My Best Advice: Paul Woelbing

Paul Woelbing (Jake Hill Photography)

Paul Woelbing


Carma Laboratories Inc.


Industry: Lip care products

Employees: 225

“I went to Franklin High School … and I was big on art. I was an art nerd. I spent all my time in the art studio and my teacher … told me, ‘Why don’t you think about going into art education for your career?’

Paul Woelbing (Jake Hill Photography)

“I taught for 10 years at two terrific private schools on the East Coast and then finally Whitefish Bay High School here. In the late ’80s, early ’90s I started thinking, maybe they could use me in the family business.

“In some ways, the art education was the perfect prep for my job. I don’t know anybody’s job here as well as they do it … what gives me an advantage and what has been helpful to me is having taught for 10 years. Teachers are very good at putting their own egos on hold and building other people up.

“I think looking backwards if I knew I was going to wind up here I probably would have availed myself to some of the business classes at UW-Madison … but in some ways, I think I did it just right for my position.

“If you just go to college and you learn how to think and you learn how to be creative, you’ll probably do just fine.

“(Going into art education) really influenced the direction my life took and really how I operate the company and really, how I operate in my life in general. Just be creative; don’t be afraid to think differently.”

Age: 63

Professional experience: Woelbing holds a bachelor’s in art education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Fine Arts from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. After 10 years of teaching art, he joined Carma Laboratories, the company behind the Carmex brand of lip balm. His grandfather Alfred Woelbing started the company, and Paul is the third generation to lead the business.

In the news: Under Woelbing’s leadership, Carma Labs has been shifting from an emphasis on its role as a manufacturer to focus on its position as a brand. The latest addition to the brand’s lineup is SuperCran, a natural lip butter that uses Wisconsin cranberries to help moisturize lips.


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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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