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September 30, 2022
We’ve been busy bees over here at SB HQ getting all our products ready for you ahead of the delightful Summer season - woohoo! We’re excited to have the warm sun on our bodies whilst out adventuring with friends and family, protected by SunButter, of course.
As we reflect on the journey we’ve had so far, and look forward to the adventures ahead, we decided to share some behind the scenes insights into what it’s like to be at the helm of SunButter Skincare.
What circumstances led you to get the idea for SunButter Skincare? / What was the tipping point in starting SunButter Skincare? / What made you decide to start the company?
Sacha. Learning about the harmful effects chemical sunscreen was having on coral reefs and not having any alternative products in stores led me to making my own. The recipe started out as Christmas presents in 2016. The business starting was actually all thanks to Tom and my brother Miles. They saw the potential and lifted the vision from there.
Tom. I think seeing so many misleading products claiming to be “reef safe” but being full of some of the worst ingredients for ocean health, as well as all of them being in plastic packaging.
You first started with your SunButter SPF50 Reef Safe Original, now you have a range of 8 products… What is your absolute favourite product and why?
Sacha. That’s like trying to make a parent choose their favourite child! Each of our products has it’s own talents and shines in different situations, so I use different ones at different times. But if you had to twist my arm, I would say I just love our Tinted SPF50 Reef Safe Sunscreen and our Boab, Wattle and Kelp Face Oil. They’ve changed my skin for the better and I’ll always be grateful to them.
Tom. For me it's The Original SPF50 or the Surf Zinc. The surf zinc especially is so good! Long lasting, sticky but easy to apply.
What’s the mission behind the brand?
Sacha. Protecting People & the Planet is our mantra, and it’s what we strive for on and off the field. Therefore, creating SunButter naturally evolved as an extension of our passion and values for caring for our community and the natural world.
Tom. Protecting People & the Planet. Every company decision we make stemmed from this viewpoint.
How would you describe SunButter’s success so far?
Sacha. Incredible. We are so proud of SunButter and what it has achieved to date. It’s a testament to the amazing community of support we have, from our Exmouth community who helped launch the very first tins, to our growing customer base who rep SunButter around the country.
Tom. It's wild. Australia’s first plastic packaging free sunscreen,. Australia’s first vegan surf zinc. The WORLD’s first certified palm oil free sunscreen. All managed thanks to our epic customers and community.
What are you most proud of from the journey so far? What has been the highlight?
Sacha. Honestly, the fact that Tom and I have been able to run a successful start-up and now Nationwide company, whilst learning on the fly, and still finding time to have fun, be adventurous, and not stop loving and appreciating each other. That’s no mean feat.
Tom. All Sash said :-) (plus our world first - thats super cool!)
What has been the biggest challenge?
Sacha. Two of our biggest challenges that stand out because of the sheer grit, perseverance and unwavering commitment required to overcome them were:
1. Finding a manufacturer to package sunscreen in aluminium tins not plastic tubes - because it had never been done in Australia before.
2. Becoming certified palm oil free by bringing certain products in-house and securing a palm oil free supply chain.
These seemingly small tasks took us 2 and 3 years respectively.
Tom. Navigating a global pandemic was a pretty challenging ride too. But again, that amazing community came out to support our brand and products.
In what way (ways) are you a different person/people today because of starting SunButter Skincare?
Sacha. SunButter has stretched us enormously as individuals and professionals. We have loved the experience of bringing a valued product to life and seeing how running a for-purpose business can positively impact the environment and communities.
Tom. Sash has put it beautifully, as usual. I think SunButter has really helped with that long term view in life, planning and thinking ahead, these sorts of things. We started out with a “oh it’s Christmas in a couple of weeks” approach, I like to think we’re a bit better now.
Name the top two or three lessons you’ve learned from your experience
When you’re not being busy bees at SunButter HQ, what will we find you doing with your free time?
Sacha. Surfing, freediving, embroidering, hiking.
Tom. Surfing, looking for birds/wildlife, drinking tea/eating cake, hiking, and then surfing some more.
Who or what inspires you the most?
Sacha. The ocean, and nature in general. It's my first aid box, my inspiration, my joy machine, my place to recalibrate and recentre.
Tom. Sacha - a huge inspiration and incredible human. Compassionate and kind almost to a fault. The ocean is pretty good too ;-)
How do you see SunButter developing over the next few years?
Sacha. We love the organic process of SunButter. We believe that to be truly sustainable it is important to embrace the slow and steady. Our business model is to remain sovereign over our decisions and therefore Tom and I are the sole owners in the company. This means it’s unlikely we’ll be skyrocketing into the global market in the next 6 months, instead we’ll be happily continuing to enjoy the journey of spreading the butter across Australia and adding a few new delicious products to the range.
Tom. I can’t add much more to what Sacha has so beautifully said. Slow and steady. Necessity over profiteering. Keep our integrity and purpose at the forefront.
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