Naïf was one of the proud winners of the The Hague Innovators Challenge in 2016. They used their prize money to bring their all-natural sunscreen to market. We talked to founder Jochem Hes and asked him to reflect on 2016.
Naïf is a cosmetics brand that caters to babies and toddlers. It was founded by two entrepreneurial dads, Sjoerd Trompetter and Jochem Hes. Their challenge: to come up with the world’s best sunscreen for the very sensitive skin of babies and toddlers.
The world’s best sunscreen
Naïf won second prize in the The Hague Innovators Challenge of 2016. They received 20,000 Euros in prize money to develop a protective sunscreen for babies and toddlers. The sunscreen is unique in that it uses a natural, rather than chemical, sun filter.
“The market is dominated by several big brands that offer sun products that are based on ingredients that irritate the skin and upset hormones. Experts acknowledge this,” Jochem stresses the importance of Naïf’s endeavor. “That’s why we wanted to develop a broad spectrum sunscreen that consists merely of natural ingredients.”
Naïf is gaining momentum
“We were an atypical competitor, in that our development plans were in an advanced stage when entering the competition,” Jochem explains. “However, the prize money certainly sped up our process. We spent it on the further development of our product, its production, and the marketing of it.”
“The The Hague Innovators Challenge has helped our brand to gain momentum. As a result of the media attention we received, we have been able to reach new audiences,” Jochem says.
Having an impact internationally
They take their mission very seriously. “We want our sunscreen to have the biggest impact possible. That’s why we want to market our product internationally. This leads to complex requirements in terms of packaging and the marketing of our product,” according to Jochem.
Winning the competition has helped them to exert credibility abroad. “We often refer to the competition in our day-to-day business, particularly in countries where government exerts real authority,” Jochem says. “When doing business in China, it helps to stress the fact that the municipality of The Hague endorses our product.”
“We started working on our Naïfcare product line three years ago,” Jochem says. “Our products are now for sale in over 800 stores in the Netherlands and in 14 countries worldwide. This feels like a great achievement.”