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Meet Summer Meek of The Soul Project in Laguna Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Summer Meek.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Summer. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started The Soul Project in 2009. It was originally called Laguna Soul and was intended to be a “yoga meets the beach” apparel brand.

Never having launched a brand before I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I made some real mistakes along the way, the biggest of which was thinking that it was going to be easy.

Through a whole confluence of events in 2011, the concept evolved into The Soul Project.

The original idea was that there are special places in the world that I thought of as “Soul Places” They are those places where you instantly feel at home and can’t wait to return to.

When you find a soul place, it’s often really cool to buy the t-shirt, and I hit on the idea of having local artists in each of our soul places develop the graphics for all of our merchandise.

It was a good theory, but in practice was far more difficult to execute than I ever imagined.

Six years ago, I opened our Flagship in Laguna Beach to be able to tell our story more authentically and more effectively. To supplement our artist-driven line, we started putting surf slang on tees.

This surf series included Stoked, Rad, Shacked and Salty.

It’s funny now, but I can honestly say that before we opened the shop, I never saw the word Salty anywhere.

We realized so much success from our “word shirts” that we just naturally continued in that direction.

As my own personal mindfulness practice developed our message took on new meaning and I would say we have evolved today to be more “mindfulness meets the beach” with a lot of style and fun.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would not say it’s been a smooth road.

I am self-taught in every aspect of my business. In opening our retail boutique, there was so much I didn’t know. And yet we’ve survived the Retail Apocalypse and have just reopened after the COVID-19 shutdown.

I have come full circle in many ways, having originally started with online only and have now shifted our focus back to online while maintaining a retail presence that I believe is vitally important to our future… Daily interactions with my customers are where a lot of my inspiration comes from, and I am so happy to have our retail storefront back open.

Please tell us about The Soul Project.
The Soul Project has always been about the specialness of places and people.

We are known for our soft and cozy apparel with positive messaging and really cool graphics.

We carry unique products in addition to our own line with a focus on women-owned business and eco-friendly products. We became a certified green business in 2018 and print all of our products using eco-friendly ink and ethically sourced goods.

We have always been about inclusiveness and I show up each day to have a positive impact on everyone I come in contact with, it’s my personal motto. I feel that really shines through to our product to the experience of shopping in the store, and It’s how I add my drop of love every day…

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I grew up with a very talented and creative mom who is an artist and fashion designer, and a dad who is still an amazing surfer and was a San Clemente lifeguard for more than 30 years.

Most of my time was spent at the beach or working with my mom early in my life at The Sawdust Art Festival and later on, successful lines she designed for Nordstrom and some of LA & New York’s more prominent boutiques.

I have so many wonderful memories, but if you ask me to name a favorite it would have to be the summer at the Sawdust when I decided to be the delivery girl to take food orders and make sure they got delivered to all of the artists. I fashioned a tray out of an old soft drink crate and spent that summer getting to know everyone and earning tips for all of my hard work.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ketara Gadahn-Studio Alani, Style Report

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