When Winki Zinc Founder, Belinda Sharrock, told us she'd hiked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal solo, we knew she was the real deal. Her passion for surfing, supporting small businesses and protecting the environment is evident in everything Winki Zinc does, and we're excited for you to read all about it.
Name and position: Belinda Sharrock - Founder
Where in the world does Winki Zinc work from and make its products? Winki Zinc is based in Fairhaven, Victoria. I am lucky to live here and have converted a home studio into a factory/warehouse/office. We do the final stages of manufacturing here and also package, store and dispatch all orders.
How did the idea for Winki Zinc form? It was during a long stint in Sri Lanka (where my partner is from) that I delved into how sunscreens are harmful for both us and the environment. I was surfing every day, along with many other people, and I quickly became alarmed that the sunscreens we were wearing were washing off and harming the beautiful coral reef below us! I began experimenting and formulating my own zinc. Not only did it feel better and work better, it actually improved the condition of my skin to the point that people started asking me to make it for them. My partner and I developed a formula and started selling it in Sri Lanka in 2017. It was so well received by the surf community there that I really felt compelled to bring it back to the Surf Coast, Australia.
Also… I come from an Outdoor Education background and my skin has seen a LOT of sun throughout the years. In my early 20’s I was careless about sun protection, but now I can feel the effects of it and really wanted to make Winki Zinc something that all types of outdoor people loved wearing, so they wouldn’t feel the need to avoid sunscreen and have their skin exposed to more sun than necessary.
What is Winki Zinc's mission? To have a world where brands are honest and transparent about their products being good for people and for the planet. I want people to be able to trust in brands and turn to small, local business instead of multinational corporations. From this, I can see that we will have a healthier population and a healthier planet.
When people think of Winki Zinc, what would you like them to think of? I want them to think of sunshine, laughter and adventure. I want them to feel good knowing that Winki Zinc is natural, beneficial to their skin, lightweight and super convenient for almost every activity. I want them to think of the beach, the surf, the mountains, the sky, the snow, cliffs and rivers.
Does Winki Zinc have anything else they work on, aside from making epic zinc? We currently sponsor Ocean Mind Inc. by donating $1 per sale and zinc for their programs. Ocean Mind is a surf therapy non for profit that runs 5 week surf & personal development programs for young people who struggle with mental illness. They are based on the Surf Coast so we can work closely with them and see the smiles programs bring first hand.
We also sponsor some up and coming female surf professionals including Melissa Fitzwilliam, who is currently the Victorian women’s body boarding champion, and Emily Lethbridge who recently won 4th place in the Women’s World Surf League in Taiwan.
Why make the effort to create environmentally friendly products, as opposed to simply making cheap commercial sun safety products? It’s 2020! We need to start becoming autonomously responsible for what we consume and choose to consume products that are sustainable going into the future. That means recycling materials that we already have (our eco tubes are made from a percentage of post-consumer recycled paper), saying no to toxic chemicals that build up in our environment (regular sunscreens have these chemicals while zinc does not), and choosing to support and buy from smaller, local, responsible businesses. And quite simply, it feels good to do good.
If you could choose to use only one Winki Zinc creation forever, what would it be? Tinted Base in TAN. It is the most neutral, versatile base colour that blends in easily and feels great on the skin. Can I have two? Because the Lip & Cheek tint in CORAL is my other favourite, as it’s summery and fun and can be used on the whole face or as a lip balm.
Favourite thing to do outside of work? SURF!! And walk my dog in the Otways National Park.
What’s the most memorable adventure you’ve ever been on? My most memorable experience was solo hiking Nepal's Annapurna Circuit in 2016.
I have never felt so humbled by nature before. I felt completely engulfed by the massive landscape, most of the time inspired and occasionally terrified. I also felt a great sense of empowerment and trust within myself to be completely alone, yet not feel lonely. Sometimes I would not see another soul for the whole day, and then enjoy the few words I would exchange with a local family that evening. I had my thermos and a little bag of tea and spices, so often I would stop and sit alone, completely absorbed in the magnificent Himalayas. I will never forget the feeling of ultimate freedom on this adventure.
Top 3 things you can’t go on an adventure without? Tea, warm gloves and Winki Zinc.