By Steve Fisher
UV SKINZ WANTS you to buy their products: stylish children’s clothing that lets kids
play in the sun without being covered with
sunscreen every two hours. But the products
are secondary to the message they want you
to learn: Skin cancer can kill.
The company was born out of loss.
Rhonda Sparks was a young mother of three
when her husband, Darren—an athletic man
who enjoyed all sorts of outdoor activities—
succumbed to a five-year battle with the disease at the age of 32.
When Darren was alive they had talked
about finding something to replace the
creams they were slathering on their children
and themselves. Sparks says, “We thought,
there’s got to be another way to do this.” They
secured the company name and the URL for
a website, but his death put a halt to any
plans, at least for a couple of years.
But Sparks was committed to their mission of protecting others.
The concept of protective clothing wasn’t
new to her. UV Skinz clothing is made from
specialized fabrics that carry a sun protection
rating of UPF 50+, which means they block
98 percent of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
The protection comes from the tight weave of
the fabrics as well as an anti-UV treatment
that occurs during the initial manufacturing
of the fabrics. The best part is that it is not
necessary to wear any topical sunscreens
under the garments, so chemicals are not
being absorbed into children’s skin.
And though she says she was born with
“entrepreneurial DNA,” “there was a lot of
learning for me, and it was a lot of just pounding the pavement and sending out emails and
making phone calls. A lot of trial and error.
“We went through thinking of designs
and color combinations and the weight of the
fabric and how we wanted it to fit on a child.
My boys would run every time I got the tape
measure out,” Sparks laughs.
“It just kind of evolved, with a lot of consultants in the industry, trade shows, sales
reps. Finding factories we could rely on and
create a partnership with. It definitely was an
organic evolving. I invested a lot of my personal money, investors, banking relationships. It wasn’t a quick pop. It’s been a nice
design by nature™ Radiant . . . Timeless . . . a treasure found Item #581121
COUR TES Y OF UV SKINZ INC.
Comments about Costco: “[Costco]
has been tremendous to work with, giving us this opportunity to not only get
the awareness out there but to grow the
business. On a level of working with buyers and working with companies, Costco
is top-notch. It has been tough to toe the
line, but nothing I wouldn’t expect from a
Name: UV Skinz Inc.
Founder/president: Rhonda Sparks
plus numerous contractors
Address: 13775-A Mono Way
Sonora, CA 95370
Contact at: email@example.com
877-UV SKINZ (877-887-5469)
Products at Costco: UV Skinz Kids’
three-piece Sun Protection Swim Set
Sun Face Wall Art
constructed of steel,
with hand-painted ;nish.
For outdoor or indoor use.
Originally envisioned as a nonprofit
company, UV Skinz is now a for-profit company, but the nonprofit aspect is still a focus.
Sparks says, “We actually do a lot of great
things. May is coined Skin Cancer Awareness
Month by the American Cancer Society, so
we produce thousands of little baby shirts [to
be donated to hospitals and pediatric organizations as part of the company’s Save a Baby’s
Skin campaign], and on the front of the shirts
it says, ‘;;;;’; ; ;;;;;;;?’ because our
whole motto is that no child should ever
know what a sunburn feels like.” C
Southern Sales &
Marketing Group, Inc.
WAREHOUSE ONLY | AVAILABLE EARLY APRIL
MARCH 2012 ;e Costco Connection 35