Social media has become the most powerful marketing tool for hard-working entrepreneurs. Small business owners can now reach billions of people, showcase their products, build a following, engage with customers and gain sales that may not have been possible with traditional marketing. 

Unsurprisingly, TikTok has become the favored platform for many brand owners, especially in the beauty industry. Black-owned beauty brands are leading this charge by leveraging user-generated content, impactful educational posts, influencer partnerships and more.

Stormi Steele, founder and CEO of Canvas Beauty, is a shining example of how correctly utilizing your TikTok can impact your business immensely. Steele began her handmade hair and body product in her modest 100-square-foot kitchen. With the help of her TikTok Shop, Canvas Beauty sold around $200,000 of her trademarked Body Glaze Body Butter and Full Bloom hair products in a single live stream. The brand is now on track to see $6 million in monthly sales. TikTok has allowed the business to grow from six to 60 employees in just six months. 

Blavity spoke with Steele about how her small business turned into a thriving empire with the help of TikTok.

Blavity: How has the use of social media helped you with the growth of your business? 

Stormi Steele: 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.


Blavity: Specifically TikTok?

SS: Things blew up overnight after we got on TikTok and TikTok Shop. The power of the algorithm combined with TikTok, allowing me to tell my real, authentic story, led to a viral boom.

We could barely keep up with demand. In a matter of months, we grew our team from six to 60 employees. It was absolutely insane, and it still blows my mind.

Blavity: Did you always utilize a strategy when you began using TikTok? 

SS: Our strategy has always been to deliver high-quality products at an affordable price point — part of our mission to help women everywhere feel their best. TikTok helped supercharge our reach, but otherwise, our strategy has remained the same. 



@idcccc_domi wonderfully done did sis ✨🫶🏾

♬ original sound – CANVAS BEAUTY BRAND

Blavity: Did you feel anything was missing from how other beauty and haircare brands utilized social media? 

SS: We pride ourselves on being a creator-brand, and with that comes an awesome opportunity to grow our business and tell our authentic story simultaneously.

We see other creator brands have incredible success doing the same, and we love to see other creators thrive on TikTok. Big brands just can’t replicate that, which is why we’re so proud to be creator-owned and -operated.

Blaivty: How vital is user-generated content to your brand?

SS: We love seeing user content about our Body Glaze. We’ve spent countless nights scrolling through, reading, listening, and watching what other creators have to say about our products. The stories are incredible. The skin issues our Glaze helps with and the confidence it gives our customers remind us why we keep going.

Blavity: What did you do to ensure your brand, Canvas Beauty, stood out among other hair and body brands, especially those targeted toward women of color? 

SS: We always lead with passion. We made it an internal mission to reject corporatizing the brand and to always stay true to who we are. From our label art to our descriptions and giveaways — it’s how we stand out in a sea of the same.


Blavity: Why do you think TikTok has a better reach when it comes to selling products compared to other platforms? 

SS: TikTok’s incredible algorithm puts us in front of the right people — plain and simple. We haven’t seen this kind of success on other social platforms in years, and we’re so thankful to have seen it through TikTok Shop.

On top of that, TikTok Shop’s generous promotions have given our long-time customers opportunities to take advantage of, scoring deals up to 50% off our products.