Working on Vacation

Sun bleached neon bikinis, juicy papayas, sun-drenched disco beats: Vacation, the Miami based sunscreen company founded by Marty Bell, Lach Hall, and Dakota Green, is giving us a taste of a pure paradise. Evolved out of the online disco radio station Poolside FM run by Marty Bell, the feel good vibe of Vacation is build on solid sound ground.
The cocktail sweet 80s nostalgia of the visuals and packing echo the mood of the soundtrack and so does the scent of all mousses, oils, lotions, candles and air refreshers. It is described as „the worlds best“, which Carlos Huber, part of the perfumer team that worked on Vacation, created based on this own travels memories: “Coconut ice cream in Acapulco and the piña coladas we drank while we played domino with cousins. The orange flower and monoi flower in French tanning oils my mom would use. The swimmies and inflatable pool toys of childhood, but also the scent of wet lycra and decidedly naughty references to warm, tan skin,“. Excluded from the retro flair is the modern formulation. Composed by Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Board Certified Dermatologist and an SVP of The Skin Cancer Foundation, all products ensure skin protection throughout summer parties and beyond. Vacation is 1980s beach culture bottled with a glitter straw, but leaving the fried skin behind. Merchandise, from shirts to caps, keeps the groove even on sunless days – if there was (or, will be?) a Vacation hotel, we would check in asap. Gladly, this could become reality as Marty Bell reveals in our interview…


If Vacation would be a destination, which one would it be?

Marty Bell: I imagine Vacation as a small island off the coast of Florida. Blue-java banana daiquiri taps can be found approximately every 50 meters, and Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Boat Drinks’ plays three times in a row from loudspeakers daily at 5pm, signaling the work day’s end. If laptops are seen open after 5pm, the offending individuals are escorted to and thrown from the highest diving board on the island (20m) – their laptop following shortly after. A grand manor house featuring an exquisite thatched roof sits atop the island’s secluded Ray’s Cay, its master suite being awarded to the winner of that day’s coconut bowling tournament.

If you’d write a postcard from “Vacation”, what would you write?

Marty Bell: It might go something like… “Today I awoke to the sound of steel drums in the distance, as the morning’s hour long beach procession began. I joined the back of the conga line around 9:30am, remaining in it until we accidentally danced our way onto a passing shrimp boat. After spending the afternoon aboard the barely-seaworthy S.S. Nauti Buoy learning how to trade the online mackerel futures market, I took a leisurely swim to shore. I’m resting up in my cabana for the evening, before this evening’s excitement begins; the legendary ‚Fisherman’s Folly‘ talent show, where local fishermen showcase their hidden talents. Anyway, wish you were here!”

What’s your hero product and why?

Marty Bell: Our hero product is the Classic Lotion, which is available in both SPF 30 and SPF 50; it was the first product we launched with back in ‘21, so it’ll always have a special place in our hearts. We worked so hard to develop its signature scent with perfumers Carlos Huber and Rodrigo Flores-Roux to create „The World’s Best-Smelling Sunscreen” – with dozens of scent sample packages arriving every month in the tiny beach town in the Dominican Republic we based ourselves in at the time. We’re very proud of its elegant formula and universal appeal. And we love its scent so much, we even made it into an eau de toilette, which is now one of our most popular products.

How do you see the future of Vacation?

Marty Bell: We want Vacation to be a household name that’s synonymous with fun, and for our products to be found in every sunscreen aisle worldwide. We want people to wear more sunscreen because of our SPF inventions, and we want to enhance millions of leisure moments around the world every day. While for the near term we’re laser-focused on that mission, we often find ourselves fantasizing about taking our light-hearted, experiential approach to physical spaces, be that a beach bar, a boutique hotel, or our very own resort.

Laura Dunkelmann
August 9, 2023
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