Over time, as a pagan festival, it became a less prominent holiday in some countries as Christianity gained momentum. However, various countries and regions still celebrate the first day of May as a new awakening; the start of a growing season; or simply the signal it is time to emerge from the long, dark months of Winter.
Here in the deserts of the Southwest, or Southern coastal regions, we don’t wait for May to leave our dens, but it is still a reminder to appreciate an outdoor lifestyle, and a great excuse to party.
However, May Day is also a good time to remind ourselves to be sun-savvy. Whether your thoughts turn towards boating on a lake, lounging on a beach, or splashing through the sprinklers in your backyard, the dreaded UV (ultra violet) rays are ever-present.
I’m not going to turn this into a scare-article on the dangers of too much sun exposure. There are plenty of other sources for that. And frankly, I’m not sure anyone knows how much is too much, short of getting burned.
But what I do know is that excessive sun exposure does accelerate the aging of our skin. That part isn’t rocket science.
Oh, sure… a nice, healthy tan looks great, but once someone turns 30-something, you can start to distinguish the sun worshipper from someone who has resisted the temptation.
As a company, Applied Health had three motives for introducing sun protection products and recommendations:
First, we are primarily an “anti-aging” company, having started in late 90’s as simply a way to provide products to improve a few of our health frustrations, and restore our egos to a former glory (okay, so maybe that was just my ego). Being smart about caring for our skin helps reduce wrinkles, and maintain the tone of youthful skin… and is one component to looking and feeling young. A no-brainer, right?
The second reason is because, several years ago, we were suddenly thrust into an awareness of the dangers of skin cancer. We did not plan this education as a progression of our business plan. Instead, this was a forced education due to the news that my nephew, TJ, was diagnosed with an aggressive melanoma. He was only 23 years old when we lost him. This tragedy contributed to our motivations that led to the next reason…
Solar Eclipse became an early expression of how sun protection can be more convenient than an umbrella, and more attractive than a burka.
The third reason why we decided to promote sun awareness, and sun-protective products, was to continue the tradition of offering American-made products by one of our friends, who we will call Mary Kay – mostly, because that is her name… and because she hates it when I call her Pete.
Mary Kay started a company, way back in the mid-90’s, called “Solar Eclipse“, before it was fashionable to be in the sun protection business. Her motivation for becoming sun-savvy was also a very personal one; her husband passed away from melanoma shortly before she started the company.
Solar Eclipse became an early expression of how sun protection can be more convenient than an umbrella, and more attractive than a burka. Their clothes were synonymous with good, ol’-fashioned, American-made quality and comfort.
“American Made” used to mean something… and to Mary Kay’s credit, she was committed to ensuring the meaning was not lost on clothes that wore her company name, steadfastly holding to her convictions that her clothes would be designed and made by Americans, in America… period.
So why am I telling you all this? Because it is no secret that – like so many industries – these days, most everything in the clothing industry is imported from overseas, mostly China.
For several years, Mary Kay gave it a good fight to keep Solar Eclipse exclusively made in the U.S., but the downward price pressures of competitive clothing from China is daunting. Combine a busted economy with an influx of cheap (price and quality) clothing from China, and you have an unfortunate combination of obstacles stacked against a truly wonderful lady who cherished her customers as a family, wanting to provide quality protection, with the hope they would never experience the loss of a loved one to melanoma.
Sadly, sometimes valiant efforts result in little more than a bunch of beat up and spent warriors, out of ammo, energy, and time. However – sometimes – their commitment to a cause so inspires others, their legacy is carried forth in the battle cry of a new generation, who wield the banner of purpose and conviction.
I suggest a bold example of how one’s efforts can inspire others simply by wondering aloud where Texas would be today were it not for the occupants of the Alamo during the Texas revolution. General Santa Anna wasted so much time trying to root out those stubborn rascals from within the walls of that little mission, when he finally won the battle, he had lost the war. While the Mexican army was laying siege to the Alamo, General Sam Houston was preparing his forces to meet, greet, and beat Santa Anna only 6 weeks later, earning victory for the revolution, and the independence of Texas from Mexico.
It is said each of Houston’s men fought with the ferocity of 10 – outnumbered and outgunned by the Mexican army, but not outdone – for they shared the banner of purpose, and charged into imposing odds with a common battle cry, “Remember the Alamo”.
Okay, so perhaps I am being a little melodramatic, but my point is, because of Mary Kay’s efforts in the past, we chose to pick up her banner and do our best to carry it into the future by offering the remaining units of her Solar Eclipse products.
In the coming days, we will be adding her items to our online store, notifying you when we add new products. Some of the items will be discontinued after the stock is gone, but we are hoping to find additional sources for similar items that we can have made that meet her requirements.
At this point, we are not positive we can find American manufacturers, anymore. I know we can still get the sun-protection sleeves made here, but we have bumped into several roadblocks for other products.
One thing that would help us is to hear from you – the customer – about what you would like to see still provided from the Solar Eclipse line. This will help us prioritize our efforts, and, frankly, if Mary Kay sees enough enthusiastic feedback, maybe we can coax her to pick up her saber and climb back on her horse, ready to charge again.
Once again, Hurray, Hurray for the first of May…
All of us at Applied Health (including Mary Kay) are hoping you have a safe and healthy outdoor season.
And if you have any preferences for sun protection products you would like to see, please leave us a note, either in the comments section of this post, or on our Facebook page.
By the way, in case you were wondering, I did have to promise Mary Kay I would think of a different battle cry… For some reason, she just never warmed to,
“Remember Pete !!”