As a small, family-owned business, we love supporting the other small business in the Australian climbing scene. As part of this effort, we are rolling out a series of Q & As with some of the amazing local producers that we work with and running a little promo. In this installment, we chat with Brendand from Magic Bloc, the legend behind the environmentally-friendly and ethically-sourced skin care bloc.
How did you start climbing? What motivates you to keep climbing?
I started climbing in a local gym in Sydney and was lucky to have some amazing mentors who took me outdoors immediately and taught me all I needed to know to become an autonomous outdoor climber. For the following years I devoted all my energy to climbing and took great pleasure in travelling to experience different rock, natural environments and climbing communities. I am motivated by continually improving, seeking new challenges, visiting new places and meeting new climbers.
What do you do when you’re not working on Magic Bloc?
I also work in the renewable energy industry which keeps me very busy, however I always make time for climbing and my other current main passion Paragliding. Aside from outdoor pursuits I love spending time with my girlfriend Paige and my dog Buffy.
Can you tell us about Magic Bloc and what sets it apart from similar brands?
Magic Bloc is the ultimate training and travel companion. It is ideal for climbers as you can remove the block from its convenient packaging and rub through your fingers and trouble spots as required. Typically, this is fingertips and callouses. Unlike some other similar products, it is totally organic, free from nasty ingredients such as mineral oils, materials are locally sourced from ethical suppliers, each individual bloc is handmade with love, and in my opinion has the most pleasant feel and fragrance.
What gave you the idea to start Magic Bloc?
I've always greatly appreciated hand and skin care products, particularly on climbing road-trips, holidays and times of regular intense training. There is nothing worse than having skin hold you back from climbing to your full potential. Your muscles and fitness can recover quick day to day, but skin recovery is slower and often neglected. If not taken care of this issue can put an end to your trip or training routine. One of my favorite pastimes is sitting around a fire at the end of a good days climbing, soothing my tender worn down hands with a Magic Bloc and thinking about the next day’s climbing.
What was the development process like for Magic Bloc?
My goal was always to create a product for the climbers, made by climbers. To achieve the perfect balance of the qualities required for a good climbers balm (consistency, durability, not too greasy, fragrant, amazing healing properties) I trialed many, many recipes on my friends and took on feedback to improve the design accordingly. The end result was super pleasing and I was happy to be able to incorporate all the beneficial nourishing ingredients within the product I wanted to utilise.
Aside from COVID-19, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing local producers of climbing products?
Another main driver for producing Magic Bloc is to support local industry and reduce the unnecessary carbon footprint created from importing similar products. All the materials required for production are locally and ethically produced, so there is no need to look for a foreign imported version of the product. It is no secret that in a globalised world local producers often suffer due to the amount of competing, sometimes unethical, products on the market. COVID-19 has really shown us that we need to get back to our roots and support local economies as they will not abandon you when trade barriers are present.
What would you like to see happen with Magic Bloc in the future?
I would love to see more and more people climbing as much as they can, happy that their skin isn't holding them back. Magic Bloc is set to grow with the ever growing climbing community.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know this local legends! Don't forget to check out our promo and support all our awesome local producers.