In high school, he wanted chemistry to spark in every kiss, but he had chapped, sunburned lips from his sporting activities.
South Jordan native Dallas Robinson wanted to be able to continue participating in extreme sports without chapped lips getting in the way of his dating life. His idea was a unique lip balm that encouraged kissing and relieved dry lips.
Four years later, while taking business management classes at UVU, Robinson and Mike Buonomo created the product Kisstixx, a unique lip balm. The composition blends two flavors, creating a new zing.
“I really like Kisstixx,” said Sarah Gibbons, American studies major, and Gilbert, Ariz. native. “It’s really fun. Usually chap stick tastes gross, but this tastes surprisingly good. I don’t like it on a day-to-day basis–you usually use it for kissing. I absolutely would recommend it. It’s fun to use if you’re dating someone. It’s something you use to make kissing more fun.”
According to Kisstixx, the flavored lip balm sets combine to make new flavors. The Fire and Ice lip balm set is flavored and it feels hot and cold on the lips; when combined it creates a tingling sensation.
“The Kisstixx experience is very fun, memorable and anyone can relate,” Buonomo said. “It’s for anyone who wants to enjoy a kiss.”
Robinson and Buonomo experienced lip-smacking success through online and retail store sales, earning $80,000 since their founding in June 2010. While selling alarms to earn money, they stood in line for nine hours with about 5,000 other companies and pitched to a screen writer, procuring a chance to appear on NBC’s show “Shark Tank.”
On the show, Buonomo and Robinson sought more distribution, greater brand awareness and $200K investment. They were able to persuade and secure an investment with self-made billionaire investor, Mark Cuban.
Asked about the Shark Tank experience, Buonomo said, “It was the most nerve-racking thing I have ever done but it was also a good learning experience and very fun.”
Buonomo and Robinson have dreamed of being entrepreneurs for years.
“We’ve always wanted to do something that was our own idea,” Buonomo said. “We’ve both known since we were teenagers that entrepreneurship was something we wanted to excel in.”
Buonomo credited their success to the UVU student incubation program and mentoring from Dr. Peter Robinson. Asked about his mentoring, Dr. Robinson praised the Kisstixx partnership.
“When they first came in, I was impressed by their humility,” Dr. Robinson said. “I laid out some basic things, but what they did with it and their success is all theirs. They are willing to put it all on the line.”
From the business’ beginnings, the families of Buonomo and Robinson have also been supportive.
“From the very beginning my wife, parents, brothers and sisters have all said, ‘We know you can do it’ and they’ve put some amount of faith in me that they know we could do it,” Buonomo said.
According to Buonomo, entrepreneurship is risky and requires hope and dedication.
“We always dreamed really big so we knew we would get here,” said Buonomo. “There’s a point where you have to jump all in or don’t do it at all. Make it work. Put everything you have in it–Eat, sleep and dream about your business.”
Kisstixx is an innovative product that has caught students’ attention.
“Their idea is something very new and unique,” said Dane Andersen, a navigator for Social Venture Academy, a BYU group that creates social ventures. “It appeals to a wide audience. They took a new and unique twist to something everyone uses.”
Kisstixx founders hope to continue innovating. Buonomo said their upcoming products will include mix and match kissing products such as breath spray “kissmist” and gum.
“We want to build this company as big as we possibly can,” Buonomo said.