Growth Spurt

Sunny Days

By Debra Phillips

Both Kelly and Lucien Campolo come by their entrepreneurial talents naturally--each grew up in a business-owning family. Which is not to say that this husband-and-wife team didn't raise a few eyebrows when they decided to take the small-business plunge themselves. "Our families were pretty leery of the idea of a suntan lotion [company]," says Lucien. "It sounded too fun--just not serious. As it turns out, it's a very serious business."

So it is. Only 3 years old, South Beach Sun Co. is expected to bask in sales of $250,000 this year. The future is brighter still: Next year's sales for the Miami Beach, Florida-based business are projected to increase to between $4 million and $5 million with an expansion in product line and distribution. "We fully expect to be the next national brand of sun care [products]," Kelly says.

Not that it's been a walk on the beach for this pair of 28-year-olds. Frustrated by their attempts to secure financing, the Campolos racked up approximately $50,000 on their credit cards to launch South Beach Sun. But the couple was certain they could outshine their competitors.

"If you put more into the product, people will like it more and buy it more often--especially with consumable products," says Lucien. "Overall, [our products] are much better than anything else on the market."

Sold in eye-catching black tubes and bottles with bright lettering, the Campolos' complete line of sunscreen products is the result of personally conducted market research. Says Kelly, "We go out to the beach, hand out samples and listen to what people say." Now that's good public relations.

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This article was originally published in the November 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Growth Spurt.

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