Tutublue entered the Shark Tank to debut their UPF 50 beach suit that protects against the sun.
We interviewed actress Sarah Buxton who came up with the idea for the company after she was diagnosed with skin cancer. She overcame the disease and is now helping fight against the sun’s harmful rays with the creation of these suits.
Here’s what she told us about…
How the Idea For the Company Came About
I came up with the idea for Tutublue because I was diagnosed with Melanoma, skin cancer, about one-and-a-half years ago. At the time, I was told that I cannot go in the sun anymore. I had surgery and once my margins were clear, I started to formulate this idea in my head. I surf and spend a lot of time in the water and on the beach with my family. I have always spent time at the beach and my dad always had a boat. I started thinking of a stylish way that I could swim, surf and play in the sun and water. I found that UPF 50 fabric blocks out 97 percent of the sun’s harmful rays so I came up with my full body suit. I have found that there are many people who are worried about the damaging effects of the sun. Also with the compromised ozone layer and the toxic effects of sunscreen, my product is very timely.
Research & Design
Lots of research went into designing the suit. I wanted it to be flattering and stylish and useful. I went through many different fabrics’ weight and density and it was very important the fabric be tested. There are a lot of products out there that say they are sun protective but may not be tested fabric. Also because I was creating a full one-piece suit that is meant to be a bathing suit alternative I need it to be light weight, cool and to dry quickly. I didn’t want it to be too hot in the summer, which it isn’t. It actually has cooling technology in the fabric. The design took many tries. I knew just what I wanted, but it needed to be adjusted several times.
My customer demographic is little girls from 4 to 13 and women from 20 to 60. People of all ages want to protect their skin. A lot of moms are so grateful to finally have something they can easily jump into when out in the sun with their kids. They are especially thankful for the kids line as kids really fight parents on the sunscreen and now the whole family can be sun safe. Mostly I have sold to all ages of girls and women from 27 to 55. People always tell me how comfortable they feel and how slimming the suit is.
How Her Experience As an Actress Helps
I guess you can say I have been in business since I was 14. That’s how long I have been working and running me as a business. So I am used to hard work, long hours and a lot of dedication. Also, I have massive quantities of perseverance. You have to be an actress. I never give up when I have a dream.
Nerves in the ‘Tank’
Yes, of course I was nervous! There are no retakes and it is always hard to be on the spot and especially because I am a new company, I knew they would be tough on me. It was a lot of preparation and build up. It’s that whole feeling of ‘Will they like me? Am I worthy?’ I was comfortable with the technical part because it’s what I am used to, but asking really successful business people for money is really hard to do!
Plans for the Future
I am so excited for the future of Tutublue. It’s a slow build, but just last week I got my first big order and a few weeks before that I got a large custom order from a new hotel in Miami with a 10,000-square-foot spa. It is called Faena Arts Hotel. They are super excited to receive their suits. They had me print one of the artist’s work on the suits. I’m super excited about the slow build. It takes a beat for people to understand what I have created but when they understand what the purpose of it is, it’s really exciting. It’s always a challenge to change the way people do something. I am asking people to cover their skin when everyone loves to show it off! It’s still sexy.