JULIA BEYER – Founder INterview

Debunking Sunscreen Myths

By Hanna Oltmanns - September 03, 2020

Here at Suntribe, we love to be open with each other, to share experiences, how we are, what moves us, and where we find ourselves in life. For this reason, we thought it would be a fantastic idea to interview our founders so that you can get to know us even better and find out what we have in common – we’re sure there’s probably a lot of things. For this article, we met with Suntribe co-founder Julia Beyer and took hold of our chance to ask her a few burning questions…

How did you end up starting Suntribe together with Karl and Hampus?

I moved to Sweden to study a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship, and that’s how I met my future co-founders Karl and Hampus. I had been looking for a way to set up my own business, aligned with my environmental values, for a while and once I met those two everything happened very quickly! Karl had started to realize how big the problem with conventional sunscreens was when he worked as a surf teacher in Portugal, and when all three of us met and read up on the topic, we decided to offer a completely natural and safe sunscreen alternative ourselves. 

Julia Beyer - Inspiring Suntribe Cofounder
Julia going surfing in Costa Rica

How do you define success for Suntribe and for yourselves?

In my eyes, success can be defined in the long and in the short run. In the short run, every single mineral, biodegradable sunscreen that is used instead of a conventional chemical sunscreen is a success. In the long run, our success will consist in having established mineral sunscreens as the new normal, and to have sensitized a big mass of people regarding the importance of checking the list of ingredients in their cosmetics, and choosing safe alternatives for their skin and the environment. Personally, I define success as moving forward with an idea that is aligned with my personal values, which are centered around the idea of living in a sustainable way. In this sense, every day with Suntribe is a success for me!

Julia Beyer - Inspiring Suntribe Founder
Enjoying the sunset in the South of Portugal

What would a world designed after the Suntribe principles look like?

That’s an interesting question. The main difference would be that common sense and long-term thinking would play a much larger role, rather than short-term profit optimization at the cost of the environment and our health. In general, I would like to see that companies see themselves much more as a part of our society, and act as if they were people, according to common sense. And in my eyes preserving nature and using natural resources responsibly is only common sense. I also think that companies should be more honest in their marketing. For example, they should disclose which scientific evidence their claims are based on and they should not portray ideals that are unobtainable for most people anyways. Rather they should support people in becoming more confident about who they are! But I’m a dreamer 😉 

Is there anything you know now that you wished you would have known from the start?

I’m actually quite glad I could not foresee most things that would happen, otherwise, I would maybe have had second thoughts … for sure running your own startup costs much more nerves and time that you would think, but in the end, it’s definitely worth it, as long as you know why you do it! 

Julia Beyer - Inspiring Suntribe Cofounder
Julia on the way to the beach in Sri Lanka

What have you learned about each other during this journey so far?

We have for sure gotten to know each other quite well during the past years. I find it fascinating how we are so different in many ways. It has allowed me to learn a lot from my team members. We complement each other very well and we have learned how to find compromises when there are conflicts since we share the same goal with Suntribe. 

Would you say your backpacking experience in South and Central America inspired you to start Suntribe? If yes, can you tell us of an outstanding experience?

My backpacking trips have definitely prepared the ground for starting Suntribe, simply because they helped me to realize that I wanted a job that I could find meaningful and that would motivate me in the long term, and also because I only had a small backpack and disposed of all cosmetics that I could live without, which left me with only shampoo and sunscreen. How I wish I could already have brought along some Suntribe sunscreen on those trips! I would have needed it when I hiked up to all those mountains in the Andes region. I remember one 3-day hike specifically, somewhere in Peru, where I went up all the way to the summit while it was storming and snowing heavily, and when I reached the top I was so stoked. Those experiences taught me that I want this thrill – the thrill of achieving something outstanding, and challenging yourself – in my everyday life, and there’s no better way to experience that than when you run your own business! 

Julia Beyer - Inspiring Suntribe Cofounder
Julia on a five day hike to Machu Picchu in Peru

What have you learned about yourself in this journey with Suntribe so far?

I have gotten a better understanding of what I’m good at – such as organizing, planning new formulas and products, and finding suitable business partners – and I have learned that it helps to always keep your goal in mind. Even when unforeseen things happen, such as a global pandemic, it has helped me to keep up my motivation and keep on going. Sometimes you have to accept that things don’t happen as quickly as you would like them too, but if you persevere, you will always find a solution! 

You are German but are now living & working in Sweden, which country would you say is more home to you?

Great question! I wouldn’t want to choose only one of the two, to me both countries feel like home now, only for different reasons. In the South of Sweden, I love how free you feel in the absence of large cities, and as my Swedish is improving and my circle of friends is growing I feel more and more at home in the culture as well. I absolutely love the Midsommar celebrations in summer too. Germany will always remain the place where I can visit my family and my older friends, and it feels like the perfect holiday whenever I go back home. In general, I feel more and more European rather than German after all my travels, and home is where I can feel free and do what I want, right now that’s Sweden and in autumn it will be Portugal again!

Julia Beyer - Inspiring Suntribe Cofounder
Surfing in Costa Rica

You’re Head of Product Development at Suntribe and responsible for the formulation of Suntribe’s skincare products. Why do you think minimalism is important and is it important to you personally as well?

I believe minimalism is important because it helps you to focus on what is essential. When it comes to our worry-free natural cosmetics we start with asking ourselves: which ingredients are needed to achieve e.g. water resistance or sun protection? On top of that, we only add what is absolutely necessary to make the formula easy to use. Personally, I have started to live with very few things simply because I travel so much, and I enjoy not feeling so tied to my possessions. In the end, it is really only a few clothes that you need to feel good for example, and those clothes will feel even more valuable when you only pick the ones you really like and wear them a lot! 

Julia Beyer - Inspiring Suntribe Cofounder
Julia arriving at Finisterre, Spain, after travelling more than 2,000 kilometers by electric scooter

For what activities do you personally use Suntribe sunscreen the most?

I use the Mineral Day Cream in the morning every day. During the summer and when I go surfing, swimming, or sailing, I use the tinted Face & Sport Zinc Sunscreen for my face and the Mineral Body & Face Sunscreen for the rest of my body. When I didn’t reapply often enough and got a little bit too much sun (my skin is very sun-sensitive), I also really enjoy using the After Sun Balm because I like the eucalyptus and peppermint smell.

Thank you so much for this interview, Julia - we loved hanging out with you!

About Julia Beyer: Julia was born and raised in Munich and founded Suntribe together with Karl and Hampus in 2016. Since then she has been absolutely passionate about spreading the word about worry-free skincare and protecting our planet by making the right choices in the cosmetic area amongst many others. She lives in Sweden during the summers, and usually in a sunnier place during the colder months of the year.

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about the author

Hej, I’m Hanna. I love the outdoors and I am the first one to enjoy every beam of sunshine possible. Through traveling several countries over the past few years, I have become more and more aware of the great need for sustainability in every aspect of our daily life. Through working with Suntribe I am joining the movement of sustainable production of organic cosmetic and help to raise awareness about the issue of harmful chemicals in personal care products for humans and nature alike.