When Salvatore Piazzolla had an idea to combine the protective qualities of suntan lotion with the look and feel of an upscale beauty product, he naturally called the man whose name is synonymous with merging practicality with luxury: Michael Kors. Fortunately for Piazzolla, Kors picked up.
It helped that Piazzolla’s partner Grant Wilfley grew up with the famed fashion designer. “When we came up with the idea, we asked Michael if he could come over to our home to run something by him,” Piazzolla said. “Michael was the first person we released the idea to. He was excited and gave us the thumbs up.”
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The idea the Babylon native pitched Kors was to restore the glamour of sunbathing by ridding suntan products of the odor of chemical grease and infusing antioxidants and extracts for brighter, healthier skin. Kors placed Piazzolla, a former real estate agent, and Wilfley in the hands of industry pros that could blend the indisputable benefits of healthy skin with the ingredients and scents to match. “We saw it as an opportunity to bring glamour back to sunbathing but do it in a smart way with high technology and beautiful packaging and product texture.” They worked with a chemist chairperson of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists to create their products. The result was Hampton Sun, a luxury line of sun and skin care products that provide more than just SPF. As he prepared to unveil Hampton Sun’s new home collection, including bath products, candles and diffusers, Piazzolla shared how his company has successfully bottled the essence of the Hamptons.
What changes have you noticed in sun care over recent years?
We are much savvier today and more educated on the importance of wearing sunscreen every day. We never used to wear it back in the day because it was unpleasant. Today, technology and science are so advanced that you can wear it every day—and should! We use invisible zinc, which has anti-acne benefits, and all-natural mineral sunscreen that’s very moisturizing and light on the skin. You don’t see any white residue. We also offer high SPF’s for lips—something we all tend to forget about.
You also have a signature scent. How did you come to choose Privet Bloom?
One of the most important objectives when we started Hampton Sun in 2005 was [having] a signature scent. It had to smell like we are in the Hamptons. The privet hedge in bloom reminds me of riding my bike to the beach and smelling the little white flower buds that bloom for just two to three weeks in the summer. It’s a fresh, clean, memorable scent, well balanced, not overpowering, with notes of white hyacinth, jasmine, lily of the valley, sea spray and dun musk.
How important is ingredient selection?
I am most proud of my SPF formulas. We were one of the first companies to offer Polycrylene, which filters out UV rays to offer more advanced sun protection that is longer lasting. They erase the border between sun care and skincare by moisturizing and using all-natural antioxidants and oils to make products as natural as we possibly can.
What inspired your new home collection?
After Privet Bloom became the number one selling fragrance of the Hamptons, it inspired us to take it to the next level. It has always been our vision to create this home collection which we are now launching this spring. We have a candle, room spray and diffuser. For the body, we have a shower gel and a lotion that is very hydrating without the greasy feel, all with the captivating fragrance of Privet Bloom.