How to Use Design to Sell 1 Million Units Per Week of Lip Balm

For almost 100 years the words Chapstick and lip balm were interchangeable. That remained true until seven years ago when the company EOS, Evolution of Smooth, came along as a spritely startup. Lip balm’s design had remained largely unchanged for a century and was ready for a revolution. EOS lip balm founders recently gave an interview with Fast Company on how their design came to be.

 Focus on Who Uses Your Product

The lip balm market category had very little change. The only real competitive difference between brands was the price. Sanjiv Mehra and Jonathan Teller founded EOS to deliver something new. Coming from a packaged-goods background at PepsiCo, Mehra brought an understanding of products and what consumers desire. Teller came from startup incubators and brought an understanding of how to reimagine a product. Together they choose to up-end the lip balm market by removing the unisex label and creating a product specifically for women. Mehra said, “The products that women depend on every day should deliver moments of delight that elevate these daily routines.”

 Focus on Product Design When No One Else Is

With no outside investment, Mehra and Teller pursued product design above all else. What does a woman want as part of her daily routine and experience? The simple answer is more than a slight change from what she already has access to. A cylinder stick is too similar to other objects in a purse. A pot of lip balm requires you to use your finger and seems unclean. EOS lip balm answered these problems with the design. A brightly colored skin care orb is unique enough to not easily get lost and can be applied hygienically. Most of all, a pink orb is just fun. Fun enough those 1 million women a week replenish their lip balm by purchasing on Amazon a little orb made by EOS.