Back in 2005, Sara Happ was a reporter at ESPN, but at night she didn’t watch basketball games like the rest of her coworkers. She went home and read the pages of magazines like ELLE, In Style, and Glamour instead.
So when she kept reading the same tip to exfoliate lips— the old gently brush them with a toothbrush adage— she got to thinking. She came home from a trip to the grocery store with essential oils and sugar and made the beginnings of what we now know as Sara Happ The Lip Scrub. At first, they were sold as an almost ombre set at Los Angeles boutiques.
Fast forward and a decade later, she’s completely revolutionized lip care with her scrub and Lip Slip which are both sold at Nordstrom and she’s working on products that will do that time and again.
This weekend, Happ visited Nordstrom Northpark where she fielded questions and talked about all things lip care. Here, a select bit of her advice:
Where can we find your lip scrub around town?
We’ve been in North Park for about a year and then around town at places like Forty-Five Ten.
What are the newest products for summer?
Our peony lip scrub just came out. It’s in a bluish pink box and it’s a nice floral.
You revolutionized the lip game. How do you plan to do it again?
I buy every product that I read about that I think is interesting. Whether it’s at Neiman’s or Sephora or Target, I buy whatever is interesting and piques my curiosity. I find what’s good about each of them and then I find what’s missing in them. Then I call our chemists and say, “How can we make something that is better than this?”
There are things people just accept as normal like lipstick dries out your lips, but it’s great so wear it. Or lip-gloss feels good for a second but then you’ll have to reapply so keep in your bag. You look at the way things function and they don’t have to function that way. Chemistry can fix that.
Do you see a lot of products that don’t work before you find the one that does?
Oh my God, my office has 10 or 12 lucite containers at all times that have 60 versions of one product. So we just keep going back and tweaking it. The coolest compliment is when our chemist says, “No one has ever ask for this before.”
How do you decide what products to make?
We’re making products based on what people in their mind think is broken. The concerns we hear are broad but recurring like uneven, too big, too small, wrong color. Everyone says their lips are chronically dry and I’m like they really don’t have to be.