Groom & A is our latest interview series with some of the key brains and people behind the brands you see on Humanery. The products that feature on our platform share our ethos of encouraging men to activate healthy self-care routines, and to integrate personal grooming into their lives.We sat down with Jono Sumner from LifeJacket to talk about the inspiration behind the product range, and the importance of raising awareness among men about the dangers of skin cancer.
First off, please tell us a bit about yourself and how are you involved with LifeJacket? Also, where are you from and what's your favorite TV show?My name's Jono.
When did you start LifeJacket?The seed of the idea was Billy's back in 2017, at which point he started doing a bit of research to understand what would be involved. We spoke and listened to thousands of men to understand what they wanted, and spent a couple of years formulating products that men would enjoy using but which didn't compromise on quality and protection. We wanted high performance products that we were proud of so refused to compromise at any stage of the formulation process. It certainly meant we tried and tested quite a few versions, but in the end it was worth it. We finally launched in January 2020.
Our mission is to halt the increase in male skin cancer (forecast to double in the next 20 years). To achieve this we know that as well as offering products men will actually like using, we need to raise awareness of the risks of skin damage and help people better understand the science and facts so they can make their own informed decisions. We wanted to do something positive and constructive and be a brand that people would be proud to support.
What is the origin story? What inspired you to launch LifeJacket?When we were in our early thirties, four of our friends were diagnosed with varying forms of cancer - including myself with bowel cancer. Billy stumbled across the statistic that men are twice as likely as women to die from skin cancer and that there is no reason for this difference other than behaviour, attitude, and habit. It was also clear that the skin and sun protection market is dominated by products and brands aimed at women. But men have their own priorities and preferences. Our mission is to halt the increase in male skin cancer (forecast to double in the next 20 years). To achieve this we know that as well as offering products men will actually like using, we need to raise awareness of the risks of skin damage and help people better understand the science and facts so they can make their own informed decisions. We wanted to do something positive and constructive and be a brand that people would be proud to support.
What is unique about your products?One of LifeJacket's key non-negotiable values is for everything we do to be based on science and facts, not marketing buzzwords, fads, and spurious claims. We use market leading ingredient technology to formulate products that prioritise high-performance without any compromise. The result is a range offering light-weight, easy-to-apply, and non-greasy products suitable for all skin types and sensitivities and any occasion.
Describe in only 3 words what LifeJacket means to customers?Protection, health, and positivity.
Do you have any upcoming product launches? If so, can you tell us more about them?We are always looking to add to the range and spend a lot of time listening to our customers to understand what we could be doing. 2022 will see us launch a handful of new products across both our cosmetic and clothing ranges and we have a few exciting things in the pipeline, so watch this space! People, understandably, have a range of preferences when it comes to what they put on their body, so we need to make sure we are catering for those demands.
What is your favourite product from another brand that is not currently available in your own product portfolio?I love a close shave and use a shaving oil before soap. Geo F Trumper and Truefitt & Hill each have great products.
Which celebrity do you think is the best advocate for the importance of SPF?As a person who has had previous run-ins with skin cancer, Hugh Jackman is extremely vocal about the importance of protecting your skin from UV on a daily basis. Awareness is key to addressing any issue. As well as seeming to be an all round good guy, sharing his personal experience was a fantastic thing to do.
What’s one career you wish you could have?I'm a big sports fan, but (reluctantly) accept the fact that I lack the talent or ability to be a professional athlete. I would therefore have enjoyed working in other fields within the sports industry, be that events, journalism, marketing, player management/agency. Aside from that, I have always thought I would enjoy being a postman, early starts and being active appeals to me!
5 years from now, if money were no object, where would you like to see LifeJacket and what would it represent?Of course we need money to keep the lights on, but it really is not our motivation. We want to be a brand that does something positive and people are proud to support and that we are proud of. Our mission is to halt the increase in male skin cancer, so if in 5 years time we are continuing to raise awareness of the risks of skin damage and encouraging more and more people to take their skin health seriously, that would be fantastic. If we could be known as THE brand that helped change men's attitude to skin health, I would be over the moon!
Finally, what is an easy life hack that you think men with concerns about their skin health should use to look and feel better?85% of skin damage (which covers everything from wrinkles to sun spots all the way through to skin cancer) is caused by UV rays from the sun. The single best thing anyone can do for the short, medium and long term health of their skin is protect it from UV on a daily basis. Not just when you are on holiday, when it is hot, at a BBQ or in the park, but every single day, 365 days a year. Use an SPF/broad spectrum moisturiser every morning, your skin will thank you for it.
You can buy LifeJacket's skin protection range at Humanery today!