Dianna (Clark) Akers poses with her Sparkle Screen SPF 30+ Sunscreen.
While many inventors share that opportunity is born of necessity, a Northwood University Florida alumna will happily add that what glitters can sometimes turn to gold.
"If you've ever tried to get an unwilling child to put on sunscreen, you can feel my pain," laughed Dianna (Clark) Akers, a 1990 graduate. "Our family is outside and in the sun a lot, so ensuring that we're able to protect our skin can be a constant challenge," said the Fort Lauderdale, Florida resident of her experience with trying to ensure that her daughters, ages seven and eight, have ample protection from the Sunshine State's glaring rays.
"I knew I had to develop a way to make the process of wearing sunscreen an enjoyable one, so I visited the local beauty supply store for glitter, but when I wasn’t happy with the choices, we continued searching until we found the right one,” explained the real estate agent of 12 years. "My daughters were fascinated by the idea, so I knew it would be helpful to other moms as well."
And her supporters would soon agree. While sitting poolside one afternoon, Akers' neighbor and friend Meredith Madsen was intrigued after seeing her apply the lotion to the girls, and later suggested they partner to bring the idea to life.
"It's been a great ride so far," smiled the inventor. "As we fast-forward less than one year later, we're distributing the patent pending product to over 90 outlets which range from high end hotels and resorts, to recreational vehicle parks, pharmacies, boutiques and more," said Akers who along with Madsen, who owns and advertising agency, envisions distribution channels to continue expanding from their current Florida, Carolina, Texas and Caribbean locations.
Officially called Sparkle Screen SPF 30+ Sunscreen with Glitter and natural ingredients, the product is just one of several the two plan to include in their line known as Glitter Tots, and Akers credits her Northwood experience for playing a role in much of the success she's gained thus far, with Sparkle Screen and other endeavors.
"It was daunting waiting through the stringent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for final acceptance, but by asking the right questions to understand the proper process, procedure and outcome, I soon got to the point where I became comfortable," said Akers who co-handles sales, marketing, invoicing and distribution for the company.
"I knew I had a great idea. Then all the economics, management and case study classes I took at Northwood naturally came into play along with memorable philosophy and ethics classes, and advice from honorable and successful business leaders. When I drew from all of these resources, conceptualizing the larger picture and prioritizing and managing all or the relevant parts, I was able to reinforce that I had a great product."
And the product ingredients have helped to boost sales as well.
"There are many different styles, shapes and sizes of glitter and even more sunscreens on the market, so a lot of research went into the formula for Sparkle Screen. We use only the highest quality non-metallic, BPA free cosmetic grade glitters,“ shared Akers of the product which comes in strawberry-vanilla and kiwi-pear scents and contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, coconut oil, aloe, vitamin E and a host of other natural ingredients.
"Knowing when to apply and re-apply are the most important directions to follow in order to get maximum protection from any sunscreen, but with Sparkle Screen if you don’t see the glitter, you know you’ve missed a spot, and when the glitter is gone you know it's time to re-apply, and frankly it's just down right pretty," added Akers of the patent pending idea.
Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.
Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in seven states with many course delivery options including online. The DeVos Graduate School offers accelerated, evening and weekend programming in Michigan, Texas and Florida. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise provides system-wide expertise in family enterprise, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and new business development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in China (Changchun and Wuxi), Malaysia and Sri Lanka.