Pictured: Dion Nash
It's also enough time to scratch the surface of what Triumph & Disaster is all about. Recently, founder Dion Nash took five minutes with About Man to share some insights into his brand, its history and purpose.
His chat with the team provides an in-depth look at Triumph & Disaster.
The beginning – Triumph & Disaster is an iconic Kiwi brand, and fast becoming strong internationally, how did the concept start?
I started out in life as a sports jock. A cricket-mad sports jock to be precise, I chased this as far as I could and was lucky enough to play professionally and represent New Zealand for a decade before retiring due to a series of back injuries. In hindsight, this was a lucky twist of fate as it gave me time to refocus and have another dig, so to speak. After sport, I ran into Geoff Ross and the guys setting up New Zealand Vodka brand 42Below and hung on to their shirttails long enough to learn a bit about selling, branding and marketing, all of which sort of leads me to today.
Skincare was a more natural calling that you might think. It's actually very close to a cricketers heart because when you stand in the sun and wind every day for hours on end, you learn to appreciate the finer points of a moisturiser, sunscreen and the joy of exfoliation. So I felt like I had an industrial knowledge of the category, and I had learnt some skills I wanted to put into practice.
The name comes from Rudyard Kipling. At about 13 years of age my father gave me a framed poem called ‘IF’ by him. The poem is advice from a father to his son on how to be a man. It is about humility, honour, risk and reward. Values that would help mould a brand, capable of reminding us that acts of ritual and preparation are worthy endeavours and that being well presented is something of which to be proud. So when a tattered old poem that my dad had given me years before was uncovered in the bottom of an old chest and I read the line, ‘if you can meet with Triumph & Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’, well, the deal was done and the brand was born.
The rest of story, as they say, is still ahead of us…
Your mantra – With nature as the basis for your products, what is the Triumph & Disaster philosophy?
Ashes to ashes dust to dust – what comes from the earth goes back to it. There really is no excuse to use synthetics and nasty chemicals anymore. Perhaps there never was. The latest green science is better than anything else out there and utilises ingredients that the body has become familiar with over thousands of years in nature, and therefore are gentle on it. It was a simple choice, especially when you start to dig into some of the ingredients that have become commonplace. Take denatured alcohol for example – it's only there as a form of paint thinner, it has no place in skin care. So we believe in natural, natural, natural.
The skin has been exposed to our ingredients for thousands of years. We know they are non-toxic and safe. Synthetic chemicals cannot make the same claim. Natural feels better on the skin and interacts better with our skins' chemical balance. We are seeing that the clinical trials are proving the same levels of effectiveness of performance for things like skin tightening, toning, lifting and healing across the board. So we see no upside at all in using traditional synthetic cosmetic ingredients – apart from the cost of production.
Point of difference – How do your products vary from other skin care products?
We use a lot of native NZ and Pacific region ingredients. These make our formulations entirely bespoke and unique in the world, but also they make for incredibly effective ingredients that we have drawn from Polynesian traditional medicine and culture. Below are a couple of standouts;
Horopito – Horopito is an ancient herb that grows only in New Zealand. A sturdy shrub that has survived 65 million years by developing chemicals that resisted not only animals and insects but also microbes like fungi and bacteria. The plant also contains powerful antioxidant flavonoids, including quercetin and taxifolin. Indigenous Maori used Horopito to treat wounds, as a tea tonic, as a poultice and they chewed it for toothache. We use it to treat blemishes as a sterilising agent in our Gameface moisturiser.
Oil of Tamanu – from Tahiti. Used for centuries in Vanuatu and Tahiti. Often referred to as ‘miracle oil’, Tamanu oil possesses a unique capacity to assist the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and the growth of healthy skin. Tamanu oil is employed by Polynesian women for promoting healthy, clear, blemish-free skin, and is also used on babies to prevent diaper rash and skin eruptions. We use it in our Face Cleanser as it is a great treatment for skin irritations and mild acne.
Ponga Fern – polysaccharides extracted from the fern, when applied to the skin in lotion form, have been clinically proven to have an immediate mechanical tightening effect that decreases wrinkles and increases tonicity and firmness. So we think it makes for a killer ingredient in our Gameface moisturiser.
Can’t live without – From your range of products, what’s your fav and why?
1. Gameface moisturiser every day, twice a day. It has proven lift and tightening properties due to Ponga Fern polysaccharide’s that tone the skin. I love this product
2. Our new Logic face toner, great for any blemishes or adult acne – killer product.
The future – Where do you see Triumph & Disaster in 5 years?
More products that give greater permission to women to come to the brand. A continued commitment to raising our own internal standards and demanding more and better for the customer.