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We’re stoked to introduce you to Tom Hiney, Co-Founder of SunButter (along with marine biologist Sacha Guggenheimer), a socially and environmentally ethical skincare company that has protected people and the planet since 2016, with the country’s first reef safe sunscreen and vegan zinc.

Since launching, they’ve diverted 66,064 single-use plastic bottles of sunscreen from entering landfill and diverted 6606kg of chemical UV blockers from entering our oceans and waterways – inspiring stuff! 

We spoke to Tom about childhood dreams, goals for 2022, his top tips for protecting the planet and more.   

(Pictured: SunButter Co-Founders, Marine Biologist Sacha and Conservation Ecologist Tom)

Hey Tom, what are your goals for yourself and SunButter in 2022?

We’ve just got a couple of new epic staff involved, so hopefully that brings back some more free time for myself and Sacha to do more volunteering for the environment and conservation. 

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Gosh, so many things. I wanted to play in the NBA or play professional Rugby Union. I guess my earliest childhood dream was to grow up and be a Golden Eagle, a little bit tricky to achieve, but I recently became a Paragliding pilot which is a bit like being an eagle.

We heard you dropped your spot at the London School of Economics to become a dive instructor. Was it a pretty quick decision or one that you had to sit on for a while?

Super quick decision actually. I was scuba diving in NZ on my first gap year, and got a really good life lesson from the local instructor (ex-accountant) who basically said “Someone will pay you to do your hobby” so I went from there.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to turn their passion into a business? 

It’s hard and tough but so worthwhile. Stick with it, don’t be afraid to ask for help – either in wisdom, advice or financial. There’s amazing, often free, resources available on all of that. Make good plans and goals, and work hard to achieve them. Don’t be too scared of failure as long as you learn from it (and try to avoid it).

What does success mean to you? 

Hmm, a tricky one. Probably, if I was successful, I’d be working 3 days a week at SunButter, volunteering in local wildlife and environmental conservation, surfing and flying a lot, and have a heap of time for local adventures with Sacha. No need for a big house, flashy car or a big number in my bank account.

Playlist or podcast, what are you listening to at the moment?

I’m loving Madi Stewart’s shark podcast, fascinating. And of course, I love the Water People podcast and Talks with Trace – all super informative and interesting.

What’s the last book you read and was it any good?

I just finished Braiding Sweetgrass. It is AMAZING, I cannot recommend it highly enough, I loved it! 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who gave it? 

The gap year advice of “Someone will pay you to do your hobby” and also a quote from the late, great Kobe Bryant, “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.” I had it as a poster on my childhood bedroom wall and love it.

Can you give us your top tips to protect the planet? 

  • Start! Any tiny step you make is a good step in the right direction. 
  • Set realistic goals like remembering your drink bottle or Keep Cup. Hitting those goals will inspire you to do more… and more… and save the planet. 
  • Do and give whatever you can. We can’t all afford huge amounts of money. But off-setting your car through Greenfleet Australia is relatively cheap, and they have heaps of ‘preset carbon offsets’ for your house, a car, a short flight, an average person for the year etc. Each payday I buy a charity “coffee or lunch” e.g donate $5-$30. It’s a really easy way to give to great causes, and if things are tight, I can skip a fortnight. 
  • Secret Santa charity donations. This is something Sacha and I started with our families about 5 years ago, no need to stress about presents. We do a secret Santa and everyone makes a charity donation to a charity either they love or they think the recipient will love.

What’s next for SunButter Skincare? 

Donating more to charity, it’s a big goal of ours. Also, a couple of new and super exciting products plus a giant announcement. We’ve also started offering some epic 3PL for other small eco businesses which is exciting. 

Looking for skincare that protects you and the planet? Head to SunButter Skincare here and stock up! 

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