If you are a woman looking for inspiration and a role-model for starting your own business, look no further than to the dynamic Debbie LaBrant-Hartung, owner, founder, & President of LipBar Cosmetics. Debbie, a Colorado Native, has taken her over 35 years of experience in the cosmetics industry and created a skincare/cosmetic line using a collagen product.
Frustrated by the lack of quality and consistency in the cosmetics industry, Debbie set out to customize and revolutionize her field with her research and knowledge of what her clients were looking for such as access to their favorite colors and products that were truly formulated to match their skin-tone. She began blending products herself into high-quality, fresh and pure skincare, free of chemicals and preservatives.
The holidays are a wonderful time for Debbie, not just because it’s a time for family, peace and joy, orders for her unique products (also great for any kind of gift-giving) fly in like crazy! She also offers various flash-sales throughout the year. Right now you can go to her website, and purchase any product at an 18% discount by using the code JAN18 at checkout. (www.lipbar.com)
LipBar products are available online, and at various spas and boutiques around the country. They can also be purchased at special event kiosks/pop-up shops, “girls’ night out” parties, or by calling: 1-800-285-5941.
LipBar also has committed to giving back percentages of their sales to various charities and fundraising projects such as “Aim2Cure” - fighting childhood cancers, The University of Colorado’s “Pink Lifesaver Mobile Mammography Coach” and the Colorado Chapter of the American Cancer Society. (See additional nonprofits in Debbie’s Q&A).
Debbie is well aware of the impact an effective skin-care line can have on a woman’s confidence and self-image. Debbie LaBrant-Hartung has worked hard to grow her company and create products that can make a difference to her customers and also make a contribution to saving lives. Debbie is a professional, hard-working dynamo striving consistently to be the best she can be for herself, her family, her clients – and her much cherished community. She ended our interview by saying: “I hope to be remembered as one of the good guys out there!”
You have gotten so involved with several charitable organizations. Tell us about the ones you are working with and what you are offering them through Lip Bar?
I have been blessed to live in Colorado my entire life… yes I am a rare native. Colorado has been extremely generous to me, and I believe in giving back to my community. I am fortunate to have a growing business, family, friends and my health. I’ve always admired those who give back. I was determined when I started this business to help those less fortunate. I have been really lucky to be involved with so many great charitable organizations here in CO. Some of them include University of CO Pink Life Saver Coach, American Cancer Society, Cocktails for a Cause, Courageous Faces, Scleroderma Foundation, Denver Center Alliance, and Cancer League of Colorado. I have been able to offer a percentage of sales back to these organizations through designated pop-up shops and an affiliate program on their websites. I also contribute product regularly to silent auctions.
Which nonprofit events do you enjoy attending each year?
I really enjoy attending Women with Hattitude which raises money for the Women’s Voices Fund at the Denver Center Performing Arts, as well as Saturday Night Alive which is the signature event benefiting DCPA Arts and Education programs.
You have raised such a beautiful daughter in Jennifer. What’s the key to raising a fabulous daughter in today’s challenging world?
I had a wonderful role model in my Mother, Betty. I like to think I followed in her footsteps.
Most importantly, I have tried to teach and lead by example. It’s easy to try and fix everything for our children so that they don’t have to endure failure or pain. I found that if you let them fall, they will figure out how to get back up. Every breakup, role not won, disagreement with a friend is just as painful to the parent as it is the child. Let them cry and hold them tight. Be a parent…not a friend.
How has your business progressed since it first opened?
LipBar launched in the spring of 2014. We began with a handful of small pop up shops in client’s homes, and we are now doing over 100 events each year. We have also tripled the amount of boutiques and spas that are regularly stocking our products. Our website business has also grown substantially as it is now over 30% of our yearly sales. It’s been fun to see our brand gain recognition both on a local and national basis. We have even been recognized in several well-known publications.
What distinguishes you most from other cosmetic companies doing something similar to you?
