We began in 1981 with introduction of Burn-Off. A Texas company, we challenged immediately, and out-sold, Solarcaine, the then-reigning brand for sunburn relief. We were the first ever to create and market aerosol aloe, and were responsible for making popular the "green" and "blue" aloe products every sunblock company makes today. Anyone who's been in the business 20 years or more remembers "The Green Stuff". That was ours.
We created and sold Aloe Gator, did the global launch and distribution for several years for Aloe Up, Saurus Sport, Ironman Sunblock, Xterra Sunblock, Rubber Ducky children's sunblock, WaterBlock, (sold in Australia/New Zealand), Block & Tackle sportfishing sunblock, Slopes winter sports sunblock, and Pro Sport (sold in UK).
Moving to Sunblock technology, we were the first sunscreen company in history to go above SPF #15, 20, 25, 30 and 40. We were the first drug company in the U.S. to go completely paba-free with formulations: 1984, years ahead of competition. We were the first to create a true waterproof system, in the mid 1980's. Having sold formulations to Johnson & Johnson, we were 5-6 years ahead of all major pharmaceutical makers in the industry, techonology-wise.
We made the Inc. 500 (top 500 privately held companies in America) in 1986 (#94), the first "suntan" company to do that and one of only a handful of small pharmaceutical companies to do that. We sold the company in 1987. The category buyer at Wal-Mart told me we were the only company in the category for 5 years running, who never late-shipped, short-shipped or back-ordered them. Important information on a small company, since selling to the majors, supply is a serious issue.
We re-entered the business in 1990, having continued with formulation and development and coming up in late 1989 with a water-based, waterproof sunblock we knew would be better than anything we had created previously. Always sports-oriented with our products, we launched the nation's first "sports only" sunscreens.
Having developed some new highly waterproof technology, we contacted AMA testing labs in 1991 and asked them to create for us a true 8 hour waterproof test that would exceed any standards the FDA might set, if they had such a test. The test was created and we submitted our SPF #30. It went through at SPF #35.83?what was more interesting was that at the beginning of the test, it rated the same: the first and only formulation ever to go through a waterproof test with 100% function and zero washoff. Dave Winne, General Manager of AMA Labs told me Gabe the owner exclaimed "that's impossible: we made an error", and they re-ran the test at their own expense:
same results, on different people, and we rank #1 today in waterproof technology.
Neutrogena offered us $1 million for our SPF #30 formulation alone.
In 1996, we introduced the SPF #44 product and it also went through the test with 100% function/zero wash-off.
We continued with "sports only"and made 8 brands of sunscreen, 7 for sports, one for children and one specialty line called RADX, for patients with cancer.
The introduction of RADX is a long and interesting story: the summary is that we had been making for years, Marine Sting to treat jellyfish and Portuguese Man-of-War stings. When Steve's brother was diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer and submitted to a severe battery of radiation, he sustained burning and major irritation, called radiation reaction.
Upon request, we produced another batch of Marine Sting, sent it in and it wowed the doctors so much at both MD Anderson and Johns Hopkins, that one of the nurses there suggested the cancer community was lacking something like this "if only you could name it something that sounds like cancer and get rid of the jellyfish on the label". RADX came from that conversation. We can tell you that as a small company battling the billion dollar drug companies, all of whom in our opinion and those of many we encountered along the way, had inferior products to RADX, it takes major effort and commitment, and many years of financial losses, to put RADX in front of the cancer patients and their oncology nurses. The efforts continue today.
Vendor permits (DSD locating near cancer treatment centers) have been assigned to us by Walgreen, Rite-Aid, McKesson, Long's, Target, Wal-Mart, and several are progressing through the approval process with several majors. At issue here is that, since RADX is a specialty item, the first of its kind, there is not a department that buys or markets this, so each chain is dealing with it differently. Further, not many people just go into a store looking for products specifically for cancer patients, so we and the pharmacies are working to stock RADX in the retail stores nearby the cancer centers?not something the mass marketers are used to.
Of interest to anyone familiar with mass markets: we didn't present any of these majors: simply sent product, story, explanation, and they called back and approved us. In 27 years in the business, I've never seen, nor heard of obtaining approvals like this; confirmation that we have a major potential success with RADX, and from the testimonial e-mails we receive, the product can make a significant contribution in the life of a radiation patient.
New spray on sunscreen was introduced in April, 2007, in the Golf package and quickly sold out. SolRx label of same formula, new spring 2008 and sold out at once. We think, the industry's only 8 hour waterproof spray sunscreen: it was packaged in SolRx and Golf labeling; 6 oz. and 2 oz. in custom cobalt blue bottle / silver sprayer, and utilizes our WaterBlock waterproof system.
For 2005, we elected to upgrade formulations once again, adding the widely recognized "UVA" blocker, Parsol 1789 to 3 of our formulations.
Our entire sunblock line is Paraben-Free. New RADX formulations due in for summer 2009, are all Paraben-Free.
Saurus SPF #30 lip/nose product in jar, with waterproofing system, is now Paraben-Free.
New for spring 2009, a Zinc sunscreen. We've stayed away from that for years because zinc is pasty feeling, and leaves either white, or white sheen on the skin. We brought in some Z-cote, a pretty clear version of zinc, blended it with some of our chemical sunblocks, added Waterblock waterproof system and produced a zinc sunscreen we feel is the best in the business. In Fall, 2008 we sent it through the 8 hour waterproof test and it wowed the test panel and ourselves, coming in as SPF #40! We're introducing spring 2009 as an 8 Hour Facial Clear Kote?Dry Zinc SPF #40, and then summer 2009 in a tube for application onto body. Unfgragranced.
New for 2010 will be SolRx continuous spray aerosol sunblock in our 8 hour waterproof formulations. Using Bag-on-valve technology, we insert the product into a polybag, which is molded to the valve stem, then inserted into the can. There is no propellent!! Propulsion is accomplished using only pressurized air, and none of the air mixes with product, so when you spray, only product comes out. With no harmful chemicals to impact the ozone, SolRx
Continuous Spray-Dry is simply air and waterproof sunblock.
We bring 28 years' successful sales and marketing in the sunblock category. With our first company, we had several years' successful selling into the mass category, including 5 years' successful sales to Wal-Mart. We've kept the lines short, so there is no "fat" in there. A lean, solid company, privately held, we don't need products in the line just for the sake of more items. Our philosophy is "If we can't make it better than brand x, we don't make it at all".
From a consumer's standpoint, this is super: products that will do what they say?no big hype, no supermodels or sports endorsements, just thousands of people around the world who wear these products regularly and don't sunburn.
Our goals are pretty simple: We make, and will continue to make, the most effective waterproof sunblocks in the world. We have altered our company business model for 2008 and forward, acknowledging that as a small company, we cannot possibly market the various brand names and trademarks we've created, so seek to for relationships with other successful people, to expand business. We have taken the multiple brand approach, put several brands "on the shelf" and are manufacturing only RADX for the cancer patient group, SolRx sunblock, Rubber Ducky children's SPF #44 sunblock and Slopes winter sports sunblocks.
Requests from customers in numerous international markets have produced a 10-country international distribution group, and several are in discussions with us now. We've actually customized labeling in UK and Australia (and Canada?distributor there in place and awaiting formal Health Canada approvals for importation), and are in position to offer dual labeling for any/all international distributors who need this in order to accommodate languages. RADX is now approved in Jordan, Dubai, and will get TGA approval for Australia, thereby admitting it into NZ, targeting 2010.
For 2009, we expect to be manufacturing under contract, in-country in Australia.
If you have an interest in joining the business, please reach Steve.
Steve and Lisha Finley