PinkLipps Cosmetics CEO Kenyata Starr on balancing family and faith in The Pitch Questionnaire
Kenyata Starr is the CEO and founder of the Kansas City-based make-up line PinkLipps Cosmetics. Learning entrepreneurial habits at a young age, she was inspired to turn her passion into a brand.
Gaining the front and center insight of the beauty world, Starr knew at an early age that it was her passion to follow in the footsteps of her business-oriented parents.
Starr joins The Pitch’s Questionnaire to discuss the start of her entrepreneurial adventures, being a mom boss, and more.
YouTube: @Pinklipps Cosmetics
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
The Pitch: How long were you doing makeup before deciding to start your entrepreneurship ventures?
Kenyata Starr: I started my entrepreneurship journey before I started doing makeup. I was still working in corporate before I taught myself how to do makeup. I only taught myself how to do makeup because I got laid off.
It was during a time my husband and I were planning our wedding. I needed income to help out, so I gave myself a month to learn and started taking clients. In doing that, I knew I could get my clients to purchase the PinkLipps products I used on them.
What inspired you to create your makeup brand/movement?
What inspired me was growing up under an entrepreneurial umbrella. I wanted to create something for my daughter who loved lip gloss.
When you opened the PinkLipps store, were you confident in the launch?
When I opened the store it was guided by faith. I didn’t know how KC would embrace it. Luckily, they loved everything about it and still do. We’re the place where everyone chooses to get makeup done.
How is running a business with a family? Knowing that you’re a mother and a wife, has your support system been strong throughout the building and maintenance of PinkLipps Cosmetics?
Running a business with family is tough. There are times I want to be home but can’t due to work. I sometimes have to miss big events that my kids have so that I can be at the store.
Thank God for my husband. He’s great support. He picks up where I slack. Our mothers are a great help as well. I make due because of them, and I’m so grateful.
Did your journey for makeup start from the inspiration of your mother being in cosmetology?
The journey for makeup started with both parents. My father was self-employed and an extremely hard worker. My mom is a cosmetologist and made me want to get into a beauty-related business. Seeing her clients love the way they looked once she transformed them made me so happy.
I knew I wanted to be a part of the process in some way, so I became a licensed manicurist at 16 and again at 22. I belong in the beauty industry basically [laughs].
Can you tell us a story of a time you realized you loved makeup?
The time I realized I loved makeup was when I realized I can formulate my color cosmetics. In early 2011, being in my kitchen, being creative with formulations, and creating great results—I knew then.
Did your love for entrepreneurship begin with your parents? Was it hard starting with your family’s background in business ownership?
Experiencing the day-to-day operations of their businesses was like the highlight of my little childhood. I loved seeing them in action and running the show and seeing how gentle they were with their employees—decision-making and all. It was so inspiring.
How long have you lived in Kansas City?
I’ve lived in KC my whole life—37 years.
What does a perfect day in Kansas City look like to you?
A perfect day in KC looks like beautiful weather (70 degrees or more) and witnessing the people around me being happy.
What are some of your favorite lipstick colors from PinkLipps?
How receptive was Target to selling your products in-store/online? Was it a hard or long process?
What is some advice you would like to give a new entrepreneur?
The advice I would like to give a new entrepreneur is to stay consistent, remember your “why,” and always know that what is for you is for you. Your journey is your journey. Do not compare. And lastly, passion and purpose will get you far.