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23 Sep

Pound Cake Is Bringing Its Inclusive Color Cosmetics to

Pound Cake is on the rise.

The inclusive beauty brand has inked its first major distribution take care of Ulta Beauty, where its Cake Batter liquid lipstick range will enter greater than 800 doors this October.

The expansion marks a full-circle moment for cofounder and chief executive officer Camille Bell, who was a member of the 2022 Ulta Beauty Muse Accelerator class and took home the $1 million grand prize for Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition pitch competition last winter.

“The rationale I began Pound Cake was because I’d go to retailers and never have the option to seek out [makeup] shades that matched me, or they might look different than advertised,” said Bell.

After realizing her dilemma was a standard one — particularly amongst consumers with darker skin tones — Bell and her cofounder Johnny Velasquez developed a line of six liquid lipsticks, each of which offer the identical red hue on various skin tones. Priced $24, the lipsticks dropped direct-to-consumer in 2021 and entered Credo Beauty’s 10 locations last yr.

Pound Cake’s Cake Batter red liquid lipsticks are launching at Ulta Beauty.


“We’ve got this one product, right, but there are such a lot of ways to inform our story,” said Bell, who underwent a packaging refresh ahead of the Ulta launch and is zeroing in on brand constructing through education.

“The following step to remodeling the industry helps people know what to ask for, to grasp what their undertones are,” said Velasquez. “We’ve been familiarized with these terms of, ‘light, beige, dark’ — [brands] must expand that vocabulary, and in the event that they do this, they must create products that really account for what they’re saying.”

Muffy Clince, director of emerging brands merchandising at Ulta Beauty, said Pound Cake’s “foundation-like approach to liquid lipsticks” was what drew the retailer to the brand. “Camille and Johnny showed us they’ve what it takes to successfully launch their brand into the retail landscape and proceed to scale and grow for years to come back,” she said.

Though neither party commented on sales expectations for the retail launch, industry sources think Pound Cake could do around $4 million in first-year retail sales at Ulta.

Pound Cake's Cake Batter liquid lipsticks come in six shades, each offering the same red hue on varying skin tones.

Pound Cake’s Cake Batter liquid lipsticks are available six shades, each offering the identical red hue on various skin tones.


“Three years ago, there was a whole lot of civil unrest and I believe a whole lot of folks were willing to blindly support Black and brown folks. Three years post that [time], individuals are back outside, they’re going into retailers, and that support that was once heavily there online for Black and brown folks has definitely decreased,” said Bell, adding that the exposure Pound Cake will gain by being in stores is paramount.

In 2024, the brand is seeking to tackle latest makeup categories, too.

“We’ve got people asking for blushes, saying blush sometimes doesn’t show up on their cheeks; some people have said they’ve hyperpigmentation on their eyelids, asking if we will account for that with eye shadows,” said Bell, who didn’t specify what’s coming next but that the brand is “definitely aligned with what our community wants.”

And that community is growing beyond Bell and Velasquez’s initial expectations.

“We’ve got a surprising amount of older white folks, too, asking us concerning the brand, about their lip tone,” Velasquez said. “That wasn’t our goal demographic, so it’s cool knowing you may create a brand with melanin-rich skin in mind and it might probably still work for other demographics — it just speaks to the ability of formulating for inclusivity’s sake.”

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