Family business: Claudia of Bellejo

Claudia Condulet, 36, is the founder of Bellejo, which offers the first sunscreen cosmetic product that is environmentally friendly and with a novel biopolymer extracted from food by-products.

Claudia says, “We produce a highly efficient SPF 50 formula, biodegradable and available in different shades to match the skin tone, with no white cast. We are the first in the world to use this novel ingredient in a sunscreen formulation, plus we are extract it from beer spent grain. This ingredient boosts the sun protection factor, acts as an antioxidant and preservative.

Claudia comes from a big family. She says, “I have am one of five sisters and also have a brother. I was raised in a beautiful town by the sea, we spent the summers of our childhood on the beach, exploring, swimming, discovering the beauty of the marine life.”

Claudia was working for a major beer company when she came up with the idea. She says, “Making the transition from a highly organized and secure environment of a corporation to the roller-coaster that is a start-up was very difficult, but also exciting. It’s like jumping from a plane without a parachute and figure out how to survive by the time you hit the ground.”

Bellejo launched in March 2022, after 2 years of working on it. Claudia says, “The Research and Development started two years ago. As we are the first to use this biopolymer (called Lignin), we needed a thorough plan to produce a sunscreen that is efficient, but also to comply with the law. Sunscreen products are cosmetic products that are highly regulated by the law due to their impact on people’s health.”

Reflecting on her business, Claudia says, “I love the freedom that it gives me to pursue the ideas and plans that I dream about, to be the first in bringing a novel product to the market. The positive impact that a product like ours has on our health and the environment is what drives me forward.” She adds, “The highs can be very high and the lows are really low. I guess only an entrepreneur will know how these feels, today all is great and tomorrow everything collapses and you have to start all over again with new plans.”

“I would probably be nowhere without the moral support of my family. My sisters and brother are supporting our marketing and sales campaign, from support with organizing, photography or modelling. It’s fun to work with them, is bringing us closer and you get instant feedback, the kind of feedback that only a family member has the courage to tell it like it is.” She continues, “I gathered a great team of Scientists, Universities and R&D partners who believed in my idea from the beginning. This was really important for the success and efficiency of my sunscreen product.”

Developing the sunscreen hasn’t been all plain sailing. Claudia says, “In the beginning of a business there is a fine line between what can be a mistake and what is not. You simply don’t know if the decision was good or not. I did a lot of trials that ended up nowhere, but if at least one succeeds, then I am happy with that.”

Looking at how she fits in work with family, Claudia says, “Family time is family time and business time is business time. I believe people are more fulfilled, satisfied and happy with their life when they pursue their dreams. In the end, we need to be honest with ourselves and realize that we will regret not going for our dreams and we can bring more in the family if we are happy with what we do.”

Claudia is aiming high for Bellejo. She says, “My goals are to have my products available in the UK, EU and eventually to conquer the US market. My ambition is to sell 24 million products by 2025.” She is enjoying every success along the way. She says, “My first aha moment was when I realized that this was an idea worth pursuing. Nobody was doing it, it would be hard, it’s basically impossible hence it’s for me 😊. I love a good challenge. It is difficult to pinpoint an ‘I’ve made it moment’’, but at this stage I would say that great feedback from my customers will be the first sign that I have made it.”

Want to know more about Bellejo and buy eco-friendly sunscreen? Visit www.bellejo.com

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