Influencers, celebrities and make-up lovers alike have all become beauty entrepreneurs with many saying the make-up market is oversaturated. But Pound Cake found a gap in the market with the realization that not all lipstick shades are universal.
Pound Cake is a pro-Black, pro-fat and pro-queer company created by Temple Owl and entrepreneur, Camille Bell, KLN ’15, whose proven beauty technology and product line includes several shades of lipstick that work for different skin and lip tones.
Bell says the professors she met as a student at Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication helped build her confidence and launch her business. They also pointed her to free resources offered to students and alumni, like the Blackstone Launchpad and the annual Innovative Idea Competition.
The Innovative Idea Competition, run by Temple University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute, provides mentoring, resources and small funding opportunities for new ideas and ventures. Pound Cake was still young when they applied in 2017 but Bell felt confident in the foundation of her company and gathered some support. “We had some traction at the time because we had participated in a lot of pitch competitions,” says Bell.
This pitch opportunity, along with the important feedback from judges, gave Bell the confidence to compete in more competitions, including applying for funding from the Lori Hermelin Bush Seed Fund. “We were able to use that much-needed funding to start research and development on our initial prototype of the product,” says Bell.
Bell connected with Lori Bush, MBA ’85, former CEO of Rodan and Fields and funder of the Lori Hermelin Bush Seed Fund, at a meet-and-greet hosted by the IEI for the fund recipients.
After their initial meeting, Bell now considers Bush as one of her mentors. “If I ever need help, I know she’ll respond to me and help me in any way that she can,” says Bell. This included working with Bell to learn more information about Glossier’s Black-owned Business Initiative Program.
Pound Cake got into the cohort on its own but notes that the support of Bush, the IEI and the Temple community laid an invaluable foundation for her entrepreneurial journey. “It’s one thing to say you’ll help, but they have all taken that a step further by going into their pockets and providing funding and donations to my business,” says Bell.
Now, Pound Cake and Bell have won the Allure’s Best of Beauty Award prior to selling a single lipstick. “When I launched Pound Cake, I always wanted to win a best in beauty award. To say we’ve done that before launching is wild,” says Bell.
The beauty industry’s long-held belief that all formulas are universal has been shattered by entrepreneurs like Bell. Resources like the Lori Mermelin Bush Seed Fund and the plethora of resources at the IEI continue to help entrepreneurs like Bell break down these barriers.