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How a Legacy Inspired LIPSMART’s Innovative Lip Treatment

Written by:

Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

How a Legacy Inspired LIPSMART’s Innovative Lip Treatment

In this interview, we explore the entrepreneurial journey of Briana Brumer, the mind behind LIPSMART.

Briana Brumer is the founder & CEO of LIPSMART, a groundbreaking lip balm and hydrating lip treatment. She suffered from severe dry lips for years and was aware that dry lips affect everyone for many reasons — as a side effect of medications, illnesses, weather, and even genetics. Typical balms and treatments, however, only exasperated the problem with waxes that sit topically without penetrating, as well as flashy ingredients like peppermint and menthol for that tingly sensation, but these ingredients don’t provide the lips with what they need to heal and hydrate on their own.

Being the daughter of Julius Kay, renowned inventor, chemist, and founder of Lambert Kay®, the premiere pet product line based on formulas recommended and used by veterinarians and groomers, she followed in his footsteps to develop a product that would be a solution for everyone.

After years of research and testing, Briana Brumer’s vision came to life. LIPSMART was released and boomed in the medical industry’s dermatology offices, pharmacies, and medical spas as the go-to product for lips. The hypo-allergenic, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free formula gently restores the natural plumpness of lips through intense hydration and collagen reproduction, actively combating dryness, fine lines, cracking, and even flaking.

Nearly 17 years later, under Briana Brumer’s leadership, LIPSMART is sold everywhere and is a staple in the beauty industry, filtering into spas, plastic surgery offices, esthetic practices, and even dentistry!

In this interview, you can expect a deep dive into the research and development process, challenges faced in the competitive beauty industry, and strategies that have distinguished LIPSMART in the market.

Briana Brumer

Inspiration Behind LIPSMART

SBS – What inspired you to create LIPSMART, and how did your father’s legacy influence your entrepreneurial journey?

Briana – My journey started in my earlier years, as I learned the ropes from my father, Julius Kay, a renowned chemist who founded Lambert Kay, a pioneering name in the pet industry’s nutritional and healthcare sector. Sadly, tragedy struck when I lost my father at the age of 14, but his indomitable spirit lived on within me, igniting a lifelong mission — my relentless pursuit of solutions, both personal and universal.

I faced a profound challenge when I endured years of discomfort due to dry and irritated lips, which, at times, even caused me to struggle to sleep through the night. Despite trying an array of lip products, from drugstore staples to luxury brands, nothing provided the relief I needed, and it was this relentless quest for a solution that drove me to embark on a path of innovation.

The Research and Development

SBS – Can you describe the research and development process behind LIPSMART? How did you ensure the product met your high standards?

Briana – After trying endless lip products, both drugstore and luxury, nothing worked. The options on the market only made my lips drier, so my mission was to develop a product that would be a solution for everyone. The key would be to create a product that could retain moisture while making lips fuller and smoother, which would result in a more youthful appearance. I searched for the highest quality lipids, ceramides, and peptides to create a solution for moisture retention because, without that, our lips are pulling from dry cellular layers, leaving them to fend on their own.

After two years of research and development using the highest of ingredients to retain moisture, LIPSMART was launched in 2005. LIPSMART has five powerful active ingredients that result in a moisture-restoring effect. These powerful ingredients help compensate for collagen, hyaluronan, and lipid loss due to aging and exposure while optimizing the moisture content to produce fuller and healthier-looking lips. The first two active ingredients are Biomimetic Peptide Complex and Phytokine™ (Soy Protein). Biomimetic Peptide Complex consists of signaling peptides, and Phytokine™ is a natural soy protein. Both ingredients stimulate collagen and hyaluronan synthesis, resulting in a natural reproduction of collagen and hyaluronan for intensely hydrated lips.

To lock moisture within the lips, I used a very high-quality ingredient called Hydrophobic Sphingolipid Complex. This ingredient is a mixture of two specific lipid types, namely glycolipids and ceramide-3 (sphingolipids). These lipids soak into the skin, where they reinforce the lips’ natural moisture-retaining barrier thanks to their water-retentive properties.

