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island Tribe’s Owner Talks Sustainability, Market Performance & Sun Protection Ingredients

For over 30 years island Tribe have been leading the way in sun protection for action sports enthusiasts with its selection of gels and creams. Owner Carlo van Kleef drops by to talk sustainability, market performance and keeping those eyes free from stinging.

Please can we have a recap of the brand from when it was founded to the present day.
The island Tribe brand was launched in 1992 in South Africa with the aim of providing waterproof sun protection to surfers and other water sports enthusiasts. The range consisted of one product only, the island Tribe Clear Gel, which to this day has been unrivalled by competition for water resistance. The brand is now distributed in 25 countries worldwide.

What is island Tribe’s USP?
No stinging eyes!

island Tribe sunscreens (clear gel) are designed to give the user maximum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, more than this, the specific formula will stay on your skin for the duration of your activity.

Many brands claim to have water resistant sunscreens. Then you read the first ingredient and it says “Aqua”! Good one! We have learnt that a water-base in water is not the best way to have a long lasting water-specific sunscreen (See Sport Sun Protection). Don’t pollute the ocean with a water-based sunscreen. All our sunscreens are dermatologist approved and irritancy tested.
All sunscreens are CANSA approved and tested according to the new sunscreen regulation in South Africa as set out by SANS 1557:2013, European Colipa Standard.

island Tribe sunscreens are clinically researched and developed by leading sunscreen laboratories in both South Africa and Australia.

All sunscreens offer UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection.

island Tribe Sun Protection is fragrance free. Why? Fragrances contain elements that can set off an allergic reaction. island Tribe Sun Protection is Paraben free, Oxybenzone free and micro plastic free. island Tribe clear gel is Vegan. island tribe cream

Please tell us about your distribution and supply set up in Europe.
island Tribe sun protection has been sold from the Netherlands since 2009 by island Tribe Europe. We deliver from stock from a new and modern distribution centre. Orders are dispatched within two working days.

Since 2010 island Tribe Europe has established official distributors in 12 different countries, some of which service multiple countries. Customers in approximately 25 other countries are supplied directly by island Tribe Europe.

How has the European market for sun care products been this summer?
Last summer was a good year for us – every year we see sales increasing in Europe.
We are selling more and more in winter sports areas because the clear gel products do not contain water. Frost and water-based products do not mix. island tribe gel

What was your best-selling product and why?
SPF 50 clear gel sun stick, SPF 50 clear gel 100 ml and the SPF 50 clear gel spray 100 ml. No sunburn and no stinging eyes.

How have you made your products more sustainable?
Our products are vegan free of parabens, perfume, oxybenzone and microplastic free.

What are your marketing stories for the SS24 season?
The unique properties of the clear gel are also the story for 2024.

What is currently the best market for the brand in Europe and why?
Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany because sun protection is probably a priority there.

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