Skip to content

Why we started Clair Obscur: Origin

It took a strange set of circumstances for us to even meet. As two entrepreneurs from opposite sides of the world with contrasting backgrounds — one who focused on tech and AI, the other who dabbled in baked goods, flowers, and business travel — we serendipitously found ourselves leading a fintech startup with a remote workforce. We had the good fortune to be tasked with running two company off-sites together — one in sunny Hawaii, the other in tropical Singapore. Through these brief but meaningful experiences, we happened to find a mutual interest in sun protection, and spent time in between meetings comparing sunscreens and sun protective gear from our respective home countries and cultures.

Flash forward two years after we first met, after we had sold the fintech company and were catching up about our career ambitions and next steps. Carylyne raised the possibility of launching a business together, something that would be more aligned with a personal passion. For her, two ideas were percolating — one related to tea (we've put that one on the back burner), and the other related to sunscreen.

When Carylyne raised the topic of sunscreen, and the fact that no sun care met her needs in terms of being a safe sunscreen formula that was also easy and delightful to apply, the idea instantly resonated with Emily. Having just had her first child, Emily had spent a considerable amount of time learning about the ingredients in products she was using and paid particular attention to the crowded and confusing sunscreen market. She had conferred with one of her close friends, Memorial Sloan Kettering dermatologist Veronica Rotemberg, MD, PhD, who had mused that there must be a better way to encourage people to wear sunscreen daily and reapply properly.