Elyse Stoltz Dickerson – A capitalist entrepreneur who puts people first

February 19, 2021

Eosera interview on Enterprise League

Market research is not sexy, but it’s utterly necessary for the process of creating a product that will actually solve people’s problem/s. Elyse Stoltz Dickerson knew that when she left the corporate world and decided to finally start something on her own.

The data showed an unquestionable need for an earwax impaction solution – it will not only relieve those suffering from it, but also remove a lot of workload for doctors’ and let them focus more on higher-need patients.

Six years later, Eosera is offering 9 ear care products and will soon introduce a nasal care line. Let’s find out how Elyse got to that point.

Feeling under-appreciated as an employee, a nonexistent work-life balance, financial struggles, getting out of bad relationships – these are the most common triggers that push women to become entrepreneurs. Tell us about your trigger?

I was unhappy at my previous company for many reasons, but the trigger was pulled for me when I was terminated in January 2015. I could have gone to work for another big corporation, but I knew that wasn’t right for me, so I decided to start my own business with my business partner, Joe Griffin. It’s been a tremendous success, and we’ve built a lucrative company with an amazing team. 

Elyse Stoltz Dickerson quote

How did you come up with your business idea?

I spent 13 years in big pharma and knew the industry pretty well. When I decided I wanted to start my own company, I interviewed doctors of all types to see what unmet need was present in the market. I truly wanted to create something that would help patients and doctors alike. 

Through interviewing these doctors, I found out earwax impaction was a big problem that drove many people to visit the doctor. The doctors were interested in an OTC product that would solve this problem—not only so they could use it in the office, but so their patients could use it at home and save the doctors’ time (they often don’t code earwax removal) so they could see higher-need patients. 

After almost a year in the lab and hundreds of formulations, we finally came up with the product, EARWAX MD. Things took off from there. We now have 9 ear care products in over 13K retail stores, on Amazon, and our website, with more products in the pipeline.

Have you had support from someone, even if just encouragement? Who was that and how did it help you?

My business partner, Joe Griffin, was and is a supportive and encouraging business partner on all accounts. I’ve learned that you can’t do it alone; it’s crucial to have someone there to celebrate the victories with as well as the tough losses. Having a business partner to lean on for support and encouragement has helped make our business possible. 

Female entrepreneurs are often underestimated and overlooked. Have you ever felt at a disadvantage?

Absolutely. I think being a female entrepreneur has its challenges and obstacles. I’ve faced many of the typical hurdles that numerous women before me have faced in terms of wage discrimination, sexism, harassment, and more. I’ve had the disadvantageous experience of being the only female in the room on many occasions. 

I do everything in my power to make sure that those aren’t obstacles in my company or for my employees.

Some say it’s hard work, others say it’s talent and resourcefulness that play a crucial role for success in entrepreneurship? Which traits have been instrumental for your success so far? And why?

I think, as you might guess, it’s a mix of many things. It’s definitely hard work, talent, and resourcefulness, that’s true, but it’s also the connections you’ve made and the network you’ve built that come in handy when launching a business or a product. 

I had many professional friends that stepped in when I started my company and helped me by offering me advice, counsel, and services. Those indispensable offerings are what helped make my dream a reality.

What excites you the most about being an entrepreneur?

Every single day I learn something new. I learn how to do something I’ve ever done before. It’s never boring, owning your own business. You’re constantly thinking on your feet and pivoting quickly to adjust to new situations thrown your way. I’m excited that I don’t know what challenge each day will bring. 

Share with us some of the worst business advice you’ve ever received?

Once, I was giving a presentation to a client. The client asked me a left-field question about a statistic I did not know, so I told the client I wasn’t sure. Afterwards, my superior was incredibly upset and told me to never say “I don’t know.” I think that’s the worst advice I’ve received, to pretend to know something you don’t. No one can know everything.

You’ve got a high stake investment opportunity. Pitch your business in 150 words.

Eosera is a fast-growing, multi-million-dollar, female-led biotech company focused on ear care. With a full, comprehensive line of ear care products for all ears in over 13K retail stores across the nation, including ear hygiene, earwax removal, ear itch, and ear irrigation, Eosera is one of the leading experts in ear care. 

Our products include EARWAX MD, EARWAX MD for Kids, EAR CLEAN MD, EAR ITCH MD NIGHTTIME, WAX BLASTER MD, and more. Our mission is to bring to market the latest quality innovations in ear care while staying true to our company values and placing people before profit. 

We believe in understanding the consumer’s needs and delivering product that serves those unmet needs in the healthcare industry. We’ve grown the ear care category in retailers by up to 35%, and we continue to introduce new innovations year after year.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs?

Be optimistic yet grounded, be flexible, be kind. 

Be optimistic yet grounded. You don’t have to be happy-go-lucky all the time, but keeping a positive attitude, even an attitude of perseverance, will not only help you get through tough times, but it will also lift others on your team up. As a leader, it’s important to remember to stay grounded. I’ve seen negativity spread through offices and ruin the culture of a company far too quickly. Don’t let it happen to you and yours. 

Be flexible. Something will pop up every day that you have never done before. Deals go wrong, things fall through, disasters happen. Being flexible will allow you to ride the wave and do all you can do to keep things together. 

Be kind. It’s a small world. Someone you talked to knows someone who knows someone who knows your mom. Make her proud.

What are your goals for the upcoming year?

In 2021, we hope to expand our ear care line, introduce our nasal care line, and team up with more retailers than ever before. We hope to grow and change the ear care category with innovative, effective products and help consumers, doctors, patients, retailers, employees, and all stakeholders with our mission of putting people before profits.

Any final words to end this interview?

I’d love to share that business can be more than making money. Making money is important, and I’m no doubt a capitalist, but there’s a greater good that can be served. Eosera is one of the companies involved in conscious capitalism, a concept that believes there’s a higher purpose over profits. 

Our higher purpose is people. To us, believing in people before profits means keeping in mind and prioritizing the people you serve before your bottom line when making business decisions, large and small. 

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