So, on the one hand, LIPSMART boosts the natural water-attracting components of the lips (collagen and hyaluronan) while, on the other hand, it captures and retains moisture. Customers experience a groundbreaking “delivery system” that captures, retains, and locks in moisture, ensuring that lips stay hydrated for hours. The result is visibly fuller, smoother, and healthier-looking lips, with results often visible within a minute of application.

Overcoming Industry Challenges

SBS – What were the biggest challenges you faced in the beauty industry, and how did you overcome them?

Briana – I had a fierce determination and an unwavering passion fueling my tireless efforts to prove to beauty experts that our lips are a key indicator of health and are the first place to show any kind of stress. That is because our lips only have 3–5 cellular layers of skin, while our faces have 16 cellular layers. Therefore, it makes sense to use a quality product for our lips, too. I had to convince beauty enthusiasts that the skin on our lips is just as important as the skin on our faces. Lips need moisture retention and the right formulation to help them maintain a youthful appearance.

LIPSMART has thrived in a fiercely competitive market for over 15 years, establishing itself as a leading one-product solution. Beyond the realm of beauty, LIPSMART has gained recognition in the medical field, particularly among individuals taking prescription medications like Accutane or those undergoing chemotherapy. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons across the globe also recommend LIPSMART for post-injection care.

What sets LIPSMART apart is its innovative delivery system, which not only captures and retains moisture for extended periods of time but also facilitates rapid lip recovery, often within a minute. LIPSMART has now expanded its presence to over 5,000 private and corporate luxury beauty, spa wellness, dermatology, and medical establishments throughout the United States.

Targeting a Niche Market

SBS – How did you identify and target your initial market, especially in the medical industry’s dermatology offices, pharmacies, and medical spas?

Briana – I was approached by a celebrity esthetician from the medical office of a renowned plastic surgeon in Boca Raton, Florida, as they were using LIPSMART for post-injection procedures. The results were astonishing. They saw instant relief in their patients, and the quality of their skin appeared to be more youthful. They described it this way: “It is an elegant way to finish a treatment.”  

They invited me to be one of the exhibitors at their medical conference, the Aesthetic Extender Symposium, an annual conference aimed at educating and training high-level professionals in dermatology and aesthetic medicine. They performed an on-site exhibition of a woman getting a lip filler injected and immediately put LIPSMART on her lips to help with the recovery and provide hydration post-injection. The response was tremendous, with over 100 medical doctors coming to my booth wanting to carry LIPSMART in their practice. From that point on, it was word of mouth!

Differentiating LIPSMART

SBS – What strategies did you use to differentiate LIPSMART from other lip care products in the market?

Briana – I attend 10 medical and aesthetic conferences annually so doctors, physicians, aestheticians, and beauty professionals can experience LIPSMART’s transformative results firsthand. I give out samples to take back to their practices so their patients can try them and give honest feedback. Lips were left behind, and now we have a solution. They use LIPSMART to eradicate dry lip discomfort once and for all!

Just as importantly, I have had to identify the difference between LIPSMART and a typical lip balm that stays topical, which you need to apply over and over to get any relief but ultimately leave your lips feeling drier. LIPSMART repairs and nourishes the lips from within, keeping them hydrated for hours so they aren’t pulling from dry cellular layers.

Sustaining Quality and Consistency

SBS – How have you maintained quality and consistency in your product as your business scaled up?

Briana – I have been with the same lab since inception, and it has kept everything consistent with quality control perfection! I personally try a sample before each batch to approve the next fill. It’s important for me to make sure that I ensure each tube is filled with the highest grade of ingredients.

Customer Feedback

SBS – What role has customer feedback played in the evolution of LIPSMART?

Briana – Customer feedback has played a pivotal role in the evolution of LIPSMART. We view the insights and experiences of our customers as invaluable sources of information that guide our product development, marketing strategies, and overall brand direction. Listening to customers is the most important detail. If it doesn’t work for them, no matter what you tell them, the customer is always right!

