Business Categories Reports Podcasts Events Awards Webinars
Contact My Account About

Irish Wellness Brand EauLab Lands in the US, Serving Convenience in Striking Aesthetics

Published June 27, 2024
Published June 27, 2024

So much for the age-old advice to “do one thing and do it well.” As the founder of the Ireland-based, multicategory brand EauLab, Sean Moran is happy to try to be many things to many people. 

Of course, as the name indicates, there’s a throughline that connects the dots between SKUs in the brand’s nine “aqueous” product categories: water. 

And there’s also the fact that EauLab kicked-off with a single product, a probiotic-spiked sparkling H20 dubbed Gut. The fiber-rich liquid, housed in a strikingly designed, stout little 250 ml can, quickly caught the eye of Vogue France. 

But even before the press got its mitts on the beverage, the response to its debut at the 2019 International Food & Drink Event (IFE) in London was positive. EauLab was entered into the World Food Innovation Awards, held in conjunction with IFE, and nabbed finalist honors in three categories: Best Brand, Best Drink Concept, and Best Health & Wellness drink. 

In addition, EauLab subsequently scored a free showcase stand at Anuga, Europe’s largest food and beverage tradeshow, and Moran was asked to speak at the Global Bottled Water Congress in Dubai. 

“Six months prior, the brand was a scribble of a functional water idea in a notepad,” Moran recalls. “To push it along, I called the event organizer and booked a tiny three-meter by two-meter  (10-foot by 6.5-foot) stand, which is like a grain of sand in a huge venue like the ExCeL London. With 15,000 euros ($16,000) to spend for the exhibition space and to bring the idea to life, I knuckled down from my home office on the very rural west coast of Ireland and got to work developing the brand and product range.” 

Making that seemingly daunting task easier: Moran’s 15-year professional background in account management at some of the world’s leading advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy, Merkley+Partners, and TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Born in Chicago to Irish parents, Moran was raised in Ireland but headed back to the US after attending university in Dublin. “I was an advertising agency, account management guy in NYC,” he says. “Thought I’d stay for two years but stayed for 15, working on all sorts of brands from chocolate to cognac.” 

Putting the New York stint behind him and returning to Ireland, Moran more than dabbled in other pre-EauLab ventures, starting a specialty tea brand and developing a line of luxury linens he sourced to affluent clients around the globe. 

But back to EauLab …

Despite the initial buzz around the brand’s gut-protective canned water, Moran says he quickly saw the writing on the wall regarding commercial viability. 

After “a big American crowdfunding platform” approached the brand, Moran’s recon quickly surfaced the fact that the costs involved with transporting single-order, 6- to 12-count packs just weren't feasible. 

The global pandemic, which kicked into gear roughly a year after EauLab’s launch, further cemented Moran’s reluctance to put all his eggs in the functional beverage basket. “Covid was unkind to a young ready-to-drink brand,” he says. “And that was really the impetus to explore whether EauLab could exist in other categories, in other channels, in other formats.”

“We see an overwhelmed and fatigued consumer. We see it in Europe, and we most definitely see it in the US. More and more products are being introduced, and at a faster rate, than ever seen before."
By Sean Moran, founder, EauLab

At roughly the same time, Moran happened upon the book Troubled Water (What’s Wrong with What We Drink) by Seth M. Siegel, a damning take on the safety of the US aqua supply. 

“It just made me stop and think a bit about the human body, and the fact that it’s plus or minus 60% water,” he says. That led to Moran envisioning a more comprehensive brand, one that delivers “holistic wellness to a body that is mainly water, and across product categories. Not just a functional water drink.”

In fact, EauLab is currently out of the functional water business altogether, preferring to offer customers nutrients and benefits primarily through dissolving strips rather than drinkable liquids or traditional supplements. 

“A sublingual oral spray or a water-based, dissolving film is a much faster and more effective delivery system,” says Moran. “Pills can contain 60% fillers, must go through stomach acid, and the ingredients are denatured and can be super slow to take effect.” 

Adding in the fact that swallowing difficulties are more common than one may realize, Moran deems old-school supplements “Victorian.”

Today, the EauLab offering consists of a tightly edited range of products under the body, sleep, gym, face, skin, hair, energy, shower and "after party" banners, all supporting its core ethos of “no-nonsense wellness.”

Drilling down, that means “clean products, fair claims, delivered through aqueous forms” devoid of such demonized ingredients as parabens, phthalates, silicones, and sulfates. 

Bestsellers in Europe, says Moran, are typically found in the brand’s face and skin categories, and include a wildly popular Caffeine Gel Booster that isn’t yet available in the States. 

Asked which EauLab product he considers especially innovative, Moran cites Polar Flex Cooling Gel, a muscle-soother designed for pre- and post-workout applications. “Cool formats intrigue me,” he says, “not only because they’re novel, but because often they are significantly better.” 

EauLab began shipping to the US in May, decking out its website with a picture of the Statue of Liberty and offering free shipping for orders over $50. 

Hot right of the gate Stateside is the brand’s solid, unscented Lotion Bar that can be used all over and deploys plant extracts to soothe skin. “The eco-credentials and nonplastic packaging format seem to strike a chord with the US consumer, especially females,” Moran notes.

Also quickly gaining ground in America are the brand’s water-based, dissolvable-film Sleep Strips. “This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest,” says Moran. “Chronic sleep deprivation is widespread.”

Although EauLab offers just a single product per some of its categories, such as Energy and After Party, Moran sees value in attempting to be one-stop shopping for brand fans. 

“We see an overwhelmed and fatigued consumer,” he says. “We see it in Europe, and we most definitely see it in the US. More and more products are being introduced, and at a faster rate, than ever seen before. And the what’s hot/what’s not trend cycle is speeding up.” 

And down the road, Moran isn’t ruling out a return to EauLab’s original roots.

“If one of the big beverage companies approached us to collab on a functional water range, akin to a next-gen Vitamin Water, I’d do it in a heartbeat,” he says. “I still believe there’s massive potential in that space.”


2 Article(s) Remaining

Subscribe today for full access