant and then a longstanding career in the beauty industry, Thompson’s curiosity and dedication has fast-tracked her and LYS, the company she worked hard to bring to fruition. LYS was placed in Sephora in the early stages of launching the brand. 

“I never thought in a million years, I could have a brand in Sephora,” Thompson said.

“When I made the decision to come up and launch this brand I had a concept, I reached out to Sephora, and I emailed them a PowerPoint presentation it wasn’t even final. But it was this vision. I was just like, ‘Hey, I’m a beauty executive, I’ve been in this space, I’ve done this, I’ve built brands, I’m a makeup artist. I have this idea. I think I can fill a white space in your stores as a Black woman helping drive change and diversity to clean beauty because we are being left out of the conversation. You don’t have anything like this. Most of all, your clean brands have [only] a few options,”

Thompson continued. “It’s amazing to see how many amazing Black founders are now in Sephora because they’ve made that commitment to offering shelf space, because we too deserve to have our products and our brands in Sephora. And so they’ve done a phenomenal job, elevating and being a catalyst for diversity and inclusion within beauty.”

Now $12 million later, the brand launched its newest edition to the LYS beauty collection, The High Standards Glow Blush Stick in seven different colors. All the colors are inspired by amazing personality traits that continue to remind us to have self-love and positive affirmations.

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