BY LIZA LONG
TRY AN ARRAY OF FUN FLAVORS PACKAGED IN SHOTGUN SHELL CASINGS
In 2010, Wayne Forrey had a problem that most of us can relate to. An avid sportsman
and outdoors enthusiast, Forrey found that after a day in Idaho’s crisp mountain air, his
lips were sunburned, chapped, and cracked, and supermarket lip balms just couldn’t provide enough relief. Even worse, their flimsy cylindrical containers often oozed and melted in his pockets. As a lip cancer survivor, Forrey, a city planner and garage inventor, needed a sun-protecting, soothing lip balm that wouldn’t create a gooey mess.
A decade later, Balmshot, Wayne’s ideal lip balm, packaged in a sturdy shotgun shell casing, is sold at major retailers across the United States, including Wal-Mart, Cabelas, Scheels, Fred Meyers, and D&B Garden Supply. The bright golden cartridge with a brass base is an iconic summer accessory for anyone planning to spend time in Idaho’s beautiful outdoors, and its unique design and packaging make sure the lip balm doesn’t make a mess.
I met with Balmshot’s general manager Juan Oarbeascoa at the company’s production
facility in downtown Eagle to learn more about Balmshot’s unique approach to lip care.
“This is the best lip balm and dispenser you will ever find,” Oarbeascoa gushed, and after trying the product myself, I agree.
In addition to the unflavored classic balm, Balmshot comes in delicious flavors and fun packaging including pomegranate, cool mint, raspberry, and Pure Pink, with the American flag and camo packaging options. Oarbeascoa’s favorite flavor is cool mint; I have a slight preference for raspberry.
In 2018, Forrey sold the company to Eagle resident and Cornerstone CEO Daniel Walker. Walker’s son Andrew, who has Down syndrome, has become a poster child for the company. His joyful face graces the larger cartons of Balmshot that are shipped to retailers.
Walker and Oarbeascoa were high school friends, and when Walker contacted him about the opportunity to manage the company, Oarbeascoa and his wife were thrilled at the opportunity to move their family to Eagle. With a 19-year career as a logistics specialist for the Seattle Mariners, Oarbeascoa brought a comprehensive knowledge of supply chain and
logistics that has proven invaluable for Balmshot through the pandemic.
In addition to its unique look and feel, Balmshot is special for another reason: The company gives back to the community in important and life-changing ways.
“There’s real strength in being a part of our community,” Oarbeascoa told me. “We don’t just say it. We do it.”
A portion of proceeds from all sales of Balmshot’s Pure Pink line is donated to Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI), with $30,000 donated so far to help uninsured women obtain lifesaving cancer treatments (Forrey’s wife Karen was a breast cancer nurse).
And Balmshot provides meaningful employment opportunities for people with special needs. I met one of those exceptional employees, Mark Whitaker, who was busy checking product for defects and expertly showed me how the company’s modified carton packaging machine works.
As with all the machines at Balmshot, the packaging machine reveals Forrey’s innovative improvements. The lip balm itself is sourced from an FDA-approved cosmetics provider. At Balmshot’s Eagle facility, the balm is packaged in those iconic shotgun shells with sturdy brass bases, then labeled with the company’s logo.
Every part of the product, from casings to the brass base to the balm itself, is made in the U.S.A. In Forrey’s original vision, the shotgun shell cartridges were recycled, but as the company grew, it became difficult to keep up with demand, so they switched to new cartridges.
What’s next for Balmshot? To keep up with the demand for the product, Oarbeascoa said the company plans to expand its production facilities to a new Eagle location by July 2022.
With its commitment to our community values, Balmshot is an example of what makes Eagle such a wonderful place to live – and this iconic Idaho lip balm is a must-have item for every season.
For more information, visit their website at www.balmshot.com.