Thrive

Stormi Steele becomes first creator to reach $1 million in sales during single TikTok live session

BY Preta Peace Namasaba June 14, 2024 7:59 AM EDT

Stormi Steele, the founder and CEO of Canvas Beauty, has made history as the first creator to reach $1 million in sales from a single live session on TikTok. This remarkable feat was revealed to the Love and Marriage Huntsville star during a phone call with the platform’s global team following her June 8 live stream. Steele has built a multi-million brand by leveraging the power of social media to captivate global audiences with her innovative beauty solutions. Her success underscores the ways Black entrepreneurs and creators are using emerging digital media to achieve business success.

“I’m still amazed. Coming from a no-stoplight town in Mississippi to becoming the first person and brand to make $1 million on TikTok during a single live is surreal. When I started Canvas Beauty, I wanted to change the world and beat the odds against me, all while making women feel beautiful. Just last year, I almost lost it all. I stayed focused, and because of God, I’m still here. Canvas is changing the world of e-commerce,” Steele said about her historic accomplishment.

In 2023, the launch of Steele’s latest creation, Body Glaze took TikTok by storm. The organic anti-aging formula renowned for its shimmering effects and nourishing properties went viral on TikTok and became the platform’s fastest-growing product and creator brand. It captivated audiences worldwide, amassing millions of views and likes within a matter of days. It is not surprising that the viral sensation has sold over a million units in its debut year.

The hurdles Steele has had to overcome in her personal and professional journey make her triumph even more inspiring. Growing up in a small Mississippian town, she felt her aspirations were feared instead of encouraged. She studied art at Mississippi State University but had to drop out with less than a year left for the sake of her mental health. Steele then decided to pursue hairstyling and start her own business and enrolled in cosmetology school in 2011. Her studies were cut short following an altercation with her father that forced her to flee the state.

Steele moved to Alabama with no plan and only $800. She started an apprenticeship at a local salon, working under a master stylist who gave her credit hours toward her license. While styling full-time, Steele started concocting her hair products in her kitchen. She mixed over-the-counter ingredients like flaxseed oil and vitamin E to create a solution that would help her hair grow. She spent seven months and around $300 before perfecting the serum and using it. In 2013, Steele opened her own salon and was soon using her hair growth serum on customers. The products received positive reviews and she was encouraged to sell them online.

She left hair styling full-time to officially launch Canvas Beauty Brand in 2018. Business was slow at the start,  prompting Steele to invest in paid social media advertising. She spent $100 on her first targeted ad, shared across Instagram and Facebook, and brought in nearly $15,000 in sales within a few days. Steele went on to sell nearly $440,000 worth of products in two weeks. Her hair serum has since generated over $30 million in sales and is sold in stores nationwide, including CVS, Walmart, and Target.

Body Glaze is now poised to surpass the success of her hair products.

“Social media has allowed us to reach customers at scale. From my viral Hair Serum in 2020 to this new surge for Body Glaze that started in 2023, social media has always been core to Canvas’ brand history,” Steele said about the role TikTok and other platforms have played in her business growth.