Fortunately, with LIPSMART, our customers are all on the same page and have had the same positive results. It worked for everyone and all ages. LIPSMART is a solution formulated for sensitive skin, so even if your child needs a boost of hydration because their braces are making their lips dry or they went skiing and their lips were cracking from the cold, LIPSMART is a safe choice to provide the comfort and relief they need.

Effective Marketing and Branding Techniques

SBS – How do you approach marketing and branding to effectively communicate LIPSMART’s unique value proposition?

Briana – Our approach to marketing and branding revolves around effectively communicating its unique value proposition. We focus on highlighting our innovative formula, which combines advanced hydration technology with premium ingredients to deliver superior results for lip care. We emphasize our commitment to providing long-lasting hydration and nourishment for healthier, smoother lips.

Our marketing efforts leverage both traditional and digital channels to reach our target audience and showcase LIPSMART’s distinct advantages over competitors. The strategies are guided by a dedication to transparency, quality, and customer satisfaction, ensuring that LIPSMART remains synonymous with excellence in lip care.

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to create a niche product in a saturated market?

Briana – Follow your passion, communicate simply and honestly, and always believe in yourself. I needed to solve my problem, and I knew there were others who suffered from the same or similar issues. Take your adversity and turn it into innovation — this can be the guiding light for entrepreneurs and individuals striving to make a difference.

Staying Ahead in Beauty

SBS – How do you stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving beauty industry?

Briana – At LIPSMART, we are combining different strategies to remain at the forefront of the beauty industry. Some of those are:

  • Continuous innovation — We invest in research and development to innovate its current formula and produce new ones. By staying up to date with the latest advancements in skincare technology and ingredients, LIPSMART ensures that its current lip care solution and future ones remain at the forefront of the industry.
  • Market research and trend analysis — We conduct market research and trend analysis to understand shifting consumer preferences, emerging trends, and competitive landscapes. This insight informs product development, marketing strategies, and brand positioning.
  • Collaborations and partnerships — LIPSMART collaborates with dermatologists, estheticians, skincare experts, and influencers to leverage their expertise and reach. These partnerships help validate the effectiveness of LIPSMART products and expand the brand’s visibility among target audiences.
  • Digital marketing and e-commerce — LIPSMART embraces digital marketing strategies and e-commerce platforms to reach consumers wherever they are. By leveraging social media, online advertising, and e-commerce channels, LIPSMART maximizes its reach and engagement with target audiences.

Significant Milestones

SBS – Can you share a pivotal moment or decision in your business journey that significantly impacted LIPSMART’s success?

Briana – A significant milestone in my journey was my marketing collaboration with Galderma, a leader in the injectable aesthetic space. LIPSMART’s proven ability to expedite post-lip injection recovery earned its recognition as a medical-grade hydration solution within the medical industry.

While this is a bit more personal, I want to share it as I hold the experience dear to my heart. When a friend asked me if I wanted to visit the adults going through chemo at the Sylvester Cancer Center in Miami to bring gifts during Christmas, I was ecstatic to help! The patients weren’t looking for beautiful lips, but harsh medications can wreak havoc on lips, leaving them dry, cracked, and even bleeding. LIPSMART’s immediate relief and healing properties brought smiles and comfort to these patients. It was an experience I will never forget, and it brought tears to my eyes to see them so happy. I have spent a decade visiting and volunteering at the Sylvester Cancer Center to provide LIPSMART to adult patients undergoing chemotherapy. 

The Future of LIPSMART

SBS – Looking forward, what are your plans for LIPSMART in terms of innovation or expansion?

Briana – Looking forward, LIPSMART has ambitious plans for innovation and expansion to strengthen our position as a premier provider of lip care solutions. Through continuous research and development, we plan to enhance our existing products and introduce new formulations that address evolving consumer needs. This includes exploring advanced hydration technologies, incorporating novel ingredients, and expanding our product line to offer comprehensive lip care solutions.

We also aim to expand our presence in both domestic and international markets. We will strategically identify new opportunities for distribution and retail partnerships while strengthening our existing relationships.


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How a Legacy Inspired LIPSMART’s Innovative Lip Treatment