After spending several months listening to doctors and patients, Elyse Dickerson rented a lab at UNTHSC to develop a formula that would help her start her business. Nine months and ~$50k later, Earwax MD® was finally complete.
Since developing her first product, Elyse has added six products to the Eosera range. We spoke to her about the challenges associated with starting a new business in the competitive pharmaceutical sector and what her plans are for the future.
Tell us about your work. What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
I was tired of the corporate grid and envisioned a company where employees were more than just numbers and results more than just dollars. Prior to co-founding Eosera, I spent over a decade at Alcon. In 2015, Joe Griffin and I decided that it was time to leave the money-making, pharma world to start a new company. The personal risk was real considering we were both leaving the comfort of high salaries, benefits, and stock options behind to take a chance on a dream.
We spent several months listening to doctors and patients in an effort to unlock unmet needs in the market. After clearly identifying earwax impaction as an opportunity, we self-funded the business, rented a lab at UNTHSC and got to work on the formula. Nine months and ~$50k later, we emerged with a formulation that worked quickly to dissolve earwax, and Earwax MD® was born.
Eosera’s full line of over-the-counter ear care products provide immense value to both consumers and healthcare professionals, saving time, money and eliminating the inconvenience of previously ineffective products. These products also provide value to retailers who are looking to grow their ear care category.
Launched in 2018, Ear Pain MD and Ear Pain MD for Kids are designed to provide rapid pain relief through the application of topical drops. The company has also recently launched the Wax Blaster MD Ear Irrigation Kit and Ear Itch MD for 2019.
Today, Eosera has six products available to the public and we are working feverishly to produce new and unprecedented work. These products include Earwax MD®, Earwax MD® for Kids, Ear Pain MD ™, Ear Pain MD™ for Kids, Wax Blaster MD™ and Earwax PET™. These products can be found at Amazon.com, on shelves in nationwide CVS stores, Target stores, and will soon be launching in Rite Aid stores.
What do you see for your future?
Sunshine! I see a bright future where our products solve problems for patients and doctors, improving the lives of millions of people each day.
What did you eat for breakfast?
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I typically make an egg scramble with onions, tomatoes, arugula, and avocado.
What’s your workout?
I’ve been a runner and triathlete for the better part of twenty years. I primarily cycle outdoors on the weekends and go to Orange Theory or boot camp-style workouts on weekday mornings. I’m always up by 5:00 am to get my workout in before the sun comes up. My workout is the one part of my day I cannot skip because it puts me in a positive state of mind for the rest of the day.
What gets in YOUR WAY? What’s the one thing you’d like other female founders to know about overcoming that.
Fear gets in my way. As I have aged, I have become more conscious of the things that scare me but I am able to step through the fear more quickly. It took me about a decade to recognize my fears and understand that they were driving my decisions. I was afraid of failure, afraid of starting over, afraid of going without a paycheck, afraid of the unknown. It was a life changing moment for me when I became conscious of my fears and started naming them. Once I named the fears, I was able to overcome them. One very important lesson I learned is that I was not alone in my fears. Sometimes as women and leaders, we feel like we’re alone in our struggles, but there is great power in sharing our struggles and finding ways to overcome them.
What’s your favorite tech tool today–a must have app, platform or software that helps you run the firm.
I’m a pretty simple person, but having inspiring podcasts at the tips of my fingers has been a life changer. I love the podcasts ‘How I Built This’ and ‘The Corner Office’.
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?”
Storytelling. Telling our story in a concise and engaging manner has allowed me to raise capital quickly and gain buy-in from retailers. It has also allowed me to win several business pitch competitions, earning over $55,000 in non-equity cash.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now? Why does s/he inspire you?
I most admire Jenn Hayman of Rent the Runway. She has such an inspiring story and has faced a lot of resistance from investors and designers, but she persevered. What she has created is brilliant and it addresses a market need. In creating Rent the Runway, Jenn designed an entirely new category of retail, which has inspired other companies to compete.
What the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
‘This too shall pass.’ A former boss, Judy Robertson, told me this and I repeat it to myself every time things get tough (which is often in the entrepreneurial world). It is such great advice because it helps me re-frame every crisis or problem in a way that allows me to find a solution without getting too emotionally involved.