Today is National Pharmacist day. In honor of our founder, Dr. Summer Kramer, we will be celebrating! Today is a day to recognize and honor all pharmacists across the nation. Take a moment to thank your pharmacist for helping you to feel better and always being there in your time of need.
Part of our celebration includes shining the spotlight on Dr. Kramer and her commitment to helping other through both her work as a pharmacist and her creation of SUMMERSKIN.
In 2007, a then 26-year-old Summer Kramer, was a successful pharmacist based in Portland, Oregon, who was stunned to be diagnosed with melanoma on her lower leg. Especially because Kramer had lived in Western Oregon most of her life — a region known more for its rain than its sunburns.
Fortunately, the melanoma was detected early. Following surgery, she was told to cover all exposed skin . . . . for the rest of her life.
Kramer was relieved, emotional – and furious.
Angry at herself for tanning. Angry at the sun for being hurtful. Angry at the apparel industry for not offering stylish, sun protective clothing for someone who – essentially identified herself as a fashion-conscious twenty-something.
“There are a lot of sport-centric UPF (ultraviolet protective factor) clothes out there for athletes,” Kramer said. “But nothing stylish I’d choose to wear to a concert or to a BBQ with friends.”
Because Kramer is a board-certified pharmacist; she knew a thing or two about research. She laser-focused her anger into action and a mantra of sun protection for others. She studied exactly which textiles blocked the most dangerous forms of sunlight without chemical additives.
“Basically, I decided I was going to create fashion that didn’t announce to the world that I was wearing ‘SPF clothes’,” Kramer said.
She bought a fashion sketchpad, and in her spare time, feverishly sketched styles she’d choose to wear: blouses, skirts, hats and scarves in classic silhouettes and sumptuous colors.
A year later, in 2013, Kramer officially launched SUMMERSKIN.
Kramer, now a mother to a 4-year-old and full-time business owner, might be described as the Jessica Alba of the UPF clothing community. Kramer is also a 30-something of a certain “do-good / do-better” generation and is raising a young family. Creating merchandise with a purpose plus a personal connection and a public message is a winning combination in an era when consumers have instant access to research, reviews and choice.
Improving sales isn’t Kramer’s highest goal. She literally wants to see melanoma numbers drop in her daughter’s lifetime. Her website and blog are part storefront and part skin health and sun protection awareness campaign.
“Our 10-year vision is to reach 10 million people and increase awareness about the importance of sun protection,” Kramer said. “Skin cancers can be avoided and sun-damage aging can be slowed. . . I have an opportunity to change the course of someone’s life by sharing facts about sun protection I didn’t know early enough.”
And, she means business.