Suncare Legend

Ron Rice and Wendy Holly are excited about the launch of Habana Brisa, a new suncare line of products.

Legendary suncare entrepreneur Ron Rice is at it again.

At age 81, Mr. Rice is launching a new line of reef-friendly suncare products under the Habana Brisa brand.

Unlike Hawaiian Tropic, which Mr. Rice started by mixing a batch in a bucket in his Daytona Beach garage, this time he hired some chemists.

Instead of starting with guerrilla marketing sales from the trunk of his car as he did with Hawaiian Tropic, the Habana Brisa line of adult and child lotions and sprays is available at habanabrisa.com and in retail stores.

Just as Mr. Rice did with Hawaiian Tropic, Habana Brisa also will launch in motorsports as primary sponsor of the No. 4 JD Motorsports Habana Brisa Chevrolet and driver Bayley Currey in the NASCAR Xfinity series.

“Returning to racing with Habana Brisa was an easy decision, as I have always had a special place in my heart for NASCAR,” Mr. Rice said in a news release. “Having had a long history with NASCAR we could not think of a better team to partner with for Habana Brisa.”

Mr. Rice’s long history with racing includes sponsoring driver Donnie Allison, cars driven by David Pearson and Neil Bonnett, and drag racer Bayley Currey. He also sponsored actor Paul Newman and Rolf Stommelen in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979.

Wendy Holly serves as chief business officer for Habana Brisa. She started working for Mr. Rice when she was 16 as a model and went on to a successful career. including as an executive at American Express.

“She and I are excited to work together to launch my new reef-friendly suncare company, Habana Brisa,” Mr. Rice stated in an email. “I’ve always loved racing and am proud to launch Habana Brisa here in Ormond Beach.”

Ms. Holly said “reef friendly” means Habana Brisa is better for the environment. It does not include two harmful chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are found in shampoos, sunscreens, lipstick, nail polish and skin creams.

“It’s not just reef friendly, it’s better for the environment because it has less chemicals,” Ms. Holly said. “It’s not only reef friendly, but reef and inland waters friendly. All of the Habana Brisa products are non-GMO and vegan.”

Plus, she said, there’s another pleasing benefit.

“The interesting thing about Habana Brisa, or the nice thing, is it smells really nice and fresh,” Ms. Holly said. “It’s not a scent you would only wear at the beach, for example, you could wear it every day.”

Marketing at auto racing events makes sense, she said.

“When you’re at the racetrack and you’re in the sun -- everyone needs protection,” Ms. Holly said.

Mr. Rice and Ms. Holly are both Ormond Beach residents. Habana Brisa is manufactured in Ormond Beach and HavSun Florida of Ormond Beach is the distributor.

Mr. Rice built Hawaiian Tropic into an $8 billion brand, which he sold for $83 million to Platex in 2007.

“We thought this was a great way for him to bring back his love of racing and his love of the sun-care industry as well,” Ms. Holly said.

Habana Brisa is Spanish for Havana Breeze.

A one-time chemistry teacher, Mr. Rice is hands-on with his formulas, which includes natural oils, fruit extracts and are infused with vitamin E.

“Ron and I have always stayed good friends,” Ms. Holly said. “When I had the opportunity to work with him to launch this company and support him, I think the world of him. He’s an amazing entrepreneur and a great marketing mind. So, I took the opportunity to work with a trusted friend and to help make this a great brand.”

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