How surfer Mathew Collet is turning Solar D and Vitamin D into a booming business.
Vitamin D has a vexing problem. It’s incredibly important for bone development and its deficiency has been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression and weight gain. Vitamin D is so important for your body’s normal functioning that your body makes it by itself. But, and here’s the kicker, only after your skin is exposed to sufficient sunlight.
Now we all know that too much sunlight increases your risk of skin cancer, of which Australia unfortunately leads the world, recording the highest incidence and mortality rates of melanoma in the world, according to Australia’s Department of Health and Ageing. The risk of developing melanoma for an Aussie guy before the age of 75 is an astounding 1 in 24.
So the problem is how do you get the sufficient sunlight to produce Vitamin D, but not increase your risk of skin cancer in the melanoma capital of the world? Where 99.9% of people saw a paradoxical problem, keen surfer Mattew Collet and his business partner saw an opportunity.
Enter Solar D, a sunscreen that uses unique and patented Select UVB filtering technology that allows some of the light that our bodies may use to make vitamin D, while providing SPF 50 broad-spectrum sun protection. So you can stay in the sun, get the sunlight your body needs to make all-important Vitamin D, not get burnt and keep your risk of skin cancer low. It’s a win-win.
“It’s a world first,” says Solar D’s Mat. “The thing is, most sunscreens are pretty much the same thing. This is different. It’s a unique product. It has benefits beyond what other sunscreens offer.”
Mathew and his surfer business partner saw this opportunity when they coincidentally met the inventor, several years ago. They snapped up the rights and began producing Solar D, here in Oz. It was a challenging journey but now with Solar D sold through Woolworths, Priceline, Target, IGA, Soul Pattersons, Amcal and Chemart, the product is gaining traction fast.
And the hardest part of starting a new business? “The most challenging element was educating the general public that this is a completely different product. Pretty much every sunscreen is the same, with different packaging. To get into people’s minds that Solcar D is a different product was very challenging and it still is.”
Mathew chose to invest in brand ambassadors to help build trust in the brand and further awareness. Solar D now boasts Guy Sebastian, Brett Lee and ironman Matt Poole as brand ambassadors and advocates.
“The thing is”, says Mat, “Our reputation for being ‘a sunburnt country” gives us the illusion that we would be getting plenty of vitamin D, but in fact statistics show that (surprisingly) 1 in 3 Australians are Vitamin D deficient, something that many experts believe to be attributed to us shunning the sun. As we’re always told to cover up, we’re missing all the crucial health benefits that the sun provides us.”