Episode #43

Katonya Breaux from UnSun Cosmetics

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In this episode of Beyond the Inbox, Katonya Breaux, the founder of Unsun Cosmetics, shares the story behind her sunscreen brand designed specifically for people of color. The conversation begins with Katonya recounting her personal experience with sun damage and the misconceptions she discovered among the black community regarding the necessity of sunscreen. This personal experience sparked her interest in developing a sunscreen product that caters to people of color.

The conversation shifts to the educational aspect of Unsun Cosmetics. Katonya explains how she leverages podcasts, social media, and partnerships with organizations like the Melanoma Research Foundation to raise awareness about the importance of sunscreen for people of color. She underlines the significance of debunking the myth that melanin-rich skin does not need sunscreen protection.

Katonya discusses the initial challenges of acquiring customers and how her first retail partnership solidified the business. She also shares the evolution of the brand since its launch in 2016, including the expansion of product lines from one to 11 skus across two lines.

Unsun Cosmetics' commitment to using clean mineral-based sunscreens is a core part of the brand's vision that has remained unchanged. Katonya explains the differences between mineral and chemical sunscreens, advocating for the safety and environmental benefits of mineral-based products.

In terms of marketing, Katonya admits that convincing people of color about the need for sunscreen and explaining the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreens can be challenging. Her approach emphasizes authenticity, education, and the importance of wearing sunscreen, regardless of the brand.

The conversation also covers the brand's marketing strategies, including their use of email, SMS, community events, and a unique "gorilla marketing" approach. Katonya shares their upcoming billboard campaign "Don't Get Ghosted by Your Sunscreen," aimed at increasing brand awareness.

Katonya highlights the challenges she has faced as a founder, particularly in securing funding. Despite these challenges, Unsun Cosmetics continues to grow, with plans to launch a new SPF 50 product by the end of the year.

The episode concludes with Katonya sharing her insights on the concept of community, the importance of direct engagement with customers, and the future plans for Unsun Cosmetics. She emphasizes that the mission of Unsun Cosmetics is not just about selling a product, but about educating and making a positive impact in the beauty industry.

Read the transcript:

  • (01:54): Katonya shares her personal experience with sun damage and how it led her to develop a sunscreen brand.
  • (02:43): Sam asks Katonya about the educational aspect of her business.
  • (03:30): Sam inquires about acquiring the first customer and the feeling associated with it.
  • (04:01): Discussion on how the brand has evolved since its launch in 2016.
  • (05:03): Katonya speaks about the challenges of marketing a sunscreen brand to people of color.
  • (06:16): The conversation moves to the methods of educating customers about the importance of sunscreen.
  • (07:48): Sam asks about Katonya's direct engagement with customers.
  • (09:26): Discussion on the lack of awareness about sun damage among people.
  • (09:37): Katonya explains the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreens.
  • (13:12): The discussion moves to the topic of subscription services for their products.
  • (14:09): Katonya shares their marketing strategies during non-summer months.
  • (15:07): Discussion on the effectiveness of SMS marketing for the brand.
  • (15:59): Katonya shares her view on the concept of community.
  • (16:48): Katonya highlights the challenges she has faced as a founder, particularly in terms of funding.
  • (19:32): Discussion on the growth and future plans of the business.
  • (20:10): Katonya talks about their new billboard campaign.
  • (21:09): Katonya shares about their new product launch and future initiatives.
  • (22:01): Katonya shares where listeners can learn more about Unsun Cosmetics.