How many people suffered from cold sores. But what made Alfred different from many other people was his strong entrepreneurial spirit and a knack for making household remedies himself.
So he decided to become active himself and create a medicine for his troubled lips. In 1937 he began to prepare Carmex® by hand and pour the medicinal lip balm into the famous glass jars in his kitchen.
To bring the product to the people, Alfred Apotheke paid a personal visit, pharmacy by pharmacy. If there was no interest, he nevertheless gave the pharmacy a few free doses of his lip balm and added a postcard, which could be used to reorder the product. Soon the pharmacies had handed out free samples, and Alfred received the first repeat orders.
After Alfred Woelbing lost his job as a shopper at a department store in Milwauukee, he began manufacturing Lyptone, a lip care product. He sold the rights for it for 2,500 dollars, at that time a proud sum. In 1937, Alfred Woelbing invented Carmex® and founded Carma Laboratories, Inc. to herald a new era in lip care.
Alfred initially sold his Carmex® Classic lip balm from the boot of his car. By word of mouth he quickly gained more and more customers.
During the Second World War, the USA required their entire lanolin stock for the army: there, the wool grease was used to grease the equipment and as a rust inhibitor. This severely limited the production possibilities for Carmex® Classic Lip Balm, as lanolin was one of its main ingredients.
After the war Alfred continued the production of 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, Carmex® Classic Lip Balm soon enjoyed such popularity that in-house production was no longer possible. Thus, in 1957, the production of Carmex® was relocated to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a western suburb of Milwaukee.
The demand for Carmex® continued to grow steadily and advertising was also expanded: the company invested 10 dollars a year in a "CARMEX" lettering on the number plate of the family car.
Alfred, who was now in his seventies, no longer conducted telephone sales conversations himself, but still held a significant position within the company Carma Laboratories, Inc.
In 1973 his son Don joined the company and introduced assembly line production. Three years later, Carma Laboratories, Inc. had also become too large for the production facility in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and was relocated to Franklin, another suburb of Milwaukee. This is still the location of production 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 packaging design of the traditional company.
According to a survey by the trade journal Pharmacy Times, Carmex® was the most recommended brand of lip care products by pharmacists for several years in a row. In 1999 our Click Stick with LSF 15 came on the market.
In 2001 Alfred died and an era came to an end. Alfred had worked eight hours a day until his nineties and travelled over 60 km a day to get to the production site.
A year later, our products were available in all 50 US states as well as throughout North America, Australia, Europe and Asia.
Among the new products in this decade was our lip balm in cherry and strawberry flavours (selected via an online vote).
In order to ensure that our soothing lip balm arrives everywhere on time, a further distribution centre was opened in 2004.
In 2006, Carma Laboratories, Inc. appointed its first management team, bringing new life to the now 70-year-old company. The next few years were marked by an expansion of the sales structure and the product range.
When Oprah Winfrey proudly announced on her show in 2008 that Carmex® had already sold more than one billion crucibles, she put the Woelbing family and the entire Carmex® in the limelight once again.
In 2009 Don Woelbing, the chairman of the company, passed away. However, Carma Laboratories, Inc. remained in the family and is still run by Alfred's grandsons Paul and Eric Woelbing.