Having over 35 years’ experience in this industry, I have had the opportunity to hear lots of women’s wants and desires when it comes to their cosmetic and skin care needs. I vowed to create a line that would put my customers first and to only create products that I felt were truly unique and better than what already existed in a crowded marketplace. I listen to every request and wish…that is how many of our new products come to fruition. Women can completely customize their own lip colors and foundations. Sometimes I even celebrate their creativity by addition their creations to our ready-to-wear lineup. We purchase only the highest quality ingredients, manufacture in small controlled batches and fair trade as many ingredients as possible. LipBar also infuses many of our products with collagen, which is very unique to the market. LipBar is NOT a multilevel, or direct sales company.
You grew up in right here in Lakewood, Colorado; what is your fondest childhood memory?
I have so many fond memories of my childhood in CO. Some of my favorites include camping, fishing and vacationing in Glenwood Springs. I also enjoyed driving downtown and cruising along 16th Street before it was closed off and became a mall. The old Elitch’s was also an old haunting ground…the good old days!
What qualities do you look for in a friend?
I meet so many amazing women in my travels and at events around town. Denver is lucky to be filled with so many talented, courageous and strong willed women! I believe that friends who weare supposed to meet will come into our lives eventually in some fashion or another. You know in your heart and your gut…we just find each other.
Who do you admire the most in the world of fashion?
What are some of the new cosmetic trends you are seeing out there?
One of the hottest trends is stay on all day lip stains….. these are loaded with chemicals! I understand the appeal, but they are terrible for our lips! There is nothing luscious or supple about your lips when you use these stains regularly. We are women for goodness sake. Is it that hard to pull a cute mirror out of your purse and re-apply a few times a day?! Women find it intriguing to watch other women apply their lip color, and men find it very sexy! It says, “I’m a confident woman” when you apply your lipstick! Remember, lip color is all about the eyes.
What was your favorite vacation spot ever?
My absolute favorite place is Anna Maria Island on the gulf, near Sarasota, FL. It has pure white powder sugar sand and crystal clear water. It’s quaint. It’s paradise. My dream is to purchase aB&B and open a chick retreat.
What are your favorite words of wisdom or a favorite motto?
1. The Golden Rule… Do unto others. 2. It is better to be looked over than overlooked!
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 10 years?
In 5 years I hope to have expanded our reach even further throughout the country. I continue tolook for good partners in salons, spas and boutiques. I am hard worker, and I will continue to be growing the business. In 10 years I would love to be regularly visiting my B&B on Anna Maria Island. It will have a LipBar boutique and custom lab, lots of blingy beach stuff to purchase, a yoga studio, spa, girlie stuff! We will have a sunset soiree every night!
Why should everyone try your products?
There are 4 LipBar products that every woman can benefit from. Each of these products is infused with collagen. All of our products are paraben, gluten and chemical free!
1. Double Collagen Salve / Eye Balm – Our clients call it “crack”. It is the best eye balm you will ever use. Our collagen product creates visible, unique effects. It is also great for post-waxing and cuticles. Most of our clients use it at night from their forehead to their décolleté. https://www.lipbar.com/highhealdoublecollagensalve.aspx
2. High Heal Lip Balm – Use this twice a day, massage on and around your lips and peri-oral area. You will not believe the improvement in your entire lip area. A must have in CO with all of our dry, cracked lips!
3. Day Crème – Perfect base for makeup, or a natural day face.
4. Foundation – Ready-to-wear, or custom… no more having to mix colors. It is highly pigmented (4 times the industry standard) and easy to use. By client request, it is finger friendly. One pump gives you enough coverage for your entire face.
How do you want to be remembered?
I hope to be remembered as a giver, not a taker. A Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Sister and Daughter who put her family first. A dreamer who had the courage to jump off of the corporate-cliff and take her years of learning and listening to create something that my family and I can be proud of.
Debbie, I so enjoyed reading your interview. The way you support women to make us our best possible selves is fabulous. I always picture you fishing with a bright red lip; you’re the most glamorous fisher woman out there! I’m so happy for your success and I would definitely visit your B and B. Mwah!