Fives minutes with...Dion Nash

We caught up with the brains behind New Zealand born cult unisex skincare line Triumph & Disaster to discuss the brand's inception and journey.

When you came up with the idea for Triumph & Disaster, did you ever imagine it would be sold globally in hundreds of stores?

Honestly and at the risk of sounding like a show off, yes I did imagine it would sell globally. That was the goal from day one and in the first few months of having products to sell I jumped on a plane and flew to the USA to find distributors and agents. So although it’s always surprising and humbling to see your brand grow, it was always the plan to be a global player.

What has that kind of success felt like? 

Hard work, and it still feels like it. Nothing is taken for granted. Every win means more hard work to make that win count. In a way it’s unrelenting and unforgiving, but super satisfying and fun.

Why did you make the leap from cricket to cosmetics?

Well I wanted to see if I could build a global brand from New Zealand. That’s still my ambition. Cosmetics was something I felt I had a competitive advantage in that I had used skincare in an industrial setting to protect and sooth my skin after long days standing in the cricket field. In a way cricketers are the perfect test market for products, being exposed to sun, wind, environment, and needing to protect themselves each day. So I had developed my own routine that worked for me, but had been through a rigorous trial and error process. Then one day as the 42 Below marketing manager I was sitting in a meeting in New York and watched a guy pull out a hand cream in the meeting, on the way home I could not shake the thought that I could make better products for that guy and ones that appealed to an edgier personality type than versions of the cosmetics industry.

How involved are you in developing Triumph & Disaster products?

We use a team of chemists to assist us in developing completely bespoke and unique formulations. The general ethos and direction of clean, green, scientifically proven products is now set. We try to use NZ ingredients where we can and there is some great science out there that shows the efficacy of our native ingredients to be world class. As far as my involvement, I am involved from conception to launch at every step. However what used to be something I owned outright, is no longer the case, instead I am now just part of a larger team. Ultimately we leave a lot on the cutting room floor, we challenge ourselves to always evolve the category and do better than what currently exists in the market. If we do not meet this standard we do not push on, we do not want to be a ‘me too’ range.

Why do men need a skincare routine too?

Everyone needs a regimen. Basic rituals that improve skin health and in the process make us feel better equipped to embrace the day. We believe by creating products that facilitate these rituals we are improving people’s lives. To us it’s not about vanity but it’s about wellness. Healthy skin requires discipline, effort, good diet and exercise programs and regular attention. Consistent routine and natural effective products will improve skin health, and men just like women enjoy the benefits of healthier skin.

Can women use Triumph and Disaster products or is the brand purely marketed towards men?

Absolutely, we already have a strong base of female users. Clearly we are better known as more masculine products, but this is starting to change. To us the future is a genderless proposition where our brand will be defined on the performance of the products and the ethos and philosophy of the brand. That will appeal along taste and style lines not gender.

How important is the packaging of your products? Do you want it to convey some sort of message?

Design is an important aspect of our brand and something we pride ourselves on. In regards to the message – we really just want to be a brand that Kiwis can be proud of for having tried a little harder and for having cared about design and delivered on some kind of promise.

What is the advantage of using natural ingredients but combining this with science?

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 traditional synthetic cosmetic ingredients – part from the cost of production : ).

What are the best-selling products?

Ritual - Face Cleanser closely followed by Gameface Moisturiser – both unisex and that’s the reason they have really taken off in terms of sales numbers as they have double the audience of things like shave cream. We have a particular fan base of Asian females for the ritual cleanser and the Rock & Roll Suicide – Volcanic Ash & Green Clay Face Scrub; we love this fact and feel that this is a huge endorsement for the performance of the products.

What is your personal favourite product and why?

Gameface Moisturiser – everyday twice a day. It has proven lift and tightening properties due to Ponga fern polysaccharide’s that tone the skin. – I love this product. No.2 is the new Logic face toner – great for any blemishes or adult acne – killer product.

What does Triumph & Disaster have lined up next?

Products that further encourage women to join the brand. More opinions, more honesty, more challenging of the established anti-ageing faux science pushers that pervade the industry. A continued commitment to raising our own internal standards and demanding more and better for the customer.