Veteran Business Owner Makes Changes to Lipstick Company due to Mask Mandates

woman applies lipstick to another woman
(Jackeline Perez Rivera/DVIDS)

Phone, keys, wallet, lipstick: All are items on the mental checklist many women run through before heading out the door. It's one of the reasons Army veteran Tanya Bryant started her business, Just Lovely Lipstick.

Her hand-crafted, all-natural lipstick line is based in Atlanta and was inspired by her mother.

"She always told me, 'Never leave home without your lipstick,'" Bryant told Military Families.

Due to COVID-19, people are heading out the door less often in recent months. And when they do, that mental checklist might be a bit different: phone, keys, wallet, mask.

Thanks to the coronavirus, masks are the must-have accessory we can't leave home without. After all, as of August, more than 30 U.S. states have some form of mask mandate in place.

Many women wearing masks during the past few months have learned the hard way that masks don't go well with lipstick. Mixing masks and a bold lip usually ends with color smeared all over your face and the back side of the mask. Yuck.

A little-known consequence of mask mandates, social distancing at home and an uncertain economy has caused lipstick sales to take a serious hit.

Market research firm Kline reports the U.S. cosmetics and toiletries market is on pace to experience the sharpest decline ever recorded in the 60-plus years they've tracked this market sector -- all due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kline findings are backed up by a consumer survey from McKinsey & Company, which estimates global beauty-industry revenues could fall 20%-30% in 2020. If COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the United States, that decline could be as much as 35% by the end of the year.

Bryant admits noticing a drop in sales, both online and at retail locations, which she attributes to a shaky economy.

"People are hesitant to spend money during this time," Bryant said. To combat falling sales, she's pivoted her business by creating a lip conditioner.

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"I understand you have to wear a mask, but you can still moisturize your lips underneath that mask and keep them healthy," she said.

She, though, admittedly misses coming up with vibrant lip colors such as mysterious, rosebud and sunset breeze, to name a few of Bryant's creations.

After 21 years in the Army, Bryant traded in her combat boots for the beauty industry after her mother died in 2014.

"I started making lipsticks as a part of my grieving process, because my mother loved lipstick so dearly," she said.

She even named her business, Just Lovely Lipstick, with her mother in mind.

"Those are words my mother would say," Bryant recalls. "I remember her always saying, 'That's just lovely.'"

Bryant confesses she was never much of a makeup wearer, especially during her time in the military. Still, she always appreciated how something as simple as adding a swipe of lipstick made her feel.

"Lipstick can brighten your day," she said.

She urges women to turn to lipstick for that boost, even if they aren't leaving the house.

"When you add that pop of color and look in the mirror, you feel put together and ready for your day," Bryant said.

So whether it be for an at-home date night with your spouse, a Zoom call for work or a virtual happy hour with your girlfriends, she suggests you reach for your cosmetic bag.

"Even if it's just once a week, put on that lipstick, put on that dress that makes you feel confident," Bryant said.

Visit Just Lovely to support this veteran-owned business.

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