Courtesy of the brand
We are in the middle of autumn and with the cooler temperatures, it is necessary to hydrate a little more and keep that lip gloss or lip balm on hold. Ashy, cracked lips are not flattering, and we want to help you avoid these conditions at all costs. Aysia Hilliard, a 20-year-old student at Howard University, is the founder of TrapStix, a lip balm brand inspired by the names of musical artists in the hip-hop, rap and trap genres. The young entrepreneur managed to build up a customer base of just under 100,000 subscribers and sell over 50,000 units in the first two years.
What makes this lip balm brand special? It’s Hilliard’s creative approach to naming the different flavors after popular music artists. For example, its first flavor, Gucci Mango, was launched in 2018 and now the assortment has expanded to include other flavors like Cardi Bees, Tina Snow Cone, Leminem and J. Cola. And what blew up his brand to have over 96,000 supporters? ICT Tac.
Hilliard tells ESSENCE, “I was happy that with the pandemic and so many people on social media and on their phones, especially Tik Tok, I was able to take advantage of it, which actually wasn’t my original plan.” He’s an Instagram influencer who has reached out with interest to promote TrapStix on Tik Tok in exchange for merchandise that initially brought Hilliard to the platform. “I quickly did a Tik Tok and put up a video and that video went crazy. And I was so close to not posting because I didn’t like the video,” Hilliard said. Her first video was a 15 second intro including its name, brand and some sample flavor names, which have been superimposed “Do It” by Chloe x Halle. The video that Hilliard barely posted received over 400,000 views and 130,000 likes – not too bad for its first Tik Tok post.
The Howard University student is able to manage her studies and growing business thanks to her mother and father. While her father handles the finances and her mother takes care of the logistics, Hilliard can focus solely on making new products and creating content to engage and grow audiences. She is committed to giving people what they want and keeping the excitement around the brand alive. “It’s not about me,” Hilliard says. “I propose artists that people want to see. It’s really for people.
Currently, TrapStix operates from a powerhouse dining room, but Hilliard hopes to expand and move the business forward. While Tik Tok has been a boon to his business, Hilliard hopes to develop different revenue streams for TrapStix that don’t rely on Tik Tok views, like being carried around in stores. Until then, you can shop all the fun flavors at trapstixlipbalm.com.