How Giving Women What They Wanted Helped EOS Create a $250 Million Lip Balm Empire

Ten years ago, if you wanted to purchase a lip balm your options were limited to clinical tubes from Chapstick or Blistex. It was a situation that hadn’t changed much in a century. Then Sanjiv Mehra, a former executive for PepsiCo and Unilever, teamed with startup gurus Jonathan Teller and Craig Dubitsky to reinvigorate the market. The result, EOS — an acronym for Evolution of Smooth — became a $250 million global phenomenon.

From the outset, Mehra had a clear vision of what he wanted from his product. Consumer research showed that while lip balm was marketed as a unisex medical product, it was most commonly used by women. Despite the enduring popularity of the lip balms on the market, consumers weren’t without complaint. The small cylindrical tubes were too easily lost in purses or pockets. The latest innovation, lip balm sold in small pots and applied by finger, were popular but struck some as unsanitary. Mostly, however, consumer research showed that buying and using lip balm was a chore. Mehra wanted to make it fun.

EOS lip balm ( was designed from the ground up with the consumer very much in mind. The innovative spherical shape allowed the product to stand out in a purse and ensure it wasn’t lost, as well as facilitated hands-free application. Moreover, the vibrant colors, fruity flavors, rich smells, and even the satisfying “click” of the lid were all designed to appeal to women. That EOS were onto a winner was evident when they landed their first account — with a female Walmart buyer ( who instantly fell in love with the product. the product then made its way to the shelves of top stores Well, Target, eBay and Amazon.

From inauspicious beginnings, EOS lip balm has grown in the last seven years into a global market force. In their first year they sold one million units. They now sell that many every week, almost all to women.


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