How Success Happened for Holly Thaggard, Founder of Supergoop

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Growing up, Holly Thaggard always wanted to be a teacher, but what she didn’t realize after just one year in the classroom was that it could take on a very different, nontraditional meaning for herself and her career when she created Supergoop.

Holly Thaggard

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A little over two decades ago, Thaggard was shocked to find out that her close friend was diagnosed with skin cancer at age 29. She spent countless sleepless nights researching how this could happen at such a young age, and she consulted another close friend who was doing her residency in dermatology at the time. She confirmed what Thaggard herself was learning: The sun exposure we get daily, starting at a young age, can impact your skin health later in life. Thaggard was stunned, and she was determined to spread the word.

The one antidote to all of this — SPF — left a lot to be desired back then. Similar to how she approached teaching third grade for a brief year out of college, Thaggard knew that it would be easier to inspire change in consumer behavior through wonderful, feel-good, game-changing product innovation rather than through traditional scare tactics around the word cancer. So, she got to work.

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Thaggard likes to say that what happened in 2006 with the launch of Supergoop wasn’t just a reinvention of SPF ⁠— it was the creation of an entirely new consumer category. And she’s right. She put SPF on the map.

In addition to being an impressive educator on her entrepreneurial journey, Thaggard has an airtight mission — to change the way the world thinks about sunscreen — that keeps her focused. She also knows the importance of asking for help from her team when she needs it.

When it comes to product, her philosophy is simple: Anything with Supergoop’s name on it has to be clean, feel-good and innovative. For SPF, it can be tricky to check all the boxes, yet she’s managed to do so. She launched the brand with the world’s first-ever oxybenzone-free SPF, and today, its formulas nourish the skin while also providing full-spectrum protection from UV rays, blue light, infrared radiation and more.

It’s no wonder that her vision has led to numerous personal awards and accolades, and Supergoop itself is soaring. The brand has increased revenue 20 times in the last five years (its DTC business alone doubled in size in 2020), while also leading the global conversation around the importance of wearing sunscreen every single day.

Today, Thaggard remains focused on product innovation and development, and acts as a vocal advocate for sun and skin health on Capitol Hill. And, as she often likes to say, she “can’t stop, won’t stop” anytime soon.

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