In a timely Glossy Beauty Podcast episode for the height of summer, this week features a category that has blown up in beauty: sunscreen. Long gone are the days when options were limited to a handful of brands like Coppertone and Hawaiian Tropic. Recently, a wide range of chic new sunscreen labels have been hitting the market, while skin-care brands are churning out new SPF product launches.
One of these hip new brands is 1-year-old Dune Suncare, which uses a colorful, nostalgic aesthetic to appeal to both men and women across all age groups. This week’s episode features the brand’s co-founders, Emily Doyle, an event production and marketing pro, and Mei Kwok, who also produces events and performs as a highly sought-after DJ. The founders have created a cool factor for the brand by working with luxury hotels, including QR codes to Kwok’s playlists in its packaging and shooting campaigns with top fashion photographers. But its distribution plan is all about accessibility, with a focus on scaling through wholesale partners including Amazon and Ulta Beauty.
On making sunscreen stylish
MK: “We knew we really wanted a clean aesthetic. We both love really clean brands, such as Saturdays New York. … And we worked with the Javas Lehn Studio, which is the design studio that worked on Saturdays. And the benchmarks that we gave were: It needed to be unisex and it needed to be clean. And we love the surfboard aesthetic, but we also wanted to give a nod to nostalgia, which is why we chose our drug oval bottle, which kind of gives you that old Coppertone nostalgic [feeling]. And our neon Dune sign is also very retro. [Javas Lehn Studio] nailed it — hit it out of the park — and we love it. Everyone that sees it is so enticed by the bottle and the colorways.”
On not having a target demographic
ED: “When we started our fundraise, we were meeting with a ton of VC groups prior to launch, and the predominant number of them said, ‘Who are you speaking to? You really have to stay in your lane. You have to pick one generation or two. You have to be Gen Z and millennial, or you can speak mainly to women.’ And we said, ‘Absolutely not. We’re going to stick to our guns here. We want to speak to as wide an audience as possible.’”
On suncare vs skin care
ED: “We consider ourselves to be a suncare brand. We are creating SPF products that are infused with amazing good-for-you skin-care benefits. When we talk to investors, they see the whole category as, ‘There are so many SPF options available for the consumer to buy.’ But we see the category as really tiny, compared to, say, the beauty and skin-care space. And that’s because, in America, SPF is considered an OTC product. So you have to go through extensive and rigorous testing to be able to be compliant against FDA guidelines, unlike beauty and skin care, unless it has an SPF claim. So from that perspective, it’s really time-consuming and really expensive to start an SPF product from zero.”