Originally published by Kara Goldin on LinkedIn: Why Would a Beverage Exec Launch a Sunscreen? To Solve a Personal Problem
I run a multimillion-dollar business that sells unsweetened, flavored water to the likes of major retailers like Whole Foods, Target, and BevMo. My flagship product, Hint Water, has the majority share of the unsweetened flavored water market. A month ago, I did something you won’t find in the playbook of any beverage-industry CEO: I launched a sunscreen. Some people have been asking, why on earth would I do such a thing?
The short answer? I couldn’t find one that I wanted.
Almost twelve years ago, I created Hint Water because I couldn’t find anything on the market quite like it. After discovering that my Diet Coke habit was the culprit in all sorts of personal health issues, I searched high and low for a water with just a little bit of real fruit flavor with no sugar or diet sweeteners. It turned out that nothing of the sort existed… so I made one myself.
My journey to launch hint sunscreen spray has in many ways mirrored that experience. I wanted a sunscreen for myself that was free of oxybenzone and parabens—two suspect chemical ingredients commonly found in sunscreen. I also wanted a sunscreen that smelled GREAT—not like a piña colada. And that felt great when applied—not sticky, itchy, or greasy. Moreover, I wanted a single sunscreen that did all the above and WORKED. I looked everywhere from grocery stories to pharmacies to specialty stores, and it was shocking how hard it was find all of these things in one bottle. So I decided to make one myself.
Some of the biggest businesses were started to solve a personal problem. While problem-solving is at the root of every business, having a personal stake in the development of your product or service can really give you the passion and drive it needs to succeed. For me, that stake was my health.
For a long time, I never thought twice about what I was putting on my skin. I have had pre-cancer cells on my face, and after many visits to the dermatologist, I discovered that when I used skincare products or cosmetics containing oxybenzone, these cells would grow. Although there is not a clear position on oxybenzone, some studies have shown that oxybenzone may enhance pre-cancer cells. For me, it turns out that it appears that oxybenzone caused stuff to grow so I stopped using it. Meanwhile, parabens, a category of preservatives commonly used in sunscreen, have been linked to hormone disruption and breast cancer. I don’t know about you but trading skin cancer for breast cancer was not a deal I wanted to make.
Once I found an effective SPF solution that would eliminate these ingredients, I had to make sure it felt awesome —I used to itch when I put on sunscreens that contained minerals or zinc. So we devised a formula that goes on silky smooth in a fine, continuous mist and dries fast. We will be coming out with a sunscreen stick by summer too.
The best part? It smells damn delightful. We used the same natural fruit essences that we use in hint water to give hint sunscreen spray a DELICIOUS and subtle fragrance (currently pineapple, grapefruit, or pear). Not surprisingly, the amazing scent is all people have been talking about.
At the end of the day, I consider myself a consumer advocate. I care about health and helping consumers get the healthiest product they can—without sacrificing enjoyment. So far, that’s been a delicious water with no sweeteners and an SPF that smells like heaven, but there’s no telling what’s next.
If you want to try my new sunscreen spray, through June 1, 2017, you can get three sunscreen sprays for just $60 (a $72 value); enter code HINTSUN at checkout. Give it a shot and tell me what you think—I’m always looking for consumer feedback!
Kara Goldin is the founder and CEO of San Francisco–based Hint Water, which produces the leading flavored water with no sweeteners and nothing artificial. Now, they have added my new sunscreen spray to the mix. I founded www.The KaraNetwork.com to tell the stories of entrepreneurs and founders.