Like any child in the 80's, I was obsessed with Bonne Bell Lip Smackers.
I collected them. I needed every new flavor. The special release plastic candy cane with three flavors? Had to have it. New glosses with sparkles? Yes please! Soda and candy flavors? Mine. My favorites were Marshmallow and Dr. Pepper, but really, I loved them all.
While I have long ago drifted away from products with artificial colors, flavors, and other highly processed ingredients, Lip Smackers will always hold a special place in my heart.
Because of my infatuation with lip balm, it's really no surprise that lip balm was the second product I officially created (after salves).
Other than formulating the best calendula lip balm base ever, I wanted to create unique, fun flavors along the lines of Lip Smackers flavors, but they had to be natural. This was limiting, since I knew I didn't want to use "flavor oils", even if they were organic. I wanted to create all my scents (flavored lip balm is really just scented lip balm with sweetener added) with essential oils and natural extracts so my customers would know exactly what it was that they were using.
I started with some scents that didn't exist (at least, I had never seen them!), but I always wished they did: licorice, ginger, and cinnamon. I added the Paramedic lip balm by request, and an unscented lip balm. That first year (2005), I went back and forth on Paramedic so much. I didn't like it! But every time I'd think about discontinuing it, a bunch of people would ask for it. Today, it's one of my best sellers (and I've since fallen in love with it).
The white tubes were with Wunder Budder, all the way up to 2011 when I found black lip balm tubes made of recycled plastic. These were quite literally the opposite of the bright white tubes I had been using, and I was so nervous of such a big change. But, who wouldn't choose recycled over virgin plastic? A new addition to the line around this time was Chai, a blend of chai spices. A chai tea latte is one of my all-time favorite coffeehouse drinks, so this was an exciting addition for me. It turns out, everyone else loved it, too!
Later that year, two more scents joined the gang: DarkMint, a blend of rich chocolate and peppermint, and Java, a coffee lip balm which was the winner of multiple Facebook surveys on what lip balm I should add next.
Each addition of a new lip balm flavor brought about small changes in all Wunder Budder lip balm labels. If you look closely at the photos, you can see minor shifts in colors, and shapes of letters and words, but the basic design stayed the same for 9 years.
This year, for the first time, Wunder Budder lip balms went through a major overhaul. I entirely redesigned the labels to contain the calendula flower of my logo, and changed the colors so they'd flow a little nicer when placed all in a row. I also eliminated shrink wrap, and added safety tabs instead, reducing waste. This was the biggest change yet, and I love looking at them all together.
The flavor graveyard:
Sometimes a certain scent has some die-hard fans, just not enough. This year, both Black and Java have been discontinued. If these were scents you loved, you're in luck. Black lives on in a similar Anisette Cookie balm, available in the limited Winter Wunderland releases, and Java will live on in a future Coffeehouse Collection.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).
Over the last couple of months, I've been joining new groups and meeting a lot of new people, especially other women in business. When asked what I do for work, I usually end up stumbling over my words a bit, unable to decide between a few different ways to answer.
I make lip balm is a good, basic answer but not the whole story.
I'm a herbalist* and aromatherapist and I make products is a better description of what I do, but it feels like I'm selling my brand short.
I own a small natural skincare and aromatherapy company is my favorite straightforward answer, but it's often met with questions like these:
"Like day creams and night creams?"
"Do you make under eye serums?"
"Do you have something for these wrinkles, haha?"