Micaela Churruca and Nicolás Calonje have been living in Dubai since 2018 and last year they created ‘Badawii Beachwear’. Its innovative designs, which have just arrived in our country, are made with UPF 50+ certified fabrics and protect the skin of the little ones while they bathe
“Badawii” means “Bedouin” in Arabic (badawiyy), and it is the name chosen by a young Basque couple for their colorful swimsuit project. He was born in the desert, and is inspired by Bedouin culture, “where the nomads covered themselves with light, but at the same time resistant clothing, to protect themselves from the sun during their long journeys through the desert”. Micaela Churruca and her husband Nicolás Calonje, both 33, moved to Dubai for work reasons right after their marriage. “We arrived almost with what we were wearing and now we already have a daughter, another on the way, a dog and a company,” they laugh. These entrepreneurs jumped into the pool after the birth of their first daughter, Catalina, in early 2021. In the midst of a pandemic, under many fears and complete uncertainty, they saw a clear opportunity. The brand has just landed “online” in Spain, and it’s a really interesting option for this summer. Your mission ? “We seek to educate other parents about the importance of protecting our children from the sun during childhood in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer in the future.”
Setting up a business in another country does not seem like an easy task, but our protagonists have more than succeeded. “My husband is a lawyer and comes from the consulting world. He was the commercial director of a Spanish company in Dubai, and had already set up several international subsidiaries, so he had experience in the sector”, explains this doctor specializing in dermatology. They recognize that launching Badawii at the time of the pandemic gave them dizzy, but within a few months they were already up and running and selling online.Today, Nicolás works in business management and operations, while Micaela combines her full-time job as a dermatologist at the American Hospital in Dubai with the product development part, ensuring that it meets the highest sun protection standards, in addition to dedicating itself to medical outreach. “I have always been very interested in the field of pediatric dermatology and skin cancer, and our project combines the two concepts”, he testifies.
Micaela Churruca, dermatologist. /
Developing a brand of children’s sun protection swimwear is an original and revolutionary idea, because there are not many similar companies in the world. “In Spain, the concept is very new, because traditionally we like to expose ourselves to the sun a lot without worrying too much about our health. In other parts of the world, such as Asia or Australia, awareness of the risks of exposure to the sun during childhood is very high and these products are used daily,” explains this young mother. She is optimistic on the issue and intends to educate the population through correct information and education. At Badawii, they also aspire to break the belief that sun protection clothing is ugly and boring. “From the beginning, we were clear that it was crucial that our products appeal to parents and their children, because the most effective way for children to protect themselves from the sun is that they love swimwear. and that they always want to use them”, underline the creators, for whom the beach is a place that calls for color.
Their products, which range from 35 to 50 euros, follow a very lively and young line, with a candy cane style and a rogue touch. “They are perfect for locating the little ones from afar. They are designed around sun protection, with the highest existing certification: UPF 50+. The acronym UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) indicates the amount of UV radiation (UVB and UVA) that penetrates the skin through a fabric. UPF 50 means that only 1 in 50 rays of sunlight pass through this fabric,” says Micaela. When creating, they always try to ensure that each model covers the maximum exposed skin surface, without forgetting that they must be practical and comfortable. At the moment, their offer covers full body swimsuits for babies (6-12 months, 12-18 months and 18-24 months), girls swimsuits (2-8 years) and unisex t-shirts (2 at 8 years old).
A dermatologist who has been active for many years, this woman from Bilbao defends tooth and nail the importance of instilling good habits of sun exposure and protection from an early age. “The most important thing is that mothers and fathers understand how sensitive their little ones’ skin is to the sun, and that inadequate sun protection during childhood is one of the most influential factors in the development of cancer. of the skin in adulthood. It is the most diagnosed cancer in the world and the vast majority could be prevented with adequate sun protection, as supported by countless scientific studies and dermatology associations, such as ” the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology”, “the American Academy of Dermatology” or “Skin Cancer Foundation”, she insists convinced.
‘Badawii Beachwear’ has just launched a new website, this time with a Spanish domain. The founders hope their designs will be as well received as they are in the Middle East, where they are also positioned in children’s clothing stores, swimwear stores, resorts and beach clubs. Its goal is to be in places where “parents can see it, buy it, and start using it.” This year, moreover, many novelties are ready to be launched on the market, such as accessories that add sun protection, such as caps and sunglasses. In addition, they may soon be encouraged to expand the size (big kids and adults) and create matching pant-like swimsuits. “We plan to make sun protection clothing for other occasions, such as outdoor sports. At the moment, we are closing a round of financing to expand our activities internationally, strengthen the internal structure of the company, develop new products and be more sustainable. We have a very ambitious plan to be present in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America in 2024”, conclude Nicolás and Micaela enthusiastically.