STANDARD PROCEDURE: A MORNING CHAT WITH ZEPHA
Its beginning to heat up down here in the Southern Hemisphere. Bedsheets are being kicked off in the early hours. Skies have turned on a lighter hue. The air is already warm when walking for the 6am coffee. And the sting of winter's fluctuating water temps are nothing more than a distant memory now. As we inch closer to summer, keeping a bottle of sunscreen close at hand has become ritual and something taken seriously - rather than scoffing at those who choose to don it liberally, like years gone by.
Standard Procedure is the brainchild between Dion Agius and his good friend-come-biz partner; Zepha Jackson. Two friends combining their knowledge to produce a high-end product. In a nutshell; a topical skin care range made to withstand the toughest of elements, combining vitamins, super fruits and yet is also reef-friendly - free of all the nasty chemicals.
Hey Zepha, how ya doing?!? What’s your typical day looking like now that youre running a sunscreen mega global empire?
Yeah good thanks, yourself? Haha - just full of mega fancy high-level biz meetings. Nah, anything but glamorous. Been up on the Sunny Coast to help out where I could with the factory during the launch, so I’ve been in there labelling a bunch of product and packing orders.
How did you and Dion meet and become business partners?
Dion and I have a bunch of mutual friends and met through some of them in Indonesia a few years ago. I have so much respect for D and all that his done and built, so earlier this year when I started working on Standard Procedure, I gave him a call for some advice and to run it all by him. We spoke for ages and by the end of the call had pretty much decided to do it together. Dion already knew the quality of the products I was wanting to use because I had given him and his fam a bunch of the products my parents make a while back and he loved them.
I like that the brand name ‘Standard Procedure’ angles on the reasoning that applying sunscreen should be a usual occurrence. How did the name come about?
Hah yeah, well that’s exactly it really! Just trying to make a name that stood for those non negotiables.
You hail from the Sunshine Coast, where the summers are long, hot and eternal whilst the winters… well, theyre practically summers too. Was growing up there a major factor in starting a sunscreen label? Have you learnt alot about sun protection since starting Standard Procedure?
This is true. My whole childhood was probably grooming me to do a sunscreen brand and I just didn’t know it. In addition to the classic Queensland lifestyle of spending your whole upbringing at the beach, my parents own a sunscreen factory and have been doing that my whole life. As a little girl I’d spend so much time in there on the production line, labelling bottles and packing boxes.
Learning? Yeah, I mean, I thought I knew enough; sun is brutal and I gotta screen up when I’m surfing and basking etc. But it’s insane how much more I’ve learnt since delving deep into the sunscreen thing. I actually did this session with a dermatologist looking at our sunscreen ingredients to get there tick of approval and she took some face pics and showed the individual layers of my skin and previous UV damage from not wearing it on my face everyday. Its psycho and now I’m terrified to leave the house without sunscreen on in the morning, just the damage you can get through the car windscreen is crazy and at all times of the day. So sun safety is key.
What makes SP so good?
Our Sunscreen is based on the formula that my family has been perfecting for around 35 years. They manufacturer mainly just wholesale for the government, schools, hospitals, workplace etc, so it’s not a product you can get your hands on, but it’s an incredible heavy duty product that works super well. We’ve got an adaption of that, really clean ingredients that are reef friendly, good for your skin with added in superfruits, vitamins and antioxidants.
How long will it last in the water during an average session?
Standard Procedure is for 4 hour water sessions
How many products are currently in the range?
Currently we’ve got Sunscreen, Aloe Vera and Hand Sanitiser and Zinc’s in the works.
We know youre a major advocate for ethical manufacturing. Its not only highly inspirational, but a true testament to personal achievement when releasing any new product to market. Realistically, is it pretty challenging overseeing production from inception, making sure proper processes are being adhered to - start to finish?
Production is notoriously difficult and the part of a business that’s usually really frustrating, because nothing ever happens smoothly. That’s because it’s so much more complex than what people tend to think. Production makes it sound like it’s machines just pumping out a product, which in some cases that’s true but for the most part, there’s many moving parts and so many hands that are all part of the process in making a product. All that is so interesting and important to me; knowing the origin of something you’re buying and all those companies, factories, people, practices and ethic’s along their supply chain that you’re supporting and ultimately funding by buying into it, is something that’s so worth the research and education to know it isn’t shady or harmful.
Lastly, spill the beans - what’s Dion really like to work with? He's just too damn nice around all of us. We smell a rat…
I know right, he's just the loveliest! I’ve been waiting for some sort of red flag but nothing yet. Will keep you posted. Ha! Nah - Dion works insanely hard, is so talented and I love everything he brings to the SP table, it just obviously wouldn’t be this brand without him. We’ve been living in each other’s pockets while working to get SP off the ground and haven’t started hating each other yet. His made me realise that the best biz meetings happen during bushwalks which I back, so it’s been a dream biz partner situation really.
Shop the Standard Procedure range here.