It all started with a great idea and a strong work ethic. The success story of Carmex® fills us with great pride and serves as a role model for each of us. Find out more about our history!
So he decided to take action himself and create a medicine for his troubled lips. In 1937, he began preparing Carmex® by hand, pouring the medicinal lip balm into the famous glass jars in his kitchen.
In order to bring the product to the people, Alfred paid a personal visit, pharmacy by pharmacy. If there was no interest, he still gave the pharmacy a few free jars of his lip balm and included a postcard that could be used to reorder the product. The pharmacies soon handed out the free samples and Alfred started receiving repeat orders.
After Alfred Woelbing lost his job as a buyer at a department store in Milwauukee, he began making Lyptone, a lip care product. He sold the rights for it for $2,500, a hefty sum at the time. In 1937, Alfred Woelbing invented Carmex® and founded the company Carma Laboratories, Inc. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of lip care.
Alfred initially sold his Carmex® Classic lip balm out of the trunk of his car. He quickly gained more and more customers through word of mouth.
During World War II, the USA needed its entire lanolin supply for the Army: There the wool grease was used to grease equipment and as a rust preventative. This meant that the production options for Carmex® Classic lip balm were severely limited, as lanolin was one of its main ingredients.
After the war, Alfred continued producing Carmex® Classic lip balm from home. He prepared the recipe in a simple kettle, heated it and filled it by hand into glass jars.
Thanks to numerous positive recommendations, the Carmex® Classic lip balm soon became so popular that it was no longer possible to produce it in-house.
In 1957, Carmex® production was relocated to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a western suburb of Milwaukee.
The demand for Carmex® continued to grow and advertising was also expanded: the company invested $10 a year for a “CARMEX” lettering on the license plate of the family car.
Alfred, now in his 70s, was no longer making telephone sales calls, but he still held an important position within Carma Laboratories, Inc.
In 1973, his son Don joined the company and introduced assembly line production. Three years later, Carma Laboratories, Inc. had outgrown its manufacturing facility in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and was relocated to Franklin, another suburb of Milwaukee. This is still the production location today.
From 1988, Carmex® lip balm was not only available in the classic jar, but also in a small plastic tube - this marked the first significant change in the traditional company's packaging design.
According to a survey by the trade magazine Pharmacy Times, Carmex® has been the most recommended brand of lip care products by pharmacists for several years in a row.
In 1999 our Click Stick with SPF 15 came onto the market.
Alfred died in 2001 and an era came to an end. Until his 90s, Alfred worked eight hours a day and traveled over 60 km a day to get to the production facility.
A year later, our products were available in all 50 US states, as well as throughout North America, Australia, Europe and Asia.
New products this decade included our lip balm in cherry and strawberry flavors (selected via online voting).
To ensure that our soothing lip balm arrives everywhere on time, another distribution center was opened in 2004.
In 2006, Carma Laboratories, Inc. installed its first management team, bringing new life to the now 70-year-old company. The next few years were characterized by an expansion of the sales structure and the expansion of the product range.
When Oprah Winfrey proudly announced on her show in 2008 that Carmex® had already sold more than a billion jars, she once again put the Woelbing family and the entire Carmex® in the spotlight.
In 2009, Don Woelbing, the company's chairman, died. However, Carma Laboratories, Inc. remained in the family and is still run by Alfred's grandsons Paul and Eric Woelbing.