EOS lip balm charged out of nowhere in the early 2000s, and made a huge dent in the lip balm market. With cute packaging and fun flavors, this brand became a favorite among millenials. Eventually, EOS became the number two lip balm in America. There are several reasons for this surprising success.
Innovating in a Saturated Space
When co-founder Sanjiv Mehra considered the lip balm market, he and his team saw an area that was ripe for disruption. There were plenty of lip balms out there, but they all followed the same path that Chapstick had carved generations ago.
Instead of making yet another tube filled with a petroleum extract, Mehra tried something new. The EOS startup was thoughtful in its naming, packaging and flavor choice. Everything pointed to a more natural and organic type of oral care.
EOS, for example, stands for “Evolution of Smooth.” This name implies a journey. Chapstick’s name, by contrast, sounds solely functional: this is a stick made of petroleum jelly that will help your already-chapped lips.
The egg-shaped packaging the startup chose was feminine and interesting. Instead of turning the base of a tube, women would apply with a finger or brush, as with a lip gloss.
When influencers like Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus were photographed using the product, the boost put the brand over the top. Not only would girls who liked all-natural, feminine products seek EOS out. So would girls who wanted into the cool group.
Another key advantage the company has is availability. All of the major retailers carry the EOS lip balm brand. This includes Kohls, Walmart, Walgreens, Ulta, and many more. It is also available on their company website.
The success of EOS shows that even when a category seems exhausted, disruptive change can bring new life to it. By refreshing an old-time product with new packaging and marketing, EOS was able to rocket to the top of its category in a very short time.