Back in 2014, Katonya Breaux was inspired to create a better sunscreen when she noticed the lack of clean and effective options for people of color.
After nearly two years of experimenting, she founded Unsun Cosmetics, a company that produces mineral-based, tinted sunscreen products that can be found in more than 5,000 CVSs nationwide, and is raved about by the editors of Allure magazine.
“I became obsessed with sunscreen!” Katonya shares.
Katonya began testing out the different products on the market, and quickly realized what she did and didn’t like.
“I saw what was out there, and most of it was chemical-based,” Katyona says. “I hated the smell, and it burned my eyes. [The mineral ones] left me looking gray or lavender, and it was a really frustrating journey for me.”Don't miss an episode! Subscribe to Shopify Masters.
She wanted something tinted that wouldn’t leave behind a white residue, but would still have all the positive benefits of a mineral sunblock.
After learning the ropes and finding a chemist that could make her ideal mineral sunscreen, Katonya set out to share her creation with the world.
A huge reason behind starting her business was to be able to educate her community on the harsh effects sun damage can have on the skin.
“I wanted to inform women of color, that, yes, we absolutely do need sunscreen, and that’s really how Unsun was born,” Katonya says.
While Unsun’s mineral-tinted face sunscreen received high praise from consumers and from the press, Katonya’s team kept receiving emails from people who really wanted to protect themselves and their skin, but couldn’t afford the price.
“We decided to make an everyday line, where the price point is $17, as opposed to $29, and an untinted version that’s $14, which makes it more accessible to the customer,” Katonya says. We really wanted to have that option for people, because you shouldn’t have to resort to something that isn’t good for you because you don’t have the money.”
Katonya is changing the way Black men and women care for their skin, and she continues to innovate, counting 11 total products across her Prestige and Everyday lines.
“The key is, if you’re going to start a business, start something that really matters, start something that generates buzz, something that people want to talk about. Don’t just make another thing that’s already on the market, make it something special,” Katonya says.
Tune in to the full Shopify Masters episode to hear how Katonya formulated the ideal mineral sunscreen and managed to educate and uplift her customers, all while growing a profitable business.