Laguna local Summer Meek takes readers behind the scenes of her brand while also touching on the importance of mindfulness and community.
By Sharon Stello
For Laguna Beach local Summer Meek, founder and CEO of The Soul Project, life is about love, mindfulness, connection, and salty skin and hair—the things that make her soul happy. These qualities have helped her endure the daunting COVID-19 pandemic, filling her with gratitude that her retail business was one of the ones that was able to survive.
The company, now 10 years old, focuses on comfy, cozy “mindfulness meets the beach” apparel. The Soul Project’s Laguna flagship store is known for its soft graphic T-shirts that promote mindfulness and well-being with positive messaging and inspiring images. As we continue to face the pandemic, these uplifting messages are just what the world needs.
Meek works with local artists to bring soul to her clothing designs. Her shirts are printed on-site in the store using earth-friendly ink.
The store also offers accessories and home goods that are eco-friendly and ethically sourced. These varied products are typically coming from women-owned, environmentally conscious businesses that you won’t find on Amazon or in big-box stores.
We recently caught up with Meek to get insight about her brand, the concept of mindfulness and her connection to the community.
What led you to create your business?
Summer Meek: The Soul Project started with the idea that there are special places in the world called “soul places.” They are those places where you instantly feel at home and can’t wait to return to. We originally worked with artists in such places to create our T-shirt designs. We have evolved to more mindfulness-inspired designs and work with a variety of graphic designers for the creations.
What is your current goal for The Soul Project?
SM: To bring an awareness of our surroundings and the impact we have on each other and the planet. Kindness is a big part of what we serve at The Soul Project. We want people to feel welcome when they visit the store. We are inclusive to all people.
What do you sell at the store?
SM: We carry men’s, women’s and children’s apparel that is soft and cozy with positive messaging, and accessories, such as jewelry, hats and tote bags. We also sell home and beauty products, like candles, journals, lotions, soaps, pottery, books and fragrances. Our products make great gifts. If you can’t visit the store, you can also buy online at soulproject.com.
Why is it important to you to have a connection to the local community?
SM: I wanted to offer something to the community that was wholesome, positive and didn’t have a detrimental impact. I don’t remember wanting to open a store necessarily, but I really do believe in the energy of the space.
How has your business been able to survive during the pandemic?
SM: I … [am familiar with] every aspect of my business and did it all myself until I could bring my employees back. Plus, I have a loyal customer base that was supportive and a lot of cheerleaders that wanted to see me pull it off. I am so grateful.
How and why do you practice mindfulness?
SM: I practice Soulful Sundays. It’s my time to recharge. I love to meditate, cook, garden, journal [or] take a walk on the beach. It’s important to have this downtime to reflect.