Tackling a hundred-year-old recipe for lip balm to create a $250 million business in seven years takes planning. By looking at making an emotional connection to the user and appealing to the millennial market, EOS lip balm has become number two behind Burt’s Bees and selling more than Chapstck and Blistex according to Kline Research.
How did EOS do it? EOS or Evolution of Smooth is the brainchild of Sanjiv Mehra, EOS co-founder and managing partner, along with Jonathan Teller and Craig Dubitsky, two start-up entrepreneurs. Ten years ago they began looking at the lip balm industry as a prime opportunity. The first rule of business is to research the market, and they did. Unisex in its original design, lip balm, as Mehra and Teller found out, was overwhelmingly used by women and that, even used daily, didn’t provide any pleasure.
Appealing to all five senses (color of orbs, smells and flavors, soft packaging and even the clicking sound when closing) and using organic ingredients, their lip balm became ‘moments of delight’. It also became clear that style conscious millennials between the ages of 25 and 35 were the target. Landing their first account with Walgreens, they invested in their own production facility to meet demand. And the accounts kept coming. The products are now being sold on Ulta and Lucky Vitamin.
Advertising through magazines and TV was the same as the older brands. But by using beauty blog reviews, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, influence marketing became the way to go. Product placements, endorsements and snagging Taylor Swift as its Asian spokesperson made EOS the largest advertiser in the lip balm category. Partnering with Keds and Disney to sell collections proved very successful.
The combination of Mehra’s experience in big business and Teller’s knowledge of the startup culture has brought EOS into the global market in a short time. More EOS products like shaving creams and hand lotions are on the shelves and will be used for a long time.