The Little Orb that Could

For years, it was the same old thing. Customers would go into the drug store, find the lip balm aisle, grab a stick of medicinal tasting Chapstick, and move on. That was until 2009 when a little spherical orb changed the world of oral care forever.

In their exclusive interview with Fast Company (, the co-founders of EOS Lip Balm explain how they took their product from concept to major player in just seven years.

EOS, which stands for Evolution of Smooth, was created by Sanjiv Mehra and Jonathan Teller, who saw an opportunity for radical innovation within the lip balm industry. They developed a product with a new shape never before seen in the business. Along with the interesting new flavor options, the spherical shape of the lip balm’s container made it appealing to women. It was functional and stylish. Once celebrities started showing off the little orb, the company was off to the races. EOS has grown to become one of the top selling lip balms in the industry in less than a decade, outselling perennial powerhouses Chapstick and Blistex on Lucky VItamin and ULTA. The company’s average weekly sales of more than one million units puts it second to only Burt’s Bees. That’s no small feat for a young company in what is expected to be a two-billion-dollar industry within 4 years.

The founders’ strategy, says Mehra, was to focus on the creation and distribution of the product instead of a putting a heavy emphasis on publicity and marketing. They wanted a product that appealed to women since females buy the majority of the lip balm products on the market. The wanted to make “the lip balm that makes you smile.” It seems the plan has worked. EOS has demonstrated such a high level of success that other brands are now copying the design to appeal more to the female customer base.

Having partnered successfully with both Keds and Disney, EOS has made a name for itself in the business world. Even designers like Rachel Roy have joined in on the fun, creating limited edition lip balms that have been wildly successful.

Not content to rest on its laurels, EOS is looking to the future. Lip balm is just the beginning as new products, like shaving cream and hand lotions, are in the development stages. The company plans to launch into these other areas of the personal care industry soon. Not bad for a little orb created by people with an innovative idea and an entrepreneurial mindset. Check out: