Thread Beauty Encourages Gen Z to Break Beauty Rules


Gen Z is the most dynamic and nuanced consumer generation beauty brands and retailers have ever faced. They are constantly redefining beauty, self-expression and identity standards at such an accelerated pace that companies are in constant pivot mode trying to appeal to them.  Authenticity, personalization, global values, wellness, sustainability, purchase convenience, and inclusion are all top of mind with Gen Z in relation to the brands they support. Connecting to them with the right product assortment and engaging across every touchpoint is a significant challenge.  

But one brand is cracking the Gen Z code with relatable messaging and high-quality products. Thread Beauty, sold nationwide in Target stores, is democratizing the cosmetics aisle and has become a go-to beauty brand for Gen Z. Thread’s success is accentuated by the savvy of its founder, Melissa Butler, who also founded the fastest-growing, Black-owned makeup brand in retail, TLB The Lip Bar.  With a focus on younger consumers, Thread’s products were conceptualized for multi-usage, giving the racially diverse TikTok generation freedom to be creative.  Lipsticks double as blush sticks, gloss is used as an eye-topper, and foundation can be used for contouring. There are no rules.  

Multicultural Beauty Insider talked with Thread’s Marketing Director, Kia Brinkley, to learn more about its origins, relationship with Target, and plans for growth.

Image courtesy of Thread Beauty

MCBI: When was Thread Beauty conceptualized and what is its mission? 

Brinkley: Thread Beauty was in the works for about 2 years prior to our launch in 2022. It was conceptualized with the mission to make truly affordable, high-quality beauty products accessible to all Gen Z humans of color – no matter our ethnicity, pronouns, orientation or how much money is in the bank. Our retail partner, Target, became a part of the conversation early on. After all, if our mission was to be truly accessible, the products had to be easily reachable by our ideal end user. We had faith they would be easy to access in Target. We are proud to be the first beauty brand that puts Gen Z, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color first, and of course, creating space for our allies to feel welcome too!

Was Thread initially launched online or in retail? 

Brinkley: Thread Beauty was created to be a Target-exclusive brand so our entry into retail was always of top priority; and therefore, occurred first. The brand entered the retail landscape with a 1-ft offering in about 350 Target doors nationwide in addition to at the end of Jan 2022. Our website launched on 2/2/22, a day of angel number alignment that we celebrate as our birthdate! Our mission came to life in the form of $8 foundation sticks, multi-sticks & lip crayons that were created with the on-the-go, trend-conscious Gen-Z consumer in mind. 

Image courtesy of Thread Beauty

How many doors does Thread have with Target? 

Brinkley: Thread is currently still a Target-exclusive brand and in 2023 we were offered the opportunity to expand our in-store offering to include eye paints, lip gloss & brow pencils. We now show up in 1ft & 2ft layouts in 500+ Target stores while still holding true to our $8 price point. 

As Gen Z ages how will Thread keep up with their evolution? 

Brinkley: To keep our ear to the consumer. One of our major strengths as a brand is our ability to connect and weave ourselves throughout our consumers’ day-to-day lives. We keep open lines of communication on all of our social channels, and we’ve created micro-communities of MUAs, content creators, and men who make up – who are constantly interacting around us. Therefore, we have a direct ear to trends, feedback and/or recommendations for what our customer wants us to be and to offer in the future.

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Dwan V. White

Founder & Editor, Multicultural Beauty Insider 

A marketing strategist, product developer, brand architect, and self-proclaimed consumer insights geek, Dwan White’s career in the ethnic and multicultural beauty segment spans over 20 yrs. She has created and introduced over 200 hair and skin care products into the global marketplace, across 5 continents. In 2022, Dwan founded Multicultural Beauty Insider (MCBI), a digital media platform reporting business news, insights and trends throughout the $6.6 billion dollar U.S. ethnic/multicultural beauty vertical. Multicultural Beauty Insider Honors the Color of Beauty, giving the segment a media voice, while recognizing and rewarding the excellence of multicultural beauty brands and industry professionals.

Multicultural Beauty Insider

Multicultural Beauty Insider is a media voice, researching and reporting relevant business news, insights, and trends throughout the $6.6 billion dollar U.S. retail multicultural beauty vertical. Its mission is to Honor the Color of Beauty by driving impactful conversations, creating content that connects, educating to empower, and recognizing the excellence of brands and professionals within the ethnic/multicultural beauty segment.

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