What do you do when someone you know tells you they have just been diagnosed with cancer- but you can’t visit them? What do you do when your best friend’s mother passes away, and that friend is on the other side of the county- or the other side of the world? It’s impossible to put a “hug” into a box, and yet that is, perhaps, exactly the most-needed thing. These kinds of situations, and resulting dilemmas, were what drove two enterprising women, sisters-in-law Naomi Beck and Megan Beck, to put together their collective creativity to form an enterprise, perfectly named, Solace, that would help others send remembrances that would “speak” for them.
“Our desire to start (Solace) began in sorrow, reflecting on personal hardships and our ache for others in seasons of pain, loss, or trauma, ” the co-founders write on the company’s web site. “Not finding gifts in the market that felt like adequate expressions of care became our opportunity…” For these two enterprising women, necessity became “the mother of invention.”
“We all know how heavy tragedies and personal struggles are to bear alone,” Megan Beck says, “so my desire is to give more people the words and the ability to do something that makes it undaunting and uncomplicated act upon care. It can change everything.”
The result of their searching, as the Solace website indicates, the company helps someone “find the perfect gift of care for someone in a season of pain.” The company offers beautifully packaged gift collections with themes of “Calming,” “Comfort,” “Uplifting,” and “Wellness.”
“There are a myriad of different pains that people encounter in life,” Naomi Beck says. “I wish that no one ever had to experience the hardship but it is simply a fact… My greatest hope is that by providing a simple way to show others that we care, we can help lighten each other’s load as we all try to find our way in this heartbreaking, crazy, beautiful world.”
One might say we could all use a little uplift right about now, so we’ll start with the “Uplifting” gift set. This ingenious collection includes a cozy midnight blue cashmere blanket scarf, a company-designed journal and coloring book with a set of colored pencils, and a glass tea infuser travel bottle with a wonderful tea blend made from elderflower, orange peel, ginger, peppermint, eucalyptus, sage and sweet apple. It also includes an engraved white jade “Serenity” stone, a eucalyptus-mint gold-tinned candle, and a private label body toner made with several lovely things including white grapefruit oil The Solace founders indicate this to be the perfect gift for anyone suffering from depression or loneliness, and for anyone “you’d just like to hug in person” (but can’t now…) The thoughtful gift package design does not stop here: a matching card comes along with the package which the company will personalize for the sender with message and signature.
Solace also presents its “Comfort” collection, a remembrance suitable for someone experiencing the loss of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, or other types of loss. The “Calming” collection is offered to be given to someone who is dealing with anxiety, stress, PTSD, or any kind of mental or emotional upheaval. The “Wellness” collection is offered to be given to someone who is struggling with cancer, illness, medical treatments, or any other type of physical ailment. These premium collections are priced at $95 each. Solace also offers other, smaller combinations of their signature items offered at lower prices.
Close examination bears out that these two genius entrepreneurs’ hard work paid off: the items sampled from their “Calming” collection all prove to be amazing in both intention and purpose as well as design and quality. The signature Solace dark blue cashmere scarf is soft and warm, perfect for a moment of chill or just a moment of wishing to feel hugged. The massage tool is not only sturdy and useful for undoing muscle knots, but also beautifully made of the prettiest of wood. The combination of the aromatherapy care derived from the specially infused stress clay (or “dough”) and the proprietary blend of herb tea does wonders for even stolen moments to seek relaxation. All these invite the recipient to take some time of respite, or even rescue, with the accompanying journal (authored by Megan Beck) and excellent quality colored pencils to attend not only to physical stresses but also emotional. The affirmations in Beck’s nicely designed journal are appreciated and would be well-received by anyone lucky enough to be presented with this thoughtful collection of care.
“It was a long journey to delve into research and trial until we felt satisfied we could offer gifts that truly connected with hardship and lent a helping hand through,” the company founders share on their web site. And they’ve done a great job of finding like-minded artisans and experts who can provide the high-quality items they seek for inclusion in their kits.
“We have been overwhelmed by the joy of bringing something beautiful amidst pain, and hope you will be too,” the company founders share on their web site.
Custom gift collections are available, as are corporate gifting orders- perfect for the holidays. If you are intrigued, hurry on over to the web site as there is currently a 15% off sale event taking place for a limited time during the holiday season.
An interview with the Enterprising Women of Solace below:
-MC for Splash: Especially with our world in the state it is in right now, we sense that your business can bring a lot of goodness into the world, one “gifting” at a time. How does this make you feel?
