BRANDS WE LOVE - SARA HAPP

sara haps the lip expert

If you don't know about the The Lip Scrub™ we are here to tell you it will change your lips FOREVER.  This brand has been around for over 12 years and we've been completely obsessed with this product for sometime. Known for her lip scrub, which comes in a variety of wonderful flavors, she's also known for her lip slip. 

Sara Happ is the founder and CEO of Sara Happ Inc., a beauty company creating luxury lip products sold in 400 stores nationwide and distributed in 20 countries.  Started in 2005, they are best known for launching the first-to-mass lip exfoliator of its kind, The Lip Scrub™

We were so excited when Sara Happ, agreed to be featured in our Brands We Love series. We sat down with her to learn more about her brand, what inspired her to be the Lip Expert and what her biggest challenges are to running your own business. She's one inspiring Mama and we are completely OBSESSED with her and that wonderful Lip Slip! 

And check out her latest product, the most amazing Sweet Clay Lip Mask which launched earlier this month, you will LOVE it! Plus her products make the most perfect gifts. 

SARA HAPP

A little bit about Sara:  “I’m a mom first and foremost, and a girl’s girl, for sure.” she says, “But before that, I was and will always be an entrepreneur who loves watching people create something from nothing.” Happ is a believer that, despite how quickly things move these days, we still often settle for sub-par experiences and products because they’re what is obvious and widely available. “I live for watching holes in the market get filled. Spanx. Drybar. Those ‘Why-Didn’t-I-Think-Of-That’ companies that began in someone’s house and changed gigantic industries forever... Thrilling.” Happ is a native of suburban Chicago, and a proud USC Trojan who calls Los Angeles home.

Sara Happ Lip Mask

Tell us about how you got started?  I created The Lip Scrub in 2005 out of sheer necessity. I’m a magazine lover and beauty junkie who kept reading editors say “Exfoliate lips with a wet washcloth or toothbrush.” That seemed crazy to me! I have a scrub for every other part of my body, so why were there none for my lips? To my kitchen I went, and The Lip Scrub was born using mixing bowls and spatulas. I was obsessed with my formula, and had a strong sense that other girls would be, too. I felt like I was sitting on gold. Sugar-covered gold. 

What inspires you?  Female bizlebrities and women with a platform who use their influence for good inspire me. Alli Webb, Kerry Washington, Jessica Alba, Sheryl Sandberg, Maria Shriver. These women get up and go to work every day, balancing their careers with their families, never losing sight of their goals, while giving a voice to communities and causes that need it most. Honestly on days that I’m tired, I look at their Instagram feeds and get moving. 

What has been the biggest challenges of running your own business? The biggest challenges came in the beginning. Because the product didn’t exist, labs wouldn't talk with me. They were happy to make me a lip gloss, a lipstick, a balm. But they didn’t understand this concept of a “Lip Scrub.” Many of them said “Everything lips exists. If it was going to be successful, the big guys would have thought of it already.” I disagreed, strongly and loudly. I knocked on doors until one opened, convinced them to invest in the machinery it would take to scale up from my mixing bowl to 1,000 pound manufacturing vat, and we were off and running. Many, many no’s lead to one yes, and that’s all that mattered in the end. 

SARA HAPP SWEET CLAY LIP MASK

Obviously your brand has been around before social media really took off, do you think that social media has been helpful in expanding your brand? Of course. Social media is the ultimate democratizer. Basically, everyone has the chance to brand themselves with an image and a click, every single moment. How amazing is that?  I have to hand it to print media, though. Placements in People, InStyle, Allure, and Vogue were huge to our success early on. It’s why I still love a real magazine in my hands. Why I still subscribe to everything from Fast Company to Glamour and read them in my nightly bubble baths. There’s something so lovely about being able to flip through actual pages, not swipe a screen. 
What are your favorite brands? I love brands who do one thing, and commit to doing it best. Drybar. The Honest Company. Shoshanna. Then there are the indies who have managed to go mass while staying true to their focus: Josie Maran, Alice + Olivia. I will always love JCrew because they keep it classic but are constantly reinventing themselves. I’m also a LaCroix addict, as is our whole office, and seemingly everyone I know. 

What app changed your life? Instagram. Hours of my life I will never get back, and don’t regret for a second. 

What has been your biggest aha moment? I had a decision to make in 2012: do we do for the entire body what we do for lips? Do we exfoliate and hydrate head to toe? Or go the color route and do makeup? No, I decided. I wanted to focus solely on lips. My aha moment was that I wanted to do one thing, and do it perfectly. I’m obsessed with lips, and I believe the lip industry is empirically broken. Most lip products dehyrdate. It’s why people tell me, every single day, that their lips are chapped. My thinking was: what if we went the other way? What if we made products that truly hydrate? That exfoliate instantly? That leave out the dehydrating stuff. Won’t people be equally addicted to product that actually works? So, I became The Lip Expert. 

One tip for running your business? Surround yourself with people who:  Have strengths where you have weaknesses and Aren’t afraid to tell you “No” and disagree with you. You can be yes’d to death, and it may not serve your company one bit. 

The best advice I’ve ever heard is simply: "Show Up. Dive in. Stay at it.” From Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago. So much of success comes from showing up when no one else will. From diving in when you may want to sit on the beach. From staying at it when you feel like quitting. 

Favorite place to travel or favorite places in Los Angeles? Tokyo is a visual delight, so I’ll always go there. I side with Hamilton that New York is the greatest city in the world. I love my town, Manhattan Beach in LA… it’s close to everything, but feels like this beachy, removed little hideaway. 

One item you can't live without? Beauty wise, The Lip Slip in our original pot. Can’t stop won’t stop. 

SARA HAPP LIP MASK

What is your favorite go to gift for your daughter? Husband? Bestie? I love giving luxe Chadsworth & Haig robes. They’re what luxury resorts use, so why not have them at home? I’m also big on sending people to get massages. I believe in the power of touch. For my daughter, who is three, anything ballerina-themed and / or fuchsia. She’s obsessed and has been since she was about a year old. She dresses like a ballerina every day, no matter where we’re going, and will always, always choose anything fuchsia. 

SHOP SARA HAPP