First makeup artist, then marketer, now brand founder: industry veteran Tisha Thompson is diversifying the clean beauty space.
Thompson’s skin care-oriented makeup brand, Lys Beauty, launched this month at Sephora with seven stockkeeping units. Prices for the clean, Black-owned range from $16 to $22, and industry sources estimate the brand to do between $5 million and $8 million in retail for its first 12 months.
The products include Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush, No Limits Matte Bronzer, Secure Skin Gripping Serum Primer with 5% Niacinamide + AHA, Speak Love Glossy Lip Treatment Oil, Triple Fix Serum Foundation with Hyaluronic Acid + Turmeric + Ashwagandha, and Triple Fix Translucent Pressed Setting Powder.
The line’s hero will be the Triple Fix Serum Foundation with Hyaluronic Acid + Turmeric + Ashwagandha, as it epitomizes the brand’s purpose, Thompson said. In addition to functional ingredients, it is available in 36 shades.
Although Thompson has worked in several areas within beauty, first as a makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics and later in marketing at Pur Cosmetics, she’s always had an affinity toward business. “When I used to be in training sessions at MAC Cosmetics, I’d be so inquisitive about how products were made, what made them come up with this collection, and the tactical stuff behind the business,” she said. “Then, I always had feedback.”
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Thompson solidified her desire to launch a brand during her career at Pur Cosmetics, where she gained her expertise in product development. It wasn’t until around 2015, Thompson said, that she thought of venturing off on her own. “When I was getting up the ladder at Pur, I wanted to have full autonomy to create what I wanted. It helped me see it’s what I was born to do,” she said.
Thompson’s time at Pur also solidified her own values in building a brand. “I used to execute marketing campaigns and not see myself in them. You want to be able to have that voice to say, ‘What if we use a plus-size model, or someone with deeper skin tones?’” Thompson said. Correspondingly, the brand’s name, Lys, is an acronym for the phrase “Love Your Self.”
Thompson also gains purpose from the homogeneity of clean beauty founders. “It’s staggering to me how few founders of diversity there are, and I wanted to be a leader to bridge the gap and give everyone access to clean beauty,” she said. With access as an imperative, Thompson said the brand will never price a product above $30.
Education is another key component of Lys. “If you know better, you do better,” Thompson said. “We want to educate people of color on why it’s important to use clean beauty products. Educating on ingredients is also important to benefit the skin, and that’s uncommon at the price point I’m in,” she said.
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