Behind The Brand: Bondi Zinc

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posted by James Willmott

Australia. Our own backyard full of sun, surf, exploration and also, the home to some of the world’s strongest UV rays.

Sun protection is no joke, and that’s where the team at Bondi Zinc come into play. Owned and operated by two of Bondi Beach’s very own lifeguards, the brand provides superior sun safety to anyone spending countless in the sun, to give our healthy skins a break from the somewhat harsh environment. With the product testing grounds literally on hand every single day, the guys have heavily researched and ironed out the kinks many other labels seem to lack, bringing the highest quality of sun protection to the marketplace.

We caught up with Daniel Mclaughlin & Michael Jenkinson, the lifeguards and brain children behind the operation to talk more about their product itself, how far they’ve come since humble beginnings and much more.

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What’s your role at the company?
Daniel Mclaughlin & Michael Jenkinson, we are both professional lifeguards at Bondi so starting a sunscreen company was very new to both of us. We do everything, we have basically taught ourselves how to run a sunscreen company. I (Daniel) even make Michael’s lunch sometimes which can be tricky as he is very picky.

Where are you based?
We both grew up and are based in Bronte, which is in the Eastern suburbs located in Sydney.

Describe your workspace…
Besides Bondi Zinc we are both professional lifeguards, so that workspace is heaps better than the computers that we find ourselves sitting at while doing what’s required for the sunscreen. 

Walk us through a typical day at the HQ?
First thing check our emails which can set a course for the days actions, update our social media handles then the important stuff, a surf or off to the gym. Then we will go check on our local stockists. We generally chase up new business too, like talking to distributors. Being a new brand, we have lots of interest from various angles wanting to know a bit more of what we are about. Lots of emails for the rest of the day then follows. I’m not sure if I’m the biggest fan of it, though the only plus is I can deal with it while I’m at the beach …. Product testing of course…

Describe your Design team in 3 words…
Slip slop slap!

Why zinc?
Let me just put my white coat on…. The formula we use contains either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as the main preservative, which are physical blockers that reflect and scatter UV radiation. They have generally been considered safer and more effective than the chemical absorber based products. They are also better for sensitive skin and renowned for their broad-spectrum UV blocking abilities.

Describe how the product first came to life? From dreaming big to seeing the finished product?
It all came about when a few of the lifeguards and some of our mates booked a boat trip to the Mentawis and I thought I’d be a good bloke and go get some zinc … The one I wanted turned out to be $42 for 30ml… I’m not stingy or anything, I just couldn’t work out why it was so expensive! So I went the chemist and found a tube which was half the price and when I read the back it wasn’t too different to the $42 tube. I looked into it a bit more did some research, saw an opportunity and took it.  As lifeguards we spend more time in the sun than anyone else and we know what are good products, so we approached a few laboratories and got a formula. We wanted to delivery top quality suncare at an affordable price, and that’s exactly what we are doing. Seeing how far we have come to this point is a really good feeling, we have challenged ourselves in an very unfamiliar area and the future looks positive which is great.

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Talk us through your favorite product from your range.
It has to be the Bondi Zinc bronze tinted SPF 50, 4 hours water resistant product. For us who are in the sun all day, in and out of the water it’s the best. It has to be in our job.

What beats will we hear blasting through the office?
Triple J for sure.

What differentiates your brand from other brands?
We designed our sunscreens for us… Lifeguards. We use it every day and I really think that’s a great test considering how much time we are exposed to the sun. Our packaging gets a lot of praise, we think it has lots of shelf presents and stands out from the rest.

Do you work with certain riders to produce collaborations/signature products?
Well we noticed that Taj kind of looks like he has had a little too much sun ‘ always ‘ haha! We know he surfs all day long so we got him on board, he has joined the Bondi Zinc team and will be working together on all things sunscreen. He is a real asset and we are stoked to have him on board right there at the helm with us.

How does the team unwind on a Friday afternoon?
We leave out different exits and meet at the bar at the Bucket List at Bondi, we don’t talk to each other till at least the second beer.

What do you get up to outside of work?
Besides working at the beach? Actually we go to the beach a lot.

What’s next for the Bondi Zinc?
Good question! We are working to really establish ourselves in what is a flooded market. We actively test all our own products and will only pick the best to make the Bondi Zinc range, so the future for the brand is absolutely quality products. Try them for yourself and you’ll see what we are on about!

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