When you’re in the sun protection business, getting the Seal of Recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation is considered the ultimate nod of approval. That’s just what happened recently with Solbari, a Melbourne, Australia-based brand that sells apparel, accessories, lotions and sunscreens to protect against the harmful rays of the sun.
The group provided the Seal to Solbari’s Sensitive, Active and Coolasun collections, which together represent nearly 80 percent of the brand’s apparel offering.
Solbari was founded six years ago by Jo Young who is passionate about keeping people safe when they’re outside. In her home country, she said, two out of every three people will develop skin cancer in their lifetimes. And in the U.S., it’s one in five.
So she created Solbari, a direct-to-consumer brand that offers more than 100 products for men and women featuring fabrics with UPF 50-plus protection that lasts for the life of the garment. “It’s the equivalent of wearing SPF 50 all day,” she said.
Among the bestselling items are long-sleeve polos for men and women — a product that has become a signature for the brand — along with broad-brim hats that protect the face, neck and ears. New this season are leggings, driving gloves and loose-fit tops made from organic cotton and bamboo.
Women represent 70 percent of Solbari’s customer base now but men are starting to get the message, too, Young said, as they pay more attention to their skin and seek out protection while they’re on the golf course, hiking or at the beach.
The U.S. has now grown to become Solbari’s largest market and the company operates an office in Carlsbad, Calif. And although the business is nearly all online now, Young said her goal is create a wholesale business with specialty stores in the outdoor and active communities.
But beyond that, her life’s mission is to educate as many people as possible that they can look great while outdoors and still be protected. ”I have a background in finance, and I enjoyed that, but 90 percent of skin aging is caused by sun exposure,” she said. “Those stats shocked me and I felt like my calling in life is to help people and eradicate this disease.”