Eczema affects up to 15 million Americans with up to 20% of infants experiencing the skin condition—some dealing with flare-ups for their entire lives.
Yet, when Megan Bre Camp saw friends with children suffering from eczema, she realized there was something she could do. Based on her time as a chef, Megan knew specific high-quality ingredients could help. While patiently waiting for her yearly holistic dental cleaning—Megan’s mind lit up with an idea.
What if she created a high-quality skincare line that helped more people who battled skin conditions, like dry skin or irritations? Her dream started to take form. Moreover, her brand would take skincare one step further and focus on sustainability and local resources.
“Within a week, I came up with the concept of all the supplies I needed to make the products. By the fifth day, I got my business license, and that afternoon, the brand was in three different shops” Megan says, as she looks back on those first few days after inspiration struck. “I was on fire that week and filled with inspiration.”
Megan’s mind was also swirling with all the value her products could deliver: lavender to calm, chest and muscle rub for minor aches and pains, products for chefs and gardeners to soothe their hard-working hands, masculine-feminine as a non-binary scent evocative of N. California, and sacred scents as a spiritual hormonal balance blend.
Summer Solace Tallow was officially in business, ready to provide highly nourishing, quality ingredients to its customers—with a package gifted directly to her friends and their children.
The Summer Solace Tallow Story
Summer Solace Tallow sells nourishing skincare and organic candles made with regional and regenerative ingredients. Megan’s belief that “we should have a connection to what we put on our skin and use in our homes—connecting to the land, environment and seasons and my community through the farmers’ market,” sparked her to build her brand around the Slow Body Movement™.
Unlike the big-name skincare brands that occupy the shelves of convenience and grocery stores, Summer Solace Tallow “encourages the use of all parts of the pasture-raised animal, embraces the Bay Area's seasonal shifts, and prioritizes organic and locally sourced ingredients. In this way, Summer Solace epitomizes the Slow Body Care Movement™.
Megan describes the ethos behind the Slow Body Care Movement™ as, “ a wise practice for sound health and nutrition to eat organic, seasonally, and regionally. What we put on our skin should also reflect our local environment—it's plants and animals that sequester carbon from the atmosphere and that are grown and grazed on regenerative soil, just as our ancestors have"
Megan puts it simply, “Every ingredient has a story that we can tell. I always wanted to source from the highest quality and ethically responsible communities. I wanted to work with people with a purpose.” And that’s exactly what she’s done.
Megan and her team source every single ingredient from the local California community. You won’t find highly-scientific, unpronounceable words on their ingredient list.
Instead, you’ll read about ingredients like tallow (fat) from Northern California regeneratively-raised Cattle or organic California-grown marigold flowers. Every ingredient is chosen with purpose and with integrity so customers can see the story behind its origin and the entirety of the product.
When customers buy Summer Solace Tallow from the local farmers’ market, they’re keeping their money close to home. “You’re investing in your community and the local economy,” Megan says proudly. She takes her role in talking with wholesale suppliers very seriously.
What’s her secret to finding high-quality ingredients and building long-term relationships with suppliers?
“It’s always been part of my business to pay attention to where everything comes from,” says Megan. “And it’s all about spending my days talking to farmers and ranchers.” She asks questions that ensure her vendors are aligned with her business values, and she’s also not afraid to pursue purveyors that she knows would be a great fit to her ingredient list.
Megan and her family produce Summer Solace Tallow products out of her commercially-zoned live/work space in Oakland. She prepares the products in the back kitchen and welcomes customers in the front office. Meanwhile, her website takes care of incoming online sales.
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Summer Solace Tallow in the Community
Summer Solace Tallow serves customers across the world—in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and even a U.S. military base in Guam. Megan realized early on that a blended in-person and online approach was the best way to run her business. With this hybrid model, she’s able to connect with her community in person and reach people outside of the Bay Area.
“[Selling] online is great because I get to reach the world with my website and give a visual with my story giving me access to those I couldn’t,” she explains. “Online, I love Shopify. When I made the switch from Squarespace to Shopify, it was a significant difference. It’s a more streamlined, efficient, smooth, and intuitive platform. Plus I had way more information on my sales performance than through Squarespace. I love ecommerce because you get to be creative on the web.”
Megan is a trusted voice in her community and notices the impact that her in-person presence has on online sales. After in-person events, she sees an uptick in sales over the next few days. She’s also learned that in-person sales require a friction-free experience.
Her husband appreciates the importance of a seamless in-person buying experience with Shopify POS. “The transaction is a social engagement, and you don’t want to ruin it. You can’t wrestle with the technology for 5 minutes.”
Megan adds, “A beautiful piece of hardware by Shopify is great for the in-person sale experience. You need to have everything efficient because people lose interest if you’re fiddling with things. It needs to be streamlined, efficient, quick, and fun.” By using Shopify POS, Summer Solace Tallow has proudly created a high-quality in-person experience.
Spending in-person time with her customers has also given her insight into who exactly she’s selling to. Five years ago, Megan’s customers were predominantly female between the ages of 40 and 65. Today, her customers are ages 22 to 70, and she’s also noticed an increase in her male demographic from 30% to 50% in just six months.
“It’s exciting to appeal to essentially all ages and demographics,” Megan says.
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The Summer Solace Tallow Promise
As Summer Solace Tallow continues to expand its SKU list and build more relationships with local farmers and vendors, Megan knows that part of business is making mistakes. “I’ve learned along the way and made mistakes like moving too fast and making impulsive decisions. These were mostly money-costing mistakes, like not sitting down to edit label copy and then ordering labels and marketing brochures with huge misprints. The mistakes I’ve made have helped me think and learn, and I’m grateful for them.”
She’s proudly built a team and organized it to mirror her experience as a professional chef, “During the pandemic, I created a beautiful team committed to the mission and the vision. I love being the chef and delegating to my ‘sous chefs.’” Her team consists of her husband as the CEO, an assistant, an HR individual, a photographer, copywriter, Media Marketing Manager, and artists who they collaborate with. As her team expands, Megan continues to focus her role on wholesale and learning about their businesses to make sure they’re the right fit for Summer Solace Tallow’s high standards.
Her expansion goal is to have a team that allows her to step back and focus on what she’s passionate about, like making the products and spending more time with her family.
Megan’s Slow Body Care Movement™ mentality means she’s not afraid to say no to suppliers that don’t align. It’s the reason her customers keep coming back as she continues to build her authority in the clean product space. Building Summer Solace Tallow is a priority of high-quality ingredients and trusted relationships, and that’s something Megan refuses to compromise on.
Summer Solace Tallow celebrates the Slow Body Care Movement™—and that’s not changing anytime soon.
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