ELLE Exclusive: Brazilian Beauty Brand Sol de Janeiro’s Co-Founder On What Made It Go Viral

sol de janeiro

When it comes to viral products, I have my reservations because not all that’s shown on social media stands the test of time. When I got Sol de Janeiro in a media kit (from Nykaa where the brand is available exclusively in India), I had my apprehensions. After spending hours on the ‘gram consuming beauty content, I wasn’t oblivious to Bum Bum cream’s popularity; I had to try it.

For the record, I go tough on my reviews, so I went into minute details while trying Sol de Janeiro products, especially Bum Bum cream. From texture to ingredients and fragrance to packaging, I consider all aspects. The brand has recently launched its campaign called Time To Celebrate You and I got a chance to speak to the brand’s CEO & co-founder Heela Yang Tsuzuki about the brand, its cult-offerings, and brand ethos.

Excerpts from the Interview with Sol de Janeiro CEO & Co-founder, Heela Yang Tsuzuki

Sol De Janerio

ELLE: Bum Bum Cream is now a cult favourite. Tell us about the making of this product, some unusual, unknown facts that people aren’t aware of.

Heela Yang Tsuzuki: Brazilian Bum Bum Cream was created out of a real passion in my dining room at a time when body care was primarily a utility product, and the firming cream market was very small. When it launched in 2015, it was unusual for a luxe beauty brand to use a gourmand fragrance instead of something citrusy or floral, but it was the right fit for Sol de Janeiro. Brazilian Bum Bum Cream has a signature fragrance base of pistachio and vanilla. 

We call this scent Cheirosa 62; Cheirosa means to ‘smell incredibly good and delicious’ in Portuguese. Cheirosa ’62 is named after 1962, the year Brazil became globally known for its culture when Havaianas flip flops became popular, Bossa Nova played at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the first time, and ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ song was released.  

Sol De Janerio

ELLE: While the skin care industry focuses on the skin on the face, you have built a brand known and loved for its body care products. How did you decide on it and why?

HYT: I drew inspiration from my experience of living in Brazil. At the time, I was pregnant, and the idea of going to the beach in a tiny Brazilian bikini was new to me and challenged my own body confidence! I saw the way Brazilian women felt comfortable in their own skin–all shapes, sizes, and skin tones – and it inspired me.  I was pregnant, but in the tiniest bikini, at my heaviest in my life, yet never felt so liberated.  

This led to the creation of Sol de Janeiro and our brand ethos, “Love it. Flaunt it. You’ve got it.” Our mission became an obsession to spread this sense of non-judgment, joy and confidence that I experienced on the beach. 

Sol De Janerio

ELLE: How does the campaign ‘Time to Celebrate You’ resonate with the brand ethos?

HYT: Sol de Janeiro exists to spark endless self-celebration and joy through the power and warmth of the Brazilian spirit. In Brazil, ‘beautiful’ isn’t a standard but an attitude. It’s the confidence from feeling good in your skin. With a lifestyle born in the hot sands of Rio de Janeiro, we accept, embrace, hug and celebrate everybody, every curve, every fold, every truth. Treating our skin every day comes as naturally as showering or brushing our teeth. It’s more than a daily do – it’s an exciting and invigorating part of our day. Hence the creation of this campaign. We want our consumers to celebrate their bodies now – and always. ‘It’s time to celebrate YOU’. 

ELLE: What Indian market will see next from Sol de Janeiro?

HYT: We are excited to continue expanding our product categories and address the needs of our consumers with the launch of the Bum Bum Body Firmeza Oil, a (visibly) firming and depuffing body oil for the most divine skin. Closely following, we will expand our renowned perfume mist franchise with the launch of Rio Radiance, a solar floral fragrance with notes of leite de coco (coconut milk), solar tuberose and warm sand.

Sol De Janerio

ELLE: While the market is tough and almost saturated, how does Sol de Janeiro stand apart? 

HYT: We are obsessed with capturing Brazil’s spirit and beauty secrets authentically with a full-on sensorial collection of the finest and most efficacious products infused with nutrient-rich ingredients and mood-boosting scents. In addition, we work extremely hard to stay connected to our consumers of today while staying ahead to delight them. For example, no one was asking for our Brazilian Bum Bum Cream when we launched it, and now our customers cannot live without it.  

ELLE: Lastly, what made you think of the name Sol de Janeiro?

HYT: Our brand name, Sol de Janeiro, is inspired by the highest point of the Brazilian summer sun, also known as the “Sun of January.” We are a brand that aims to bring the joy and warmth of summertime to people all year round, no matter where they are in the world. 

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