Billy Boulos, co-founder of LifeJacket Skin Protection, talks to us about his firm and why his sights are set on the larger image.
Tell us the story behind what you are promoting?
Three of us created LifeJacket after seeing various shut, male mates expertise completely different cancers at a younger age. Jono, one other LifeJacket co-founder, was one in every of them. During this time, we found that just about two males die of pores and skin most cancers for each one lady. This knowledge level is never spoken about, and the World Health Organisation predicts male pores and skin most cancers incidence will double over the following 20 years. It’s straightforward to suppose you’re invincible in your 30s and 40s however so many younger males round us had been getting unwell, we determined to attempt to do one thing about this extremely preventable type of most cancers.
Our founder-mission is to cease males getting pores and skin most cancers however as a model, we would like guys to take life exterior and take care of their pores and skin whereas they do it. That’s a much more uplifting and optimistic manifestation of what we’re attempting to attain.
Our key message focuses on why on a regular basis safety is vital. UV is an invisible type of radiation emitted by the solar (and tanning beds). UV-A specifically reaches your pores and skin each single day and in equal measure all year long. It even goes by way of glass. Winter or summer time, cloudy or clear, UV causes a variety of pores and skin harm from wrinkles by way of to pores and skin most cancers. Putting that into numbers, UV is chargeable for 80% of untimely pores and skin ageing and 90% of melanoma pores and skin cancers.
What does your function within the firm include?
In my 20s I labored for an funding financial institution within the mergers and acquisitions facet of the enterprise. I then joined a FTSE 250 alcoholics drinks firm the place I had a number of roles throughout finance, technique, advertising and marketing and gross sales.
Jono and Rob, the 2 different co-founders, each labored on this planet of beauty elements and formulation chemistry. At LifeJacket, all of us put on a number of hats as a result of we’re a small crew, however I’d say most of my efforts are centered on model, advertising and marketing and industrial alternatives/partnerships.
What units you aside out of your competitors?
To the very best of our information, there aren’t every other manufacturers making pores and skin safety merchandise solely for males. In attempting to get males to guard themselves all year-round, we all know we have to take away all excuses males have and handle every of their ‘ache factors’. Our beauty formulations are light-weight, non-greasy, swipe simply by way of hair and don’t odor of coconuts. We provide UPF 50+ clothes for many who don’t wish to continuously apply stuff onto their pores and skin. We promote sachets for many who want portability and all our smaller tubes and Sun Stick have all been designed to be pocket pleasant.
In addition, we take detection as significantly as safety and shaped a partnership with SkinImaginative and prescient. We provide all our clients one thing no different model does. Anybody who buys by way of our web site will get free 7-day limitless entry to SkinImaginative and prescient, a telephone app you utilize to take pictures of moles and marks in your pores and skin. The app makes use of synthetic intelligence to check pores and skin spots and moles with hundreds of thousands of photographs of identified pores and skin cancers. The app then offers you an instantaneous danger rating to assist detect downside areas at an early stage and advises when you ought to search skilled assist.
How has enterprise been in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic?
On the one hand, individuals have been caught at dwelling and on their telephones, so we’ve been in a position to seize extra consideration. On the opposite hand, pores and skin safety is low on individuals’s checklist of priorities throughout a world pandemic, particularly after they can’t journey, socialise, train or be exterior extra usually. We’ve stored plugging away and have managed to do effectively however bodily sampling is unattainable and several other retail alternatives have been closed off.
How do you see your market evolving over the following few years?
Cosmetics elements are continuously being scrutinised for his or her impression on human security and the atmosphere. This is the regulatory atmosphere we stay in. From a client perspective, we’d hope that male centered media begin to discuss to males concerning the harm UV causes every day (simply as Vogue et al have been telling ladies for the previous 20 years). This would possibly make males’s SPF moisturisers extra of a mainstay/routine product.
What’s the toughest factor about operating a enterprise?
Building model consciousness from scratch and fixed rejection.
What have been the largest challenges you’ve confronted?
Managing inventory is fairly tense. Having an excessive amount of is a drain on money however residing with the continued danger of being out of inventory and managing uncooked supplies/manufacturing (each of which will be on 10-12 week lead instances) has been actually robust.
What’s the very best choice you’ve made to this point?
Working with the charity, Melanoma UK.
If you might return and alter one factor, what would it not be?
As a direct-to-consumer enterprise, our web site is the engine room for all the pieces we do. Each week, it must be modified, up to date or maintained. I’d in all probability have engineered it otherwise from the beginning however sadly, you solely know what you want when you’re up and operating.
What has been your proudest achievement to this point?
The optimistic suggestions we get day by day on merchandise we’ve made with our ‘personal arms’. Each time a buyer comes again to purchase extra, we’re completely delighted.
What are your hopes for what you are promoting within the subsequent 5 years?
Our mission is to cease males getting pores and skin most cancers. Almost two males die for each one lady. And there’s additionally a disparity in precise incidence ranges between women and men. We’d like to see the graph traces coming down as our message reaches extra individuals, and extra males shield themselves every day. With any luck, that must also equate to development for LifeJacket as a consequence.