Photo Credit: Jonathon Schu
Maxine Chapman & Nikki Remmel
San Diego, California, USA
Founders of SurfDurt
Years in Business: 3+ Years
What inspired you to start SurfDurt? We already had the product, we were making it for ourselves to not be part of the coral reef decline problem. The more our friends wanted to use it and we saw what an international problem it was, it seemed sense to share it.
What is SurfDurt’s mission statement? SurfDurt makes sunscreens, done better. Better for you, your skin and the coral reefs.
How does your relationship to surfing and/or the ocean inspire you in creating/running your business? Running a company is very challenging and sometimes pretty isolating too. The ocean always connects us back to what we’re doing it for. Even when the challenges seem huge, if we’ve opened a couple people’s eyes to how their daily choices can protect our oceans, then it’s all pretty much a win from there! It’s really helpful to have your why.
How does managing SurfDurt influence your lifestyle? Building a business from scratch takes all your energy and most of your time. At least in the beginning, personal and professional life really starts to blend. In our industry its really awesome that we love the people we partner with and work around. When you start something you believe in it’s beautiful how naturally that happens.
In what ways are you striving to be a more ocean-friendly company? It’s really hard as you scale to stay ecological as you start to require more mass quantities but it’s so important to us that we do that. We wanted to do more than start a niche little business we wanted to disrupt a model that wasn’t working and prove that it can be done more sustainably and that’s really up to the consumer. If consumers continue to chose to support companies that are responsibly manufacturing than more businesses will steer their company’s in that direction. We just insist that we’re able to maintain sourcing responsibly, avoiding first use plastic and teaching awareness.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of your business? We’re so excited about the sustainable beeswax program we get to work with. For awhile we were on the fence about using beeswax and we were considering options to go vegan but it was hard to do that without inviting in synthetic chemicals, which we were also trying to steer away from but we found an amazing program for sustainably manufacturing beeswax and it actually helps the bee population. We get to partner with farms in five West African countries that regenerate beehives rather than over-harvesting. They are third party vetted, create and protect more bees and give a 30-40% income increase to the local farmers.
As both ocean lovers and consumers, what do you think our main priorities should be? Hard question. Vote! LOCAL as well as federal. Votes save America is a great organization for anyone who wants to volunteer to help clear up voter confusion in swing states. But voting with your dollars makes a difference too. Spend your money with companies you believe in and don’t give your money to companies you don’t. Voting against, is a powerful tool too.
What is your big vision for the future? Personally, business-related, or for our oceans. I know we’d love more work/life balance soon! But that will also come with the company’s growth because we’ll be able to hire some help soon and that’s a big part of our business goal as well. I think a key component to sustainable business is to also create sustainable jobs and more so, jobs that are fulfilling that people love. We hope we’re lucky enough to grow soon into that next step.