There are certain parts of being human that we don’t think about a lot – such as earwax. But what might be a forgettable annoyance for you is a major concern for those dealing with earwax impaction. Buildup can be severe enough to leave you temporarily deaf. Despite the clear need for medical care, most existing products were little more than tap water. Healthcare providers repeatedly pointed to ear care as an underserved area. Elyse Dickerson chose to tackle the job head-on.
Dickerson and CSO Joe Griffin founded Eosera in order to create a product for earwax impaction. They acquired lab space and began experimenting. Within nine months, they had a product that could dissolve earwax in a test tube.
“What drew me to ear care was the lack of innovation in the category. Some conditions weren’t being treated at home because there were no products over-the-counter available,” said Dickerson. “Eosera’s mission is putting people first. I came out of big corporations that were all about money, money, money. Instead, we talk about healing humans.”
Ear care options from Eosera
Eosera offers a wide range of products treating conditions like ear itchiness and earwax buildup. Eosera offers some products for children and pets, while others are used for cleaning earbuds. One recent addition to the product line is a nasal flushing system for sinus relief. All these products are available at their online store and pharmacies like CVS.
Uncomfortable reading about earwax? Eosera uses names and directions to make the medical procedures sound more fun and creative. One of their fastest-selling products is the Wax Blaster MD, a spray nozzle to “blast” away impaction. The product’s directions urge customers to dance while shaking the solution for the best results. Another tongue-in-cheek line says that a 10-ounce mixture should be enough unless you’re a basset hound. In that case, turn to their pet product. Customers seem to appreciate the humor and the effective products. The reviews are filled with comments from customers who are ecstatic at being able to hear again.
Failure to future endeavors
Dickerson is open to sharing every step on her path to entrepreneurship, even the difficulties. She worked in corporate healthcare for 13 years before she was abruptly terminated.
“I like to share that because I think a lot of people feel alone when they’re fired. The reality is, if you’re in business, you’re likely to lose your job at some point. It’s all about how you respond to that failure. I was fired in 2015. Within two months, I decided to start my own company.”
The most important 10 minutes for Eosera
Dickerson had full faith in the business – she needed it, as her savings were on the line. She was worried about being able to connect with retailers to drive sales and company growth. Not an easy task when you’re a “no-name.”
She secured a 10-minute talk with the buyer at CVS during a retail conference. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the company’s future was riding on this moment.
“Whether it was serendipitous or luck, the buyer was very entrepreneurial himself. He used his job within CVS to find new brands and innovations. Within 10 minutes, he committed to taking our product,” Dickerson recalled. “I proposed that he take it to 2,000 stores, and that we test it out. I honestly thought he was going to say that he would only do a couple hundred. Instead, he said, ‘No, I want it in all 8,000 stores.’”
In a single heart-stopping conversation, Dickerson walked away with a buyer, a secured future and a valuable piece of advice for other business owners.
“This is a key tip for entrepreneurs. You have to be ready to make it work. Whatever comes your way, you have to make that Herculean effort. Say‘I can do this.’ You figure it out because when opportunities present themselves, you can’t just say no. Always be ready to just say yes.”
Embracing mentorship and conscious capitalism
Eosera follows a specific movement known as conscious capitalism. Conscious capitalism companies strive to be a force of good for customers, investors, employees and the environment. Dickerson felt disconnected from the major healthcare market that focused on turning a profit, but learning about conscious capitalism helped her feel more enthusiastic about starting a business.
For those interested in learning about conscious capitalism, she urged entrepreneurs to seek out a variety of resources available, from books and conferences to local groups. (COVID may still be impacting meetups, she cautioned).
Likewise, Dickerson shared her passion for mentoring other women, encouraging them to become involved in corporate leadership and STEM initiatives.
“When I started, there were women in the lower management level. As I moved up over 13 years, there were fewer and fewer women in the room. When I got to that level, I realized I now had a responsibility to bring other women along with me, and help be a voice for them. I took that role seriously. Good things came out of it, but it’s also scary, because you’re putting yourself out there and putting yourself on the line. I would still do it a hundred times. Now, in my role as a CEO and co-founder, I’m really passionate about that,” she said.
Helping other women not only ties into the values of the company but also draws on Dickerson’s own experiences. The women she had as mentors – some of whom she still meets with – were valuable sources of business and personal advice.
“When my mentor gives to me, I give to somebody else. It’s like a chain. We’ve extended our mentorship so far out that we’re reaching down into high school. Last summer, we started working with an all-girls school in Fort Worth, Texas,” she said. “We’re trying to start as young as possible. If we can instill leadership and confidence at that young age, the sky’s the limit for them.”