When two young entrepreneurs began approaching drugstore chains with pastel-colored, spherical tubes of lip balm, buyers were not certain what to think of the product. Eight years later, those little spheres have changed the landscape of oral care for both men and women.
EOS (or Evolution of Smooth) began distribution of their wildly successful lip balms in 2009. Prior to this, lip balm was synonymous with cylindrical tubes that continually got lost in our purses! However, EOS lip balm’s radically different product design and use of all-organic ingredients have catapulted the startup through the pages of fashion bibles and music videos into a 250 million dollar company today.
One might ask: how was EOS able to successfully battle well-established skin care industry giants like Chapstick to gain such a significant market share? EOS founders Sanjiv Mehra – also, managing partner – and Jonathan Teller, attributes this success to only fulfilling customer needs for a quality product offering a wide variety of options at an affordable price.
With over ten years’ experience in consumer goods, Mehra partnered with Teller, who has a background in startup incubators, to create an imaginative product that was tailored to fit into a woman’s daily life conveniently. To establish an emotional bond with their users, EOS’s tagline became ‘the lip balm that makes you smile.’
Further, EOS applied an innovative way of marketing their product. With a target audience of style-conscious millennials in the 25 to 35 age range, solely traditional marketing strategies may not have produced such spectacular results.
Instead, the company focused on reaching out to influencers in the beauty industry such as bloggers, who shared reviews of the product via their social media channels; and young celebrities like Miley Cyrus, through product placements and endorsements.
Using a business model that incorporates entrepreneurial innovation with corporate discipline, Mehra and Teller have built EOS into a very successful endeavor. Kline Research reports that EOS sells approximately 1 million units of lip balm every week. With the lip balm market projected to grow to 2 billion dollars by 2020, propelled by increasing demand for organic products, EOS’s success seems to be firmly cemented.