Aysia Hilliard is an intelligent, kind-spirited young, ambitious entrepreneur on the rise. She is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently in her 3rd year at Howard University, studying biology and chemistry. Aysia notes falling into the entrepreneurial world accidentally. One night while hanging out with friends, she randomly came up with the name of her business. She was thinking about a popular lip balm and said, “TrapStix.” She thought it was a funny and clever play on words. Later on, that evening she took her idea home and presented it to her parents. Her parents were very excited, encouraging, and supportive of her business idea. This venture is a family affair. Her father, Franklin “Ron” Hilliard, is a technology genius. He helped design the logo and label designs; he is very knowledgeable about creating various income streams. Her mother, Ericka, is very organized, keeps everyone on track, and assists Aysia with packaging orders.
TrapStix is a fun trendsetting brand with an online lip balm shop, offering first-rate all-natural products. Aysia’s initial customer base included family, friends, and classmates. Students from her high school class created a video segment about her TrapStix products. She was very insecure about her journey once the excitement and momentum declined. Once she graduated from high school and entered college, she put more focus on her studies. She began giving away free samples to the young ladies at her dorm.
During the pandemic, someone approached her on Instagram about promoting her products on TikTok, and she agreed on a whim! Once she received the offer to advertise the products on TikTok, she decided to create a TikTok page for the brand. The video went viral after two days. She felt very overwhelmed at the number of orders that they received. Before TikTok, she had around 200 orders; after the video went viral, she had over 500 orders. She went from a couple of hundred followers on TikTok to nearly one hundred thousand followers. She admits to not being prepared for the overnight surge in demand. The Shade Room also reached out to her. At that time, The Shade Room was looking to feature her with other teen business owners. This mention brought her up to 5000 followers on Instagram. This is one of the most talked-about items on TikTok.
TrapStix allows her to merge her love for music and lip balms. Aysia comes up with flavors and names after various hip-hop and pop artists, and she currently has over 20 unique flavors. Her favorite flavor is “WU-TANGERINE,” a tangerine-flavored lip balm. She used a play on words to create flavors and names, including POST MELONE, FIZZO, CARDI BEES, and BILLIE LIMEISH, to name a few. After the TikTok video went viral, she knew she had to update her order system. The TrapStix orders are more manageable now as a result. Aysia hopes her most recent marketing efforts will create consistent orders for the upcoming sales season. Aysia notes being a Howard University student has helped her business, and she said the “Howard Hustle” mentality had motivated her during her entrepreneurial journey. Once the weather warms up, she plans to step out of her comfort zone by displaying her products on the yard at Howard.
Her customer base is young girls between 10 to 18 years old and their mothers. The lip balm comes in a large size, affordably priced, making them very popular amongst the Gen-Z crowd. Most of her customers are from major cities across the United States. TrapStix has customers from 30 countries worldwide, including Canada, Africa, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia, to name a few.
Aysia shares advice for other young entrepreneurs. She notes consistency is vital, especially with marketing and promoting. She recommends embracing technology and making sure you are prepared for growth. Additionally, have a handle on your ordering system, product inventory, and packing supplies. Aysia plans to add more product lines to this popular collection in the future. For more product information, check out Home | TrapStix Lip Balm (trapstixlipbalm.com) and follow her on social media @trapstixlipbalm.
Theresa Horton is a contributing writer for the Chicago Defender. Find her on social media @passionateresources.