Avec 145 baumes à lèvres vendus par minute, Carmex rassemble ses afficionados autour de son célèbre pot jaune depuis 1937. Toujours familiale, l’entreprise est menée par des femmes et des hommes qui en portent les valeurs. Découvrez les propos du petit-fils du fondateur, Paul Woelbing, dans cette interview, pour en connaître davantage sur les coulisses, l’état d’esprit, la vision et les développements à venir. Bonne lecture !
Do you have a little secret for us about Carmex story?
Although Carma Laboratories is now best known for our Carmex lip care, when my grandfather Alfred Woelbing started the business in the 1930s his first successful product was a silver polish. Carmex was invented in 1937 and took just a short while before Carmex Lip Balm became an important part of his product portfolio.
145 units are sold every minute in the world, how do you explain that success?
Our long success is due to several things. First I believe that a significant part of this is because our company is still family owned and we are personally invested in the quality of our products. Second, Carmex has a multi-sensory experience with its smooth feel, unique cooling experience with a distinctive flavor and fragrance. And – most importantly – it works. We have a philosophy at Carma Laboratories, “Under promise and over deliver”. We want our products to delight consumers and that has been consistent since 1937.
What are Carmex brand values?
Our Carmex brand values are an extension of our corporate values:
Create products that we personally use and that our customers can trust; Use high quality ingredients in meaningful and effective amounts. By this I mean if we use an ingredient, it is in included in our product formulas, it is in there for a specific purpose at levels where there is real benefit, not simply to make a marketing claim.
Respect our customers. That means listen to what they have to say. This was the first lesson that my grandfather emphasized when he and I started working together. He personally answered every letter that we received whether it be a happy letter or a suggestion or complaint, he believed that if somebody cared enough to write a letter that they deserved a response.
Finally, we never have and never will test on animals.
Did you always want to take over the family business?
No. I originally had no intention of working in the family business. I graduated college with degrees in art education and studio art, specifically metalsmithing. I had been very happily teaching art for ten years when my grandfather asked me to join Carma Laboratories. After consulting with a friend and giving it a lot of thought, I decided that although I didn’t have a business degree, the skills that I learned while teaching [such as working cooperatively with a wide variety of people] combined with my understanding of the creative process, would be assets to the organization.
Women very often have a lip balm in their handbag, more often that men ; how to convince men to buy lip balms?
The simplest way would be to convince women in their lives to buy it for them. In the United States 65% of lip balms are purchased by women whose husbands, partners and children then take and use it. I think the next approach to encourage men to purchase lip balm is to associate it with sports and demonstrating how lip balm usage will improve the feel and look of their lips that have been exposed to cold, wind and sun.
Which shape of Carmex do you prefer ? Carmex in jar, in stick or in tube?
When friends ask me this question I usually say, “Whichever form I have in my pocket” but I find that I gravitate more towards the stick form. They tend to be a little slimmer so they are more convenient to carry in a pocket. Also the stick’s formula contains a small amount of botanical wax that raises the melting point of the ointment so if I leave a stick in a warm car or pocket, it holds the form and is still easy to apply.
Do you forecast to launch other cosmetic products?
First, if the question is asking if we plan on launching other cosmetic products, the answer is definitely yes. For Carma Labs to remain a vibrant company and survive another eighty one years we must innovate. As such, we have assembled a highly talented group of people in our research and development over the past five years.
Secondly, if the question was inquiring do we do consumer research before we launch new products the answer is again, yes. In addition to how we historically considered new products (which was through customer requests) we now use a wide variety of research methods to help guide us in our product development.
How do you imagine your company in ten years-time?
In ten years I will be 72 and hope to still be involved with Carma Labs in some meaningful way. I am convinced that we are now just entering the most interesting period in our history. Again, because of my art background, I often have ideas and imagine things faster than it is practical for a modest size, family owned business to implement. I can envision us expanding into categories beyond lips because our creative team has a lot of experience in a wide variety of consumer products that they are anxious to use. The trick is to move forward in a methodical way such that customers are willing to try new products in and beyond the lip category… and done correctly, this will take time.
A word on French cosmetic sector?
Unfortunately I don’t know as much about the French cosmetic sector as what I should but….. I will tell you that my one guilty pleasure is high quality colognes. I like complex, layered fragrances and my favorites all come from French perfumers. Right now I am wearing one that I purchased at the Pop Your Beauty event which I attended last fall.