Naomi & Megan: We feel incredibly motivated! We could never have imagined the wave of hardship that would hit the world when we envisioned our company in 2019. Our inspiration then had been deeply-felt compassion for those in our lives who were dealing with all kinds of pain – physical, mental, and emotional – and how we couldn’t find gifts that adequately showed empathy and help in their struggle. We only felt more strongly about our mission in the months that followed. As sad as it was to watch and share in, it really fueled our desire to have solace gifts be a part of a solution, a way people could reach out to those they can’t hug in person with an expression of care that acknowledges the hardship and helps them through it. In the current state of society, we know there is so much more need, so we’re eager to spread the word that, more meaningful than flowers and beyond words in cards, there are intentionally designed, easy-to-send gift collections that can lighten anyone’s season of hardship.
-MC for Splash: When it all boiled down from amazing (and much-needed) concept to putting details on paper, what some of the initial steps that helped you bring your dream into fruition?
Naomi & Megan: We started with our desired end result – the positive impact we wanted to see. Weunderwent thorough research into the most common struggles that we face – such as losing a loved one, battling cancer or another illness, and dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, or stress – and from there sought out products that best helped them. We then named the gift collections and mini gift sets by words that describe the desired result a sender hopes for their lives, whether it be calming, comfort, wellness, uplifting, relaxing, soothing, or brightening. From there, it was a whirlwind of logistics, commissioning an artist, vetting vendors, securing our trademark, developing the website, and everything else that goes with starting a small business – and all of this from opposite sides of the country! However, we feel incredibly lucky to have had each other as business partners each step of the way since we have complementary skill sets and we’ve helped each other stay focused on our goal.
-MC for Splash: What would you say were your biggest “problems to opportunity” encountered with the start-up of your business?
Naomi & Megan: At times, it would seem like there was an insurmountable mountain of logistics involved in bringing our dream to fruition! However, we never wanted to take short-cuts to ensure that gift recipients were deeply impacted. So, we kept everything internal – bookkeeping, financing, marketing, etc. – to help preserve the ethos of the company. This was challenging, but we’re very satisfied with the results it has produced. Another of the biggest problems we faced is related to the pandemic. As for many companies, it affected the supply chain, and for us, it was right when our gifts were in production. However, the small businesses we partnered with throughout the country pushed through and, despite some delays, we arrived at that elated moment where we packed our first boxes with the exact products that we believed they should have.
-MC for Splash: How did you go about selecting, specifically (as much or little as you care to share) the (amazing) items to include in each “kit” and choosing your partner suppliers?
Naomi & Megan: There was, again, a ton of research that went into this – but it was so worth it! We started by asking, “In this kind of need, what is the most helpful? What acknowledges the hurt and helps someone through it?” We wanted the gifts to be beautiful but also practical, inspiring, and refreshing to use. Our next step, finding the right experts to partner with who could develop the custom products. We were very selective because of our high-quality standards and our desire to work along with artisans and experts who truly shared our vision. In the end, we were delighted to find East Coast soy blending candle makers in the “Bright Hope Company”, New York tea blenders at Heavenly Tea Leaves, a lovely aromatherapy dough maker at “The Squeeze Dough” in Missouri, Washington-based wildflower seed paper makers, and innovative body product chemists and designers in California who captured the vision of care and customized products to fit the unique solace look and intention.
-MC for Splash: At this point in the journey, what’s the most important thing(s) you’d like people to know about the non-tangible aspects of what you’d like to accomplish through your (ingenious) commercial enterprise?
Naomi & Megan: We are here to come alongside people to help them express care. We believe our work can help senders and receivers connect on a deeper level, with the compassion expressed through a solace gift practically helping people through hard times and feel the embrace of another’s care all the while. We don’t want the awkwardness or uncertainty of not knowing what to do or say when you find out that someone has cancer, opens up about depression, or expresses some other struggle, to prevent you from doing anything at such a critical time in someone’s life. We’ve done the research and curated the gifts so that others are equipped with the perfect expression of care when a need arises.
-MC for Splash: What is a “day in the life like” for each of you, especially now during holiday, with this enterprise? And when you’ve not hard at work with Solace, what else are you working on?
Naomi & Megan: Right now, our daily challenge is getting the word out to the most people! We feel the weight of responsibility to let as many people as possible know that there is this new and simple way to send gifts for encouragement and compassion. We’re running specials at www.sendsolace.com to allow more to try the gifts for their own self-care and for spreading the love to others as well, so that we can keep promoting a culture of compassion in such a time as this. For us, acts of compassion are everything, so when we’re not developing our company solace, Megan is tutoring kids who need extra help with at-home learning and Naomi is working at her local food bank, developing an app to get groceries from local pantries delivered to those with food security issues and helping with the eviction crisis due to the pandemic. We’re a world in pain right now, so we feel the call to bring solace in every way we can!
-MC for Splash: Please feel free to add any comments you’d like here.
Naomi & Megan: We’ve been blown away by people’s response to solace – it gives us hope for humanity that so many do care and want to be there for each other. We’re so grateful to share our story with the readers of Splash, and we’ll definitely keep you in the loop about our journey with solace from here!