Seven years ago, cute, pastel orbs of lip balm began appearing in stores such as Walmart, Target (http://intl.target.com/p/eos-organic-lip-balm-sphere-summer-fruit/-/A-13352556), and Walgreens. Online retailers ULTA and Lucky Vitamin began selling them too.They quickly became a hit among beauty editors at Cosmo and Allure, as well as a favorite among celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, and Christina Aguilera.
Now, according to this article from Fast Company, EOS (an acronym for Evolution Of Smooth) has become a $250 million company and has outsold older, more established companies such as Chapstick and Blistex.
Sanjiv Mehra, EOS’s cofounder and and managing partner who has previously worked for PepsiCo and and Unilever, teamed up with Jonathan Teller and Craig Dubitsky. The three of them began to brainstorm how to change things in the beauty aisle of the drug store. They settled on lip balm as they saw room for innovation, since the classic tubes of lip balm haven’t seen a makeover in 100 years.
Though lip balm is typically marketed as a unisex product, like shampoo or toothpaste, detailed consumer research found that an overwhelming number of those who purchase lip balm products are women. During market research, they discovered that many women lose tubes of lip balm in their purse, and that they dislike the idea of applying lip balm with their fingers, like with the pots of lip balm that came onto the market. However, the most interesting part of that research showed that women did not find the process of applying lip balm fun or enjoyable.
So the team set out to create a lip balm created with women’s needs in mind, self-funding their idea. They soon came up with the now-famous spherical shape, as it felt good in one’s hands. The product included fun colors and interesting flavors and scents. It was marketed at $3, competing with other drug store lip balms, only made with natural ingredients.
Even with their innovative idea, getting their product into store and competing with other lip balm brands was a challenge. Yet, EOS lip balm was successful at creating a buzz around their product, marketing it to style-conscious women between the ages of 25 and 35. In addition to TV and magazine ads, the company was successful with its influencer marketing strategy. This strategy included bloggers who spoke about the product on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram as well as celebrity sponsorships. The brand also partnered with Keds sneakers and has a strong social media following. Now, 7 years later, EOS Lip Balm is part of the big leagues.