Lip balm maker EOS is the classic rags to riches story and has grown from a small startup to one of the major players in the industry. How they have done so is remarkable and provides information and a guide on how other young start ups can emerge in the market.

EOS’s co-founders started their business after having careers in some major companies, notably Pepsi and Unilever. When they were looking to form a company they looked to a market that provided opportunity for quick expansion and growth. The lip balm market seemed ripe for the taking as the industry had little in the way of innovation with the products being sold resembling those that were sold a century earlier. In addition, the major brands in the industry such as Chapstick and Blistex were competing mainly by lowering the price for their products rather than trying to satisfy customer demand.

EOS lip balm co-founders realized that the major buyers of lip balm were women and decided to craft a product that appealed to them. Instead of the medicinal flavors that dominated the industry, they made flavors that were mainly fruit based which appealed to consumers more. Examples were honeydew and berry blends. They then redesigned an applicator from the standard industry tube to one that was unique and stood out but retained the clean applicator vehicle. The EOS tube is an orb and very sanitary to use, but retains a unique quality to it.

The first buyer of EOS was Walgreens who stocked their shelves with the product. Then Target brought EOS on their shelves and the product began to explode in popularity. Now, EOS is available on the websites of a variety of different stores like Lucky Vitamin and ULTA – and is an industry leader. Sometimes, apparently, listening to your customers can really lead the way for an emerging business.

Read how EOS started here: