A little holiday throwback for us. These are over 15 years old now, aren’t they? They’re teenagers!  😛


  • Crystal Wintergreen
  • Golden Butter Cream
  • Kaleidoscope Candy
  • Strawberry Sequins
  • Silver Snowball Cookie
  • Berry Beads


The scents have turned on mine but I still remember loving Golden Butter Cream and Crystal Wintergreen. It’s a bit bittersweet thinking back to these old sets, isn’t it?


39 Thoughts on “Holiday Jewels

  1. Honey Bee on December 23, 2016 at 9:15 AM said:

    WOW!!! I never got to own this set- but they are soooo pretty! Happy Birthday Jewel Lip Smackers.

    ***Such a shame that Lip Smacker will never be this amazing again.

  2. Laura B on December 23, 2016 at 1:02 PM said:

    Thank you for continuing to update your blog. I am an avid lip balm collector.

  3. I loved the Sour Grape Amethyst and Butterscotch Topaz

  4. sooo beautiful

  5. I will never forget the deep love I had and still do for Golden Butter Cream and Crystal Wintergreen. Take notes Markwins, this is what dreams and holiday Lip Smackers are all about. Not the same flavors repeated for 3 years in a row.

  6. Honey Bee on December 30, 2016 at 10:43 AM said:

    I saw that Lip Smackers released the coffee house set- but naturally they can only be ordered online. Why won’t this company sell their products in stores? I know the Rite Aid stores by me only has the old stock still sitting around, Target just sells some stuff during the Christmas season and that’s it.

    Also, the are making a big fuss over their pink lemonade with the inside balm being yellow. It’s supposed to be pink- hence the name “pink” lemonade. Markswin is botching the company.

    • They’re brand new maybe they just haven’t made it to the stores yet. They do sell Smackers in the cosmetics section at Target but they cut back the last year on what they carried HOWEVER, good news! I did check today when I was there and all the cheap Hello Kitty and other stuff were all clearanced out and Lip Smackers were spread out all over that section which tells me they’re about to reset and it looks like they’re going to carry more.

      I wish Markwins were more grateful for the dedicated fans they acquired when they bought LS from the Bells. Seriously, the world doesn’t revolve around Disney branding. Also I saw that about Pink Lemonade–REALLY!?! If it’s not broke DO NOT fix it. Their new lemon flavor they use is disgusting and a smack in the face to all the amazing lemon formulas the original Bonne Bell chemist made. Just discontinue a flavor in that case, not completely change it and try to peddle it like it’s back. The people are Markwins are idiots.

  7. Wow, some of these flavors seem familiar, but I don’t remember the jewel caps at all. My memory must be getting pretty bad. Lol.

    Today I bought the 2 heart tin trios at Walgreens and even though I like them, I feel it was a missed opportunity to do a chocolate themed set. I’ve always wanted like a party pack or something of Chocolate Strawberry, Chocolate Banana, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Blueberry, etc. That would be awesome. My other dream was the coffee set, but I have yet to find it in stores.

    • On the later part- YES Tanya! Markwins sticks to about 8-10 flavors and renames them 20x’s. *Eye rolls* With all the money they’re making from the Tsum Tsums WHY aren’t they spending it on R&D for new and AUTHENTIC flavors!?! I would of loved a chocolate theme and even a proper Red Hots cinnamon type flavor. Markwins is SO LAZY.

      • Technically, Markwins isn’t going to cater to collectors. We’re a tiny fraction of the company. Here’s some proof for you.

        This question was raised on the cosmetic science forum and I thought it was so good that it warranted a full treatment here on the blog. Many of our followers here on Chemists Corner are people who are interested in creating formulas and possibly producing their own line of products. Almost every good cosmetic chemist that I’ve known has said they wanted to start their own line.

        But should they?

        Reality of the Cosmetic Industry

        Before answering this question, it is important to face facts about the cosmetics and personal care industry. Big companies have significant advantages over small and start-up companies.

        More money

        Big companies have more money than small ones. They can outspend you in every way from R&D to performance testing to safety testing to advertising and marketing. They can use the money to get their products in stores and get price breaks on packaging and raw materials. More money naturally leads to other advantages.

        Less expensive products

        Big companies can make less expensive products. Even if a small company copies the formula exactly from a big company they will not be able to produce the product as inexpensively as a big company. In fact, the product costs to a small company will be 2 or 3 times higher than a big company. This means that big companies can charge less for products that perform every bit as well as the ones you can create.

        More scientists

        The additional money available to big companies means they can hire more cosmetic chemists and create better formulas. A small cosmetic company just can not create a formula that will be as optimized and tested for superior performance.

        More advertising

        More money also means more advertising. Big cosmetic companies will buy TV commercials, magazine ads, and radio spots. They will host events for bloggers & beauty editors and they will have an advertising agency working to promote their brand. A small cosmetic company will not be able to outspend the big guys in advertising.

        More distribution

        Finally, the additional money and size of a big cosmetic company means that they will be able to get their products on more store shelves and in more locations than a small company. There is just no competition when it comes to mass market and drug stores.

        Are big cosmetic companies unbeatable?

        With all of these advantages, you might start get the feeling that Big cosmetic companies are unbeatable. You might also think that starting your own cosmetic line is a waste of time.

        Well, that isn’t necessarily true. Think of companies like Burts Bees and Aveda who started small and built huge brands. It can happen because small companies have a few notable advantages over big companies.

        Small markets

        An advantage small companies have is that big companies want to make big money. If a brand is not going to sell at least $100 million with the potential to reach $1 billion, the big cosmetic company won’t even investigate the idea. When I was working in corporate America we discontinued many products that were bringing in over $2 million a year in sales because it just wasn’t enough money. While $2 million in sales is nothing to a big company, to a small company that is huge! Small companies can dominate small markets because big companies aren’t competing. And if you are a small company you can make a great living in a small market.

        Niche markets

        One problem with big cosmetic companies is that they try to make products which will appeal to as many people as possible. This means that they are going to ignore niche consumers who have needs that are different from most everyone else. Just as a small company can dominate a small market, a small company can dominate a small consumer niche.

        Experimental products

        Big companies need successful products. They need to justify to their management why they are launching a specific sku and also need to show data supporting the launch. This means that the products they launch are going to be very similiar to other successful products in the past. This is why there has been only incremental change in the cosmetic industry in the last 20 or 30 years. New, innovative products are risky and most of them fail. Big companies don’t like to fail so they try not to.

        Small cosmetic companies are in a better position to try new innovations and off-the-wall products. Products like dry shampoos and no foaming shampoos would not be launched by big companies but small companies can do it. This is a big advantage.

        Faster development

        It takes a big cosmetic company at least a year and a half to develop an idea into a product and get it on the store shelf. Small companies can do this much more quickly. If they have a good idea, they can have a completed product available for sale in 6 months or less. A big cosmetic company can’t.

        Online distribution

        Right now the Internet has created an even playing field for small companies to compete with big companies. Big companies are good at traditional distribution but they are not good at online sales. A small company can compete and even beat the big guys on things like Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking, and online distribution. Big companies can not afford to put too many resources towards this area of distribution because they have to maintain their presence in big box stores and drugstores. This area is wide open for small cosmetic companies.

        Bonne Bell was a small company so they were able to target to a small niche group. They weren’t making a billion dollars a year like Revlon or Loreal Paris. Yes, Markwins is privately held, but they’re not going to target the minute 0.00001% of a company. They’re going to target the general public. I’m sure they’re laughing at us that we think we know better than them when they actually know better than us. A company wants to make money, and us collectors aren’t going to give them $200+ million dollars a year. So, just accept it and move on. The Bonne Bell era is done and over with, and it’ll never come back.

        • Heather Towry on February 13, 2017 at 3:33 PM said:

          EXACTLY! I don’t know where anyone has gotten the idea that a massive corporation is interested in the 0.001% niche. They have made it clear time and time again that they are not interested, yet we continue to act surprised when they do something stupid?

          I touched on this a bit here: https://bunnycookie.com/the-future-of-bunnycookie/#comment-330472

        • Claire on May 30, 2017 at 3:54 PM said:

          It’s true what Heather said. Companies don’t have to take orders from customers. Here’s an article I pasted below that deals with that issue from the Harvard Business Review.

          HBR’s fictionalized case studies present dilemmas faced by leaders in real companies and offer solutions from experts. This one is based on the HBS Case Study “Cirque du Soleil” (product no. 403006-PDF-ENG), by Thomas J. DeLong and Vineeta Vijayaraghavan, which is available at hbr.org.

          Natalia Georgio knocked on the door of her new marketing director’s office. Elizabeth Gardos hadn’t done much with the space yet. Aside from two chairs, a desk, a computer, and a picture of her daughters, the office was empty.

          “You need to get some art in here,” Natalia observed.

          “I know,” Elizabeth said. “It’s been a busy two weeks. I want to put up some photos of the dancers.”

          The two women worked for Delacroix, an avant-garde dance troupe based in New York that had five companies touring the U.S. and Canada. Natalia, a former dancer, was the organization’s executive director. She’d hired Elizabeth, another former dancer, for her decades of marketing experience, most recently at Violet, a fast-growing woman’s athletic clothing company. Despite the stagnant economy, Delacroix was growing at a healthy pace, in part because of its policy of keeping ticket prices reasonably low. Still, Natalia thought the company needed better marketing to support its expansion strategy. Elizabeth, who’d been keen for a new challenge and to return to the dance scene, had jumped at the opportunity.

          “So why did you want to meet?” Natalia asked.

          “I have some ideas I want to run by you—some things I’ve noticed in these first couple of weeks.”

          “Great, let’s hear them.”

          “I’m really surprised that Delacroix has never surveyed or gathered information of any kind from customers before,” Elizabeth said.

          “Yeah, that’s not really our thing. We take our lead from the dancers, not the audience.”

          “Then what you do here isn’t really marketing,” Elizabeth said cautiously. “It seems like marketing’s only responsibility is to decide how long shows should run, how to advertise them, and what to charge for tickets. You promote the shows and people attend, but you don’t really know who your customers are or why they come.”

          “You mean, we promote the shows,” Natalia said, smiling. “You keep saying ‘you,’ but you’re part of this company now.”

          “We. Sorry.”

          “You’re right; marketing’s role has been limited up to now. But part of the reason we brought you in is to give us some new ideas.”

          Natalia had a mandate from Delacroix’s board members to take the company in new directions: to explore international engagements and television and film opportunities. But she was nervous about formulating her strategy without any research upon which to build a case for risks worth taking. She’d explained that to Elizabeth during the interview process.

          “I think we should start, at a minimum, by doing a simple customer survey,” Elizabeth said, “just with people who have signed up on the website and clearly want to be in communication with us. We can gather some basic information and find out what they like best about our shows. That will give us some insight into other audiences and markets we should target.”

          “That’s certainly an idea,” Natalia said, choosing her words carefully, “but it would also be a big change for us. There are some people in this building who will resist.” She was referring primarily to Henry Delacroix, the company’s founder and artistic director. Although Natalia was technically in charge of the company, Henry still exerted a lot of influence.

          “So it won’t be an easy sell?” Elizabeth said.

          “No, I don’t think it will.”

          The Artistic Mission

          “Why do we want to ask what our audience thinks?” Henry said. “We don’t care what they think.” Elizabeth and Natalia glanced at each other across the conference table.

          “Henry, come on—we care that they come to the shows,” Natalia said.

          “Of course, I know our audience is important. But our business depends on the creative expertise of our artists.” Henry forced a smile and turned to Elizabeth. “When people come to our shows, they expect to have an unbelievable, unique experience—one that they’ll never forget. How can people tell you what they want if they haven’t ever seen it before? If we ask them what they want, we’ll end up doing Swan Lake every year!”

          Natalia shifted in her seat uneasily. She knew that many of the board members—not to mention the dancers—felt as strongly as Henry did about maintaining artistic control. If Delacroix were to adopt a customer-centric approach, it could lose some of its best people.

          Elizabeth cleared her throat and passed Henry a brief report. “Here are some examples of how my previous firm, Violet, used social media to better understand customers, get feedback on products, and test new ideas.” She paused as Henry gave the report a cursory glance. “This allowed us to make better decisions about how to price our products, how to go to market, and when to take risks with new offerings. I know the product in this case is very different: We’re a dance company. But there are similar benefits here. Take your fan website, for example—”

          “Yes, 90,000 people have signed up,” Henry replied.

          “Right, it’s great. But you—I mean, we—don’t really engage with those people. We have practically no data on which of them are coming to our shows and why. That means we have no idea which opportunities to pursue next, or how to present ourselves—to sell ourselves—to the media or to corporate partners. We’re feeling around in the dark. It may work for giants like Apple to tell customers what they want, but that won’t work here.”

          “It has up to now,” Henry said, smirking.

          “But the game has changed. You’re thinking about different ways to expand. I know we want to go international by the end of the year, but we know little about what, say, a London audience would really want to see.”

          “We will tell them what they want to see,” Henry shot back. “Many companies operate this way. Tiffany doesn’t survey the women of the world asking what kind of jewelry they want. The company has faith in its designers and their imaginations—and it gets a better product as a result. We can’t keep our artists inspired and innovative if we start letting customers tell us what to do.”

          Natalia looked at Elizabeth apologetically, but she recognized that Henry had a point. Delacroix hadn’t been founded to meet customer needs; its mission, from the beginning, had been to push the boundaries of modern dance. Henry’s relentless pursuit of that goal had brought the company much success.

          “What about what happened last year at the Joyce?” Elizabeth asked. Natalia looked at her new hire, who’d clearly done her research.

          Delacroix had invested a big chunk of its marketing budget in promoting the three-month run of a new show. Expected to be one of its best ever, the show featured dancers in huge masks. Unfortunately, the masks seemed to terrify all the children in the audience. There were walkouts at every performance in the first few weeks, and then parents flooded the website, as well as ticket and review sites, with complaints. After much internal deliberation, the company decided to put a note in the program warning that the masks might be scary for children under eight. Natalia had wanted to do more, maybe even remove the masks from the show, but a few board members held strong to the principle that they shouldn’t bow to customer dictates. They also told her, however, that they didn’t want to see that sort of mistake again.

          “It was an unfortunate incident, definitely a failure on our part,” said Henry. “But we learned from it: No more scary masks in our shows.”

          “But if we had an ongoing dialogue with our customers, we might know these things ahead of time—know that they want more kid-friendly performances, or that we need to market certain shows to certain segments of our audience,” Elizabeth countered. “We could avoid these sorts of failures. I know from my time at Violet that information is power. New ventures, new partnerships, more exposure—you can’t gamble with these things. You have to get it right. Customer research will help minimize our risk.”

          Henry shook his head. “You’re just not getting it—”

          “OK.” Natalia stood up. “We’re not going to resolve this today. Elizabeth, can you e-mail that report to Henry and me? We’ll discuss it offline.”

          Just One Survey?

          Natalia was in a cab and headed home when her cell phone rang. It was Henry.

          “You’re not really considering this, are you?” he said as soon as she’d picked up.

          “Yes, I am. Elizabeth has some great points. How are we going to enter international markets if we don’t know anything about the audiences there?” Natalia looked out over the water as the cab started across the Brooklyn Bridge. “How am I going to compete with every other company that wants a chance at TV if we don’t have the customer research? Those Hollywood execs will laugh us out of the room, never mind the corporate partners.”

          “And what will you do when our customers ask us to put our dancers in Smurf costumes? Will you order one for Sophia?”

          Natalia smiled at the thought of the company’s most famous—and most difficult—dancer dressed as Smurfette. “Stop being dramatic, Henry. They’re not going to tell us to do something ridiculous.”

          “Fine, not the Smurfs, but you know we’ll have to take fewer risks, to err on the side of selling tickets instead of pushing the creative envelope. You were a dancer, Natalia, one of our best. Remember the mission? Remember how energized you felt by it?”

          “Of course I remember. I also remember that it’s part of our mission to bring modern dance to as many people as possible.” Natalia tried to keep the frustration out of her voice. She knew as well as anyone how much Delacroix relied on the board members and dancers for innovation. “But I was brought in to professionalize this company, to expand on what you started. And customer research—real marketing—may be part of that. Elizabeth knows what she’s talking about. She ran the whole customer initiative at her previous job, and it was a huge success.”

          “She sold clothes, Natalia,” Henry said.

          “Fair enough. But what’s the harm in a survey or two? If the customers give us outrageous feedback, we don’t have to listen to it.”

          “But if we ask what they think and then don’t give it to them, we’ll alienate them,” Henry said. “We’ll damage the relationship. And you know there’s going to be resistance from the board.”

          Natalia was not surprised. The business types would be all for it, she knew, but the members with an artistic background—the ones who understood the creative process—would never approve it. She pictured each of the board members sitting around the table at their next meeting, only a few weeks away. Henry was right. They would probably divide on this issue, almost evenly.

          “Besides,” Henry continued. “We’re doing fine. Why rock the boat now?”

          “Now feels like precisely the time to rock it,” she said. “The board is expecting big things from us over the next year, risky things we’ve never tried before.”

          “And we’re going to be successful only if we trust our own creativity and our own instincts—not customer research.”

          Natalia looked out the cab window. She felt tired.

          “You still there?” Henry asked.


          “Well, think about this. We can’t have it both ways. Either employees come first, or customers do. You know where I stand. Where do you?”

          Should Delacroix launch a customer research initiative?

          What Would You Do? Some advice from the HBR.org community

          Delacroix’s performers, much like great composers, create the shows from what’s inside them—their own innovation—not from customer survey data. To expand into new markets, Elizabeth should leverage the company’s reputation for innovation and look to partner with other pioneering companies.
          Geoff Finken, project/staff support specialist, North Carolina Credit Union League

          Delacroix can maintain artistic control while engaging its audience. I worked for an orchestra where the music director selected six overtures and then asked concert-goers to vote online for the one they wanted to hear at the final concert of the season.
          Tim Pennell, MBA candidate, Boston University School of Management

          Don’t ask the customers what they want to see. Ask what stirred them emotionally, what they had trouble understanding, which show they wanted to bring their friends to. Throw in some demographic questions. This isn’t about restricting artistic freedom. It’s about better understanding the company’s true fans so that Natalia can find people cut from the same cloth in international markets.
          Beth Robinson, technical customer service engineer, Ahlstrom Corp.

          Before Natalia does any research, she needs to think through two questions: What will we do with the results? How will the data guide us toward our strategic goals? Customer feedback is just information. It’s what Natalia plans to do with it that matters.
          George Burton, operations manager, Accenture, Switzerland

          The Experts Respond

          Mario D’Amico is the senior vice president of marketing at Cirque du Soleil.

          Any innovative company struggles with how much to listen to customers. Most realize you can’t trust them to tell you what your next new product will be. IT’S LIKE HENRY FORD’S FAMOUS LIN: “IF I HAD ASKED PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANTED, THEY WOULD HAVE SAID FASTER HORSES.” The answer doesn’t lie with the customer.

          But companies that want to grow as they innovate often need to change the way they do things. When you’re small and local, you don’t worry about getting to know your customers better. When you need to sell 100,000 tickets a week and market to people who don’t know you or your product, it’s a different story. When I joined Cirque du Soleil, we had seven shows. Now we have 21. Our scale requires that we know our audience.

          Natalia should take Elizabeth’s proposal to the board. If the directors are smart, they’ll approve the idea of surveying customers. Then Natalia needs to be careful about what she does with the data Elizabeth gathers. As Henry, Delacroix’s founder, has made clear, creative people don’t react very well when you tell them what to make. Natalia needs to find devious ways to educate them about the audience without pressuring them to create a certain product.

          At Cirque, we use research to understand our customers in a general way—who they are, what other types of entertainment they seek out, and what they expect from the Cirque brand. We use the data to brief the members of our creative team, to help them understand who’s applauding when the curtain goes down. We don’t tell them to use a red dress or a blue dress in a certain scene, but we do educate them. Then we get out of their way so that they can create. The message is this: Although they have a huge sandbox to play in, it has a perimeter around it that is our brand expectations. We want them to be innovative while still ensuring that our product lives up to its promise.

          Our creative team has a huge sandbox to play in, but it has a perimeter around it that is our brand promise to customers.

          Customer research and brand reputation are especially important when entering new markets where you don’t know what potential audiences expect. Cirque doesn’t tailor its products to a specific group or culture, but we also don’t want to offend anyone—as Delacroix did with those masks. For example, when we designed our show for a Chinese audience, we took into account the meaning of certain colors and numbers. It’s not a coincidence that our first show in China opened on August 28, 2008, given the importance of the number 8 in that country.

          Natalia is right that Delacroix needs to start gathering customer data if it is going to grow. But she should tread lightly and use surveys in a way that is acceptable to the Henrys of the world. And Henry, for his part, needs to understand that Natalia is not trying to hand over the direction of his shows to the customers. She just wants to achieve the board’s goal of bringing the Delacroix brand to a broader audience. She needs information about customers to accomplish that.

          Jens Martin Skibsted is a serial entrepreneur and a cofounder of KiBiSi, a product design and design strategy company based in Copenhagen.

          Before Natalia does anything, she needs to identify Delacroix’s top priority. Henry says the troupe was founded to push the boundaries of modern dance, but it also seems to want to bring dance to as many people as possible. Those are two very different missions.

          If Delacroix wants to stay true to the former mission—and I believe it should—it can’t ask customers what they want. That would only stifle innovation. Creative and noncreative companies alike succeed when they are guided by a clear vision, a unique set of values, and a culture that no customer insights could ever change. If Delacroix needs to find new sources of revenue, it should add to the core, not change it.

          If someone had told the famous German modern dancer Pina Bausch that she needed to change certain elements of her performances because they might scare children, for example, she would surely have refused. She was pursuing her own vision, not crowdsourcing productions. Nokia has tried to innovate using several highly publicized crowdsourcing initiatives, which have done little to save the mobile phone company from its downward spiral. By contrast, Apple has been innovative—and hugely successful—with a closed, exclusive, “we know better than customers” approach.

          Relying on consumer input would only lead Delacroix into the sameness trap. Customers will invariably tell the troupe to do what other popular dance companies are doing. That won’t give Delacroix a competitive edge. Instead, Natalia should be asking her creative team, especially Henry, how to move forward. Or if the team is low on ideas, she should bring in new talent.

          If Delacroix wants to stay true to its mission, it can’t ASK customers what they want.

          Natalia and Elizabeth need to remember that it’s OK to be elitist. There is no shame in creating a product that not everyone will enjoy or understand. The Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton group has an entire portfolio of companies that do very well by serving niche markets. Of course, the NICHE needs to be BIG ENOUGH, but it sounds like Delacroix has found that.

          Natalia can let Elizabeth do a few surveys; there is no downside to getting to know the audience better. But the scope of the research needs to be limited. She might want to ask customers if they would prefer certain discounts over others or whether they would like food to be available at the shows. But it must be targeted.

          This is not really a question of whether to listen to customers or to employees. Every company needs to BALENCE the interests of its various stakeholders, and Delacroix can and should listen to customers on certain topics. But this is ultimately about setting a vision and executing on it. Delacroix won’t push any boundaries—creative or economic—if it lets customers drive its creative decisions.

  8. Emily on March 13, 2017 at 5:48 PM said:

    I found this on the web.

    “‘Oh my gosh, your office smells so good! How do you not get hungry?'” is often the first thing people say when they meet with Maritza Aispuro, Product Development Manager at Markwins International, she tells me. As the person who heads up flavor development for Lip Smackers, a large part of Aispuro’s day consists of sniffing donut-scented essential oils and licking vanilla-flavored balm off her lips, with the scents sometimes seeping through the glass walls of her workspace into the cubicles nearby. She keeps candy on hand to soothe her coworker’s cravings.

    In the world of nostalgic beauty products, there is arguably none more universally loved than the classic Lip Smacker. With just enough color to be considered makeup (which upped your middle school cred) and just enough moisturizing ingredients to be considered a lip balm (which upped the chances of getting your parents to let you buy them) Smackers truly were a winning combination for ’90s teens.

    Users’ passionate ties to the brand are only strengthened by the fact that the company was wildly successful in accurately replicating flavors and scents, like Dr. Pepper and cotton candy, with incredible accuracy. Psychology Today reports that familiar smells can trigger more powerful memories than visual stimuli, which could explain why a whiff of Watermelon Lip Smacker instantly brings you back to getting ready for a middle school dance in your best friend’s bedroom.

    Source: Courtesy Lip Smacker

    According to the Lip Smackers website, they became the first brand to launch scented lip balm back in 1972 when they released their strawberry flavor. But even in the ’90s and early ’00s, when when most competitors were sticking mainly to red fruit flavors, Lip Smacker stood out with their Dr. Pepper, Moon Rock Candy, Butterscotch Topaz, Birthday Cake, and other more adventurous scents. And they didn’t smell like “Dr. Pepper mixed with some weird plastic or chemical” — they smelled like pure Dr. Pepper, the soda.

    But while Lip Smackers is often considered a beloved brand from the past, especially for millennials, they actually continue to roll out new balm flavors every season. In January 2015, Markwins International acquired Bonne Bell and Lip Smacker from Aspire Brands, the same month Aispuro started sniffing her way through all those essential oils to create brand new Lip Smacker scents. The process is very elaborate. “I’m probably smelling and tasting and testing flavors a good three days out of the week, every week,” Aispuro says. “So it’s a lot of flavor, it’s a lot of formulas. We have tons of flavors, like over 400, that we make available.”

    Source: Courtesy Lip Smacker

    Turning familiar food and beverage flavors into a safe-to-use lip balm isn’t just a matter of pouring some coffee into a blender with a little shea butter. “Our team utilizes equipment such as gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers to isolate some of the ingredients found in the drinks to give an indication of the materials that may be present,” Aispuro explains, speaking specifically about Dr. Pepper’s familiar 23 flavors. Aispuro’s background is in more general beauty industry marketing — though she did take a course in fragrance before starting this job. That class gave her “a background on the nose and on what the top layer, middle layer, base layer of notes are.”

    It’s not a simple task, and not every treat has a corresponding essential oil, which is why a lot of other brands stick to those tried and true fruits. “The most difficult part in formulating scent that replicates an edible fragrance is that ingredients do not exist to create every food experience,” Aispuro tells me. “For example: Strawberry Shortcake is comprised of the smell of real strawberries, whipped cream, and fresh baked pound cake. There is no such thing as strawberry oil…so when a Scent Specialist is tasked with creating a Strawberry Shortcake scent they use their vast knowledge of aroma ingredients, what each smells like, and how they smell blended together, to recreate that same sensory experience.” Most scent specialists have a background in chemistry, so they know “which flavors can and can’t go into a lip balm format,” Aispuro explains.

    All that is to say: Aispuro is eating and smelling a lot of lip balm to make sure the final product comes out just right. She’ll submit a product development request to the brand’s flavor partners (which is where the chemists who know exactly which flavors are safe for your lips work) who will then send back three versions of the scent to test. Once Aispuro is happy with the way the oils smell, she’ll blend them with the base Lip Smacker formula. “That way we’re not just smelling the flavor out of a glass tube, but we’re actually putting it on our lips, we’re actually, like, licking to taste it.”

    Source: Courtesy Lip Smacker

    When I ask Aispuro if consuming all the lip balm and smelling all those oils ever makes her feel a little queasy, she laughs. “I mean, I lick it. I don’t technically eat it,” she says. It might technically be safe to take a bite out of a lip balm, but that’s not something Aispuro practices on the reg. “Again, having a bunch of candy around helps quell any urge to munch on a Smacker,” she says.

    Her nose often needs more rest than her stomach. “Sometimes I will get like, ‘Well my nose needs a break because now I can’t tell the difference between vanilla or like mango,’ like they smell the same. Which, you know, they shouldn’t,” she explains. Aispuro also keeps coffee beans at her desk to reset her palette, ensuring your vanilla frappe Lip Smacker doesn’t hit the shelves as a mango frappe due to any fatigued sniffers.

    Source: Courtesy Lip Smacker

    Aside from the coffee bean breaks, there are other roadblocks Aispuro and her team has run into. Lip Smacker’s tagline is “Best Flavor Forever,” she tells me, which means they’ll only put scents as authentic as that infamous Dr. Pepper to market. And there is one trendy flavor you might be disappointed to hear likely won’t ever make its way to the lip balm aisle: avocado.

    In 2016, Lip Smacker added Horchata and Sriracha to the brand’s Wacky Flavor collection, two flavors Aispuro cites as some of the most fun to create. During that testing period, they also tried to make a guacamole balm. Speaking about the process, Aispuro says that the final scent defintiely smelled like “something green with a little cilantro,” but that they ultimately couldn’t really get the smell of avocado. A rep from the Research and Development Facility for Lip Smackers explains that the distinct sensation you get from eating avocado comes more from its buttery texture than any real flavor, which made it difficult to replicate, even with their library of over 1500 materials.

    Plus, any flavor that’s made into a lip balm needs to be stable at a high temperature, so it can withstand being heated during the pouring process. “Avocado is a very mild flavor and would be heat sensitive so it would be technically difficult to achieve and keep stable in a lip balm,” the rep explains. Clearly, they’ve put a lot of thought into this.

    As for now, Aispuro is already prepping the yummy flavors Lip Smackers will launch for Holiday 2017. While she won’t give me any hints about what to expect, she assures me it’ll all taste exactly like the real thing.

  9. Honey Bee on March 31, 2017 at 3:27 PM said:

    Has anyone tried the newer flavors: Coffee House, Floral, and I can’t remember the rest?

    I’m kinda curious to try but I cringe at the shipping cost and stores stopped carrying them.

    • Tanya on March 31, 2017 at 5:02 PM said:

      I finally got around to getting the Coffee House party pack (had to order from Amazon), and I was mostly happy with them. I was most surprised that the Pumpkin Spice Latte one actually smelled like coffee this time. Green Tea Lemonade smelled very similar to Breezy Tea-zy, Watermelon Lemonade was somewhat like the Watermelon Twist Chillerz, but other than that, I thought the other flavors were a bit more unique.

      I’ve also been wondering about the floral flavors too.

      • Honey Bee on April 4, 2017 at 5:25 PM said:

        I wished they would have made a plain coffee flavored one. I have sweet ones that I wanted to be able to pair with it.

        I saw they are FINALLY making the oatmeal cookie one, not in a TSUM TSUM body. I’m waiting to hear from the Lip Smacker facebook page about people’s opinions on it before buying.

  10. Emily on April 5, 2017 at 5:41 PM said:

    I was recently searching through the instagram pictures of LS and came across this picture of the LS drink cup things that was named Cinnamon Churro. The username is syun10906.

    • OMG, ABOUT TIIIIME!!! Is Markwins listening??? We shall see…. If they make this accurate I’ll be one happy camper. There’s not one scent they could recycle atm that could smell like a Cinnamon Churro so this has to be a new formula. Hopefully this makes up for the 2014 Cinnamon’s Sugar fail.

      • Emily on April 7, 2017 at 10:30 AM said:

        Well, refinery29 just released a press release about the LS Frappe Coffee Flavors. It’s the drink-type balms they’ve been doing (like with the soda flavors). The flavor releases are: vanilla chai, cinnamon churro, caramel, mocha chip, and pumpkin spice.

  11. Emily on May 1, 2017 at 5:25 PM said:

    CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. — Lip Smacker­­­­ on Monday announced a product collaboration contest wherein fans have a say in what flavor gets made next. Dubbed the “Official Tastemaker 2017 Search”, the brand is highlighting their appreciation to its loyal followers as well as newer Lip Smacker enthusiasts.

    Fans can submit their suggestion – to include flavor name, three key ingredients, descriptors (salty, sweet, etc.) and #LStastemaker – via Lip Smacker’s Instagram page between May 1 and May 19. After narrowing down to the top five flavors, voting opens on May 30 and the winner will be announced June 28.

    The winning flavor will be made into an actual Lip Smacker lip balm and sold exclusively on the brand’s website, with credit to the creator. More importantly, winner earns bragging rights as Lip Smacker’s First Official Tastemaker – a tradition the brand plans to honor annually – as well as a personalized case of the Tastemaker lip balm and a custom, crystal-encrusted “Biggy,” which is four times the size of a regular balm.

    The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec).


    • Heather T on May 1, 2017 at 6:10 PM said:

      Yes let me rush as fast as I can to tell them good flavor ideas so they can continue making insane profits on poorly made products. They’ll just $#@! up the flavor anyway lol.

  12. Claire on May 30, 2018 at 10:27 AM said:

    CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif., May 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Recently named 52 of Beauty Inc.’s Top 100 beauty companies – and the largest privately-owned beauty company, Markwins Beauty Brands has earned its reputation as home to some of the fastest-growing brands in the mass market. CEO Eric Sung-Tsei Chen built the California-based company through a scrappy eye for acquisitions, a focus on delivering innovation and value, and an unfailing desire to exceed consumers’ expectations. Much of that can be attributed to the brand’s vertical business model where all business activities are Markwins-owned. And consumers are clearly responding positively as the Markwins portfolio, a strategic umbrella of non-competing brands which includes Physicians Formula, wet n wild, Lip Smacker, Black Radiance, Bonne Bell, and Markwins Beauty Collections, reported growth of 35% in 2017 and with companywide sales of more than $580 million.

    According to Chen, the keys to success are straight-forward, but nuanced. “While value is important in the mass market, people want more than just a good price. Today’s consumers do their research. With social media, they know the trends and they know about formulations. They expect quality and they let you know if you don’t meet their needs. We keep that in mind with everything we do, because we want to take care of our consumers.”

    Over the past year, Markwins Beauty Brands consumers have seen Physicians Formula roll out evolved branding along with product development innovation leading to sales growth in new retail outlets of 237%. Influencer favorite and social media darling, wet n wild, captured attention with limited edition, trend-driven launches like the Unicorn Glow and Midnight Mermaid collections while also introducing 2017’s #1 foundation launch in mass market (IRI) – Photo Focus Foundation, which helped drive a 77% increase in the brand’s face business. The iconic Lip Smacker brand also laid claim to 10% growth in year-over-year sales. North America’s #1 ethnic beauty brand, Black Radiance, continued to own 51% dollar share of total ethnic cosmetics.

    Chen helps drive excellence by keeping it all in the family. Not only does his vertically integrated philosophy ensure all aspects of the business operate in-house, including Research & Development, Sales and Marketing, Manufacturing and Operations but Chen’s three children also have key roles in the business, including VP of Marketing for Physicians Formula, Alice Chen. Together they safeguard accountability and accessibility that keeps the focus on innovation and consumer satisfaction from conception to launch.

    What’s next for Markwins? Continued growth that taps into markets worldwide and an ongoing pursuit of the right acquisitions, especially in the skincare arena. Whatever happens, expect it to happen fast.

    Seems like LS is doing better than I expected considering they don’t cater to us collectors anymore.

    • I could see that. Their Tsum Tsums are huge and they were able to cut costs by moving some products to China. Thanks for the update

    • Kara on June 6, 2018 at 11:09 AM said:

      Only 10% though, maybe they should read their Facebook reviews if they want to profit MORE, which are very poorly rated. Believe it or not you can cater and market to BOTH original collectors and new/Disney ones (who will buy anything regardless of quality) the thing is they know we collectors know a quality made Bonne Bell Smacker compared to their cheaply made ones. They have a long way to go to ensure profits continue, but at the rate they put collections out, 10% isn’t much. They need to focus on quality control and get a chemist for LS. Come out with less, quality made Smackers and stop with the non-stop huge launches of nothing but crap. Just my two cents. 😉

      • Collectors don’t matter at all. You can ignore all the positive news all you want, but Markwins are posting gains year after year. Heather Towry said up above and I quote:

        EXACTLY! I don’t know where anyone has gotten the idea that a massive corporation is interested in the 0.001% niche. They have made it clear time and time again that they are not interested, yet we continue to act surprised when they do something stupid?

        The thing is that you collectors are angry about is that Markwins isn’t operating like BB did. And why would they? Just like a head manager that leaves a retail store and another one takes his/her place, the new manager is going to operate things differently than the old manager whether good or bad or better. If Markwins sold LS and BB to L’Oreal Paris, LP would operate LS and BB differently than Markwins because it’s under different leadership with a whole different team.

        If you really want to see how you collectors are a small niche, get a petition going and see how many signatures you get. We’ll see how many you get. If you get under ten thousand, that’s nothing. Markwins needs to see millions of signatures in order to change their ways and see how you collectors are a market. If you get a million signatures in under six months, then we’ll talk again and I’ll eat crow.

        • Besides, why would Markwins be making 10% off LS from their total revenue? That would make it 58 million dollars. How do you know it’s 10%? Do you work in the beauty industry. Last year, Markwins released their report for 2016 and they made 406 million. This year for 2017, they made 580 million. That’s 174 million dollars more.

          If a line was making 58 million dollars compared to 100-120 million dollars LS and BB were making when it was under BB’s ownership, that would mean the line would be less profitable. I don’t think your calculations are correct.

          • Kara on June 12, 2018 at 3:18 PM said:

            Not that I need to explain myself but collectors DO matter. Who else would buy all the cheaply made Disney crap Markwins puts out…DISNEY COLLECTORS, which are guess what…NICHE. Your argument is invalid. Disney is the ultimate sell-out for companies who sell their soul to get more exposure but when you don’t put any money into your core line, the one that has carried your company for 45 years then once people are over the Disney branded Lip Smackers they aren’t going to have a customer anymore because they sold their loyal ones out to make a few more dollars. Markwins business strategy is poorly executed. Have you ever met anyone loyal to any of their brands? Probably not. They cut corners on all the their products and aren’t quality enough to create cult followings. It’s stuff you buy on a whim at Walgreens, use a few times and throw away months later. Lucky for them they just acquired LORAC which I’m sure they’ll gut too.

            It was not expected that Markwins would continue the same wholesome business practices as Bonne Bell. The thing is they’re not staying true to the brands identity. Bottom line, social media drives companies success in this day and age and if you ever read their Facebook reviews or comments under their Instagram posts you’d know many aren’t happy with the quality of the brand, even the Disney collectors. What’s interesting is how you say ‘you collectors’ but here you are on a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker blog, pointing fingers. Seems like you’re a fan too.

  13. Taylor on June 12, 2018 at 3:44 PM said:

    Bell added that chains are tuned into quality to retain young shoppers. “Retailers are just
    starting to suffer the aftermath from allowing infiltration of poorer quality, China-manufactured brands into their stores,” he said. “These brands come and go every day, but Lip Smacker has remained a trusted staple in the lives of girls and moms for 40 years. Despite its low-cost competition, Lip Smacker has never lost sight of the importance of the tween-teen market (including the parental gatekeeper) and refuses to compromise the high quality of
    its products.”
    -Buddy Bell from a March 2013 WWD article.

    Sad he sold his familys brands out less that 2 years later knowing this.

  14. So, I’m so very upset with Markwins. I wrote them an e-mail stating:

    Dear Markwins,

    I’m a Lip Smacker collector and I’ve noticed that, like, you don’t offer as many flavors, like, you used to before Bonne Bell sold to you. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of, like, all the Disney collaborations that you shove down, like, our throats. I demand that you clean up, like, your act and give us collectors what we want. We, like, made you so important, big, and powerful. I spend, like, one million lip balms a year and give, like, you tons of money. You have to bow down to us and give us what you want. You’re, like, lazy, inconsiderate, and stupid. Markwins, you don’t know anything how to run a cosmetics company. BB was a flavor innovator, and they, like, came out with tons of different flavors made in the USA! I’m so unhappy that all your products, like, look for children and not grown adults. You better do as we say because we made you into who you are. So there!



    I then got this response:

    Dear Sally,

    As much as we love our lip smacker collectors and enthusiasts, you came across snobby and arrogant in your e-mail to us. Lip Smacker is proud to represent the core demographic of ages 6-16 and that was Buddy Bell’s original wishes. We can market and sell to whatever customer we want to. All businesses have certain demographics and niches. Unfortunately, we aren’t the company for collectors. That doesn’t mean we don’t like collectors, we just have a different format. A company has a demographic that it caters and markets to. If you are not it, move along and find ones that cater to your demographic. We’re free to market whomever we can market to. When certain Lip Smacker collectors calm down and just ask us for new flavors nicely instead of demanding (to not only appeal to collectors but our other audience), then maybe we’ll listen.

    And frankly, Disney is bringing in the money to us. Why wouldn’t we continue to make more Disney products? As any other company, we have expenses too and a bottom line to worry about each quarter. But thank you for supporting us through and through.


    Lip Smacker

    Ugh! Markwins are such idiots! They’ll never listen to us. I’ve given up on this company. I’m so angry with them!

    • I feel like suing! Anyone with me?

      • Honestly, I don’t think a lawsuit will work. Markwins seems to be doing just fine. I found this recent article.

        Don’t call Eric Chen cheap.

        The founder and chief executive officer of Markwins Beauty Brands is proud to admit he likes a good bargain — in June, for instance, the company announced its latest acquisition, the cosmetics brand Lorac, which sources referred to as “financially distressed” — but he has a better word for it.

        “You can quote me on this — Markwins is a very thrifty company,” said Chen, of the beauty company he founded as a young business school graduate on July 4, 1984, three days after his 26th birthday. “We treasure every dollar.”

        An immigrant from Taiwan, Chen’s penchant for frugality, humble nature and entrepreneurial mindset run deep in Markwins’ company DNA — from its unconventional acquisition strategy that bucks the industry trend of buying brands with sky-high valuations, to its vertically integrated manufacturing infrastructure and its unassuming headquarters in an office park on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
        Under Chen’s pragmatic watch, the business has chugged along for the past three decades, from its beginnings selling imported cosmetics kits to department stores, to today, where a stable of acquired brands — Wet n Wild, Physicians Formula, Black Radiance, Bonne Bell and Lip Smacker — are among some of the fastest-growing in a sluggish mass market, and in 85 countries globally.

        Though presently Markwins is a midsize company, its self-sufficient vertical integration set-up allows it to function “more like that of an Indie brand,” said Chen, meaning the company acts more like a scrappy start-up than a behemoth-in-the-making, and its sizable growth last year is reflective of that.

        Sales for the company increased 35 percent last year, reaching $538 million according to WWD Beauty Inc’s Top 100. Markwins is a private company and does not disclose sales figures, but Chen noted that 2018 has been “another banner year” for the company. Industry sources with knowledge of the company projects sales thus far have nearly doubled, meaning the company is hurtling toward $1 billion in sales. International sales are a smaller fraction of the company’s business, but have nearly doubled in 2018, up to $100 million according to an industry source.

        Markwins’ stable of brands is likely to grow in 2019 — the company is “actively seeking” to further build out its portfolio in the makeup and skin-care space.

        An initial public offering is Chen’s ultimate goal for the company he founded as a young man, and it’s likely a few years away — “maybe 24 to 27 months,” if he had to make an educated guess. (A certified public accountant by trade, he’s a numbers guy at heart.) The company’s rapid growth is the reason it is receiving the 2018 WWD Honor for Best-Performing Company, Small Cap.

        Chen has a tendency to ignore what others in the industry are doing, and forge his own path forward, on his own timeline. He has built the company slowly but surely through a steady stream of careful acquisitions over the past 15 years — Wet n Wild and Black Radiance in 2003, Physicians Formula in 2012, Bonne Bell and Lip Smacker in 2015 and Lorac Cosmetics in 2018. Rather than shell out the big bucks for a brand that is already profitable, Chen prefers to evaluate acquisition targets for the potential he sees in them. Chen’s strategy is to find diamonds in the rough — oftentimes struggling brands that private equity firms and other beauty companies might pass over — and polish them up to drive sales for the company.
        “With today’s valuations, very successful brands Some brands can outrageously have 20 times ,” said Chen. “Our criteria is the future potential — the future potential profitability and size of the business, rather than latching onto something very profitable or well-established. All the brands all had great potential, but through different variables were somewhat struggling.”

        Each brand in the Markwins portfolio has a unique identity — for Chen, everything has to serve its own purpose. When evaluating an acquisition, Chen looks for gaps in the Markwins portfolio that can’t organically be filled by existing brands in the company purview.
        “If for too much money, there’s a lot of conversation about overlap with the brand positioning,” said Chen.

        Wet n Wild is trend-driven and affordable; Physicians Formula speaks to consumers looking for clean, doctor-recommended products with a natural positioning; Black Radiance makes makeup designed for multicultural consumers; and Lip Smacker captures the teen and novelty markets. The acquisition of Lorac provided an entry for Markwins into prestige and specialty retail.

        “We have not one brand that overlaps with one another,” said Stefano Curti, Markwins global president, who was brought into the company in January to oversee day-to-day operations. “In my previous roles at Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, we had brands that would compete with each other and that would pose dilemmas in which brands to invest in, which brands could grow.”

        Markwins’ vertically integrated infrastructure is designed to facilitate brand-building in a nimble, fast and cost-effective way, bringing everything from manufacturing to research and development and e-commerce and social media marketing in-house. Markwins is working on building an R&D innovation center inside its headquarters in the resolutely unglamorous City of Industry, 30 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles, which is home to the offices of many trendy beauty brands. Marwkins doesn’t make an inauthentic move, said Chen. It wasn’t until the Lorac acquisition that the company created a satellite office in downtown L.A. — Lorac’s brand positioning is a Hollywood makeup artistry line. The company does all of its manufacturing in-house, via facilities it owns in China, Mexico and Canada. Doing everything in-house allows the company to react faster. It also helps with retailer relationships, as Markwins can quickly customize trend items for drugstore retailers, or produce limited-edition products as soon as a trend pops up.

        “I believe, in the end, what has contributed to the success of Markwins over the years has been a number of successful acquisitions and turnarounds,” said Curti. “The company had a vision of identifying brands that had opportunities, that could be relaunched both domestically and internationally. We behave as a company much more like an indie brand than a multinational. We are very agile, very fast and we internalize a lot of things that other companies take from the outside world — especially in color cosmetics.”

        Wet n Wild is the case study the other Markwins brands are following. The brand’s sales grew 15 percent year-over-year in 2017, despite no category growth in mass market makeup. In the Nineties, the brand was known for its 99-cent eyeliner and glitter nail polish, but In 2012, Markwins began reformulating Wet n Wild’s products, shifting its focus from cheap beauty to “fast beauty” and churning out high-quality, trend-driven innovation at the quickest speed and lowest price possible. Evelyn Wang, formerly the senior vice president of marketing, came on board in 2015 to overhaul the brand’s digital and social media presence. Now, the brand is beloved by influencers and has launched a slew of hit products: The MegaGlo highlighter is the top-selling highlighter in the mass market, according to IRI, and Photo Focus foundation was the top-selling foundation in 2017, the year it launched.

        Physicians Formula is in the midst of its own makeover. Acquired in 2012, the brand had lost meaningful retail accounts — most notably Walgreens — and its stockkeeping unit count had grown cluttered and confusing. Chen brought in his own daughter, Alice Chen, senior vice president of marketing for Physicians Formula and head of corporate communications for Markwins, to streamline the brand message and product assortment. The brand introduced its new assortment, focused on better-for-you products like The Healthy Foundation at $12.99 and has gained back Walgreens — 1,500 doors to date. It is also making strides on e-commerce and in China, where the growth of the brand has outpaced Wet n Wild. In the U.S., there have been dramatic gains in key categories — blush sales are up 63 percent versus a category decline of 8 percent, bronzer sales are up 78 percent versus a category decline of 12 percent and makeup remover sales are up 174 percent versus a category decline of 6 percent.

        The online channel is of increasing focus for Markwins, particularly as sales in the U.S. mass market, where the majority of its brands are sold, remain flat and the retail landscape looks bleak. “We’re awfully strong on Amazon,” said Chen. “We’re building our own sites and putting a lot of effort into it — it one of Markwins’ biggest growth drivers.” Like everything else, Chen is bringing digital capabilities in-house, preparing to ramp up digital and e-commerce further in 2019. In June, Markwins absorbed the web design and digital agency Sitejet, and brought on its founder and owner as chief digital officer.

        A re-brand on Lorac that is expected to roll out next year will deepen the company’s partnership with Ulta Beauty and open doors in the prestige market, including HSN.

        One thing Chen isn’t too worried about next year is President Donald Trump’s trade war with China — in fact, he’s thinking optimistically about it. Chen expects the beauty industry to be hit harder by tariffs in January, and he’s ready for it. “We will definitely be among the lowest-impacted companies,” said Chen. “We’ll weather the storm — we’re ready for it. We have the infrastructure.”

        In 2017, Markwins expanded its manufacturing facilities in North America. Much of the space in its Chinese facilities is now dedicated to products sold specifically in China. Beginning to sell its Wet n Wild and Physicians Formula brand has set the stage for “explosive growth,” said Chen, who noted that China accounted for 30 percent of Markwins’ international growth this year. With the launch of his brands there, he has seen luxury-obsessed Chinese Millennials become engendered with the affordable, trend-driven items his company peddles.

        Said Curti: “We’re only scratching the surface , quite frankly. Everyone says that Asian consumers are very much attracted to premium brands. That’s true. As the market has grown in prestige, they’re starting to be more savvy and smart about value — not just price, but what they get for their brands. A strong American brand with an edgy equity like Wet n Wild with good quality at a reasonable price is ground-breaking not just in China, but in Asia overall.”

        Chen is an admitted fan of dad jokes and platitudes. When he thinks about the success of his company, he often refers back to its name, which he chose when he was a young founder, inspired by an adage from his native Taiwan. “In Taiwan, name means mark,” said Chen. “I’m a mark, a human being is a mark, Physicians Formula is a brand, but it’s a mark. Maybe it’s an old cliché, but this mark wins.”
        A self-professed nice guy with a “big heart” who refers to his workforce as “family” — and in some cases, like the three Chen offspring working at Markwins, they are — Chen views going public as a way to cement his personal legacy and reward his longtime employees (“family members”) after he retires.

        As much as he likes to talk about the future, he also likes to talk about the family-like atmosphere he’s fostered at Markwins. While he gives most of the credit for running day-to-day operations to executives like Curti, he likes to view his own role as more of a patriarchal figure — setting the tone for how the business is run, and signing off on financial decisions.

        “If I have any strength over the other guys — not putting people down here — if people know me, they know I have the biggest heart. People make the difference and you have to treat people with heart. I always play a supporting role to make sure reach their dreams — or at least get their jobs done in a constructive manner.”

        Chen’s humble spirit has allowed Markwins to fly relatively under the radar in the beauty industry. He’s aware that “the other guys” might not think of Markwins as a “real powerhouse.” That is likely to change soon, as the company barrels toward $1 billion in sales.

        “Maybe I’m a humble guy and I never brag about Markwins,” said Chen. “I’m taking the long-term view.”

        They didn’t mention anything about LS and BB. As far as everything being made in China with LS, the owner is Asian. I’m sure he would like to support his own country by making products in those countries, even though it would be better to keep the jobs over here in the US.

        And instead of being upset about Markwins taking over BB and LS, how about if we get angry at Aspire Brands for selling the brand. If they didn’t accept the sale for LS and BB, they would still be owning them and everything would be ok. Why would Aspire sell BB and LS to Markwins?

  15. Honey Bee on March 4, 2019 at 9:24 AM said:

    Just wanted to let you all know I miss our chats. Hope you all have been doing well <3

    • Tara on March 4, 2019 at 9:38 PM said:

      I miss our chats and this blog too! It’s a shame it hasn’t been kept up to at least keep the Bonne Bell memories alive and well. Maybe she’ll come back. After all there was atleast 40+ years of Bonne Bell made Lip Smackers to talk about and we only got a few years covered on here.

    • Maria on March 6, 2019 at 2:11 AM said:

      HI honey bee. Long time no chat. Miss this blog too!!

  16. lipsmackerobsessed on May 29, 2019 at 12:08 PM said:

    I used to like Lip Smackers when Bonne Bell owned the company before Markwins took over and bought it. Back then, Lip Smacker and Bonne Bell catered to us collectors (we buy thousands of lip balms a year. I used to buy like twenty thousand lip balms). They would create new flavors just for us collectors, and they didn’t need Disney products to carry the brand like nowadays.

    In 2015, Markwins bought Lip Smackers and Bonne Bell. I was so worried about if the quality would be good like with Bonne Bell, and I was right that the quality would turn bad. Markwins keeps putting out the same flavors in different packaging for all the seasonal years. They started to make LS and BB products in China when they’ve been made in the USA since the beginning. Us collectors complain all the time to Markwins, but I don’t understand why they don’t cater to us. I don’t understand why they can’t create new flavors for us collectors to buy. Lazy, lazy, lazy!

    I wish Markwins were more grateful for the dedicated fans they acquired when they bought LS from the Bells. Seriously, the world doesn’t revolve around Disney branding.

    I mean, come on, we spend our entire salary every year buying over thousands of LS products unlike the other lowly customers who only purchase LS products like, maybe once a year.Markwins sticks to about 8-10 flavors and renames them 20x’s. *Eye rolls* With all the money they’re making from the Tsum Tsums WHY aren’t they spending it on R&D for new and AUTHENTIC flavors!?! I like, wrote in on Facebook about my thoughts and someone had the nerve to say to my post that Markwins won’t cater to us because we’re not the general public. We’re a niche brand and a small niche. The person had the nerve to say that since Markwins is a big company, they have no time to target small niches like us. The person also said we’re in the 1% and no company is interested in us because we’re that low.

    I’m like, excuse me????!!! Us collectors are so not niches at all. We helped build up the company to how great and powerful it is for today. If it weren’t for us collectors, this company wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. Now, Markwins is ruining everything that Bonne Bell stood for. Also, that person said since another company took out, the management would manage BB and LS differently than Bonne Bell did because of the switch of companies.

    Even if we’re the 1%, we spend 10X as much as the regular consumer, who doesn’t buy every new Party Pack coming out, or collection-most of us do! So our opinion does matter. How hard is it to do a few brand new flavors a year and some really good originals collections? I literally avoid any Disney branded Smacker now. I will buy any but that just to spite it.

    Emily Huang is now head of all Bonne Bell/Lip Smackers brands at Markwins. Clearly, she’s sleeping at the wheel because they haven’t done anything with the BB brand and clearly nothing new with Lip Smacker. Bill George is her boss. Both need to leave cosmetics immediately

    That is so, so wrong! They should manage LS and BB the same because we’re the companies bread and butter.
    I just don’t understand, like, how come they, like, don’t worship us! Us collectors are so, so, sooooooo special! We demand special treatment because we spend soooooo much money on the brand. Who do those stupid people think that they are running Markwins? Seriously, I think I’m going to sue Markwins for endangering us collectors from getting what we want and deserve!

    UGH! I’m so over Markwins. Anyone with me?

  17. Deb on May 5, 2020 at 2:45 AM said:

    Please if anyone has kaleidoscope candy from this collection please let me know I’d love to buy it!!!!

  18. Even flavors like strawberry and strawberry banana turned terrible

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