Mogul Mom Spotlight – Rhonda Sparks

WHAT’S YOUR NAME?

Rhonda Sparks

COMPANY NAME

UV Skinz

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS AND WHY YOU STARTED IT

I started UV Skinz after I lost my 32-year-old husband to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. It was this experience and being left to raise our three little boys on my own that gave me the determination to want to bring products to the market that can help families live sun safe while never forgetting how important it is to LIVE and HAVE FUN outdoors.
For years before UV Skinz, I would regularly use the topical sunscreens on my kids but my ‘mommy instincts’ often wondered what type of chemicals I was exposing my boys to. What was being absorbed into their bodies every couple of hours during reapplication of the lotions? I started to have the boys wear traditional rash guards that were used by surfers to help protect their skin from chaffing and rash burns from their surfboards. They created a natural protection from the sun but were not very comfortable to wear as they were made from a thick, heavy fabric and were made to be worn very tight to the skin. They also weren’t very fashionable and only came in a few basic colors. The boys weren’t very excited by the look or tight feeling of the rash guards but they loved not having to stop their play time and put sunscreen on every couple of hours. It was during this time that I realized I could repurpose the traditional surfer rash guard into something more fun and lightweight and fashionable that the kids would enjoy wearing. Recognizing the consumer demand and having crazy passion to protect children from the damaging effects of the sun, I jumped into two years of research and development. In the spring of 2005 is when the first UV Skinz UV protective swim shirt was born!
I like to think that UV Skinz sells peace-of-mind from the sun’s damaging rays. We make it a top priority to bring our customers the most fun, fashionable, and affordable sun protection apparel and accessories on the market. We take sun protection very serious and we are extremely passionate about what we do and it shows in our work!

WHAT DO YOU SELL?

UV Skinz is a line of UPF50+ sunwear designed to block out 98% of the sun’s harmful rays. Unlike national companies that carry multiple lines, UV Skinz is not an afterthought and is focused on providing the highest quality, hippest designs to kids and adults want to “Live in our Skinz”

WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?

UV Skinz is designed for the entire family from kids to adults who love to be active outdoors all year round.

WHAT 3 PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Achieving growth each year of my company’s 12-year history (often times double and triple digit growth).
Building a custom 8000 square foot office for UV Skinz in 2015 and starting to break ground on an additional 17,000 square foot warehouse this year.
Finalizing our list of company Core Values (it took two years!) and using them as our main guide in all decisions we make at the company from hiring to managing personnel to interacting with our customers and suppliers.

WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS STORY UNIQUE?

To understand the foundation of UV Skinz, you must understand the legacy from which UV Skinz was born.
My late husband, Darren Lee Farwell, was always up for an outdoor adventure. An avid surfer and snowboarder, Darren couldn’t begin to count the number of serious sunburns he had suffered as a child. He was not aware that just one severe sunburn during a child’s first 15 years could double the chance of developing skin cancer as an adult. Darren was young and full of life and never thought about skin cancer or how deadly it could be. The reality of skin cancer touched Darren in 1996 when a mole on his upper back began to change color and size. He had it looked at by a dermatologist and when he came back from his appointment he said ‘babe, I have skin cancer. I have melanoma.’ My initial reaction was to say ‘oh, it’s just skin cancer. They’ll cut it out and you’ll be fine.’ It wasn’t until two years later, when the cancer reappeared in Darren’s lymphatic system, that the innocent ignorance of saying ‘it’s just skin cancer’ came to reality. So many people don’t realize that skin cancer can be deadly and that it needs to be taken seriously. Darren stayed positive and lively for our three young boys, Ethan, Seth and Caleb, and never gave up hope during his difficult five-year battle with the disease. On September 14, 2001, at the far-too-young age of 32, Darren lost his battle. In the years to follow, I made it my life goal to help other families not have to go through what our family did. It was very difficult to lose a spouse, a life partner, a daddy to three beautiful little boys and it was even more difficult to think it all stemmed from over exposure to the sun. I vowed to bring awareness to this disease and help other people who innocently think ‘it’s just skin cancer’.

 

HOW CAN WE FIND YOU?

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Gabriella Ribeiro

Owner + Editor In Chief at The Mogul Mom
Gabriella is a true Mogul Mom. The owner and editor in chief of The Mogul Mom. She also owns TruMarketing, Explorateur Journeys, is the founder of The 48 Hour Power Jaunt.
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