From the Sole Up: Products for a Better World
With this blog, we’re introducing a new series about members of our community making an impact – for hyperhidrosis, despite hyperhidrosis, and everything in between.
Although hyperhidrosis and all that goes with it can seem overwhelming and beyond our individual power, here at the International Hyperhidrosis Society we like to remind ourselves that, yes, each of us has the power to help in some way. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
One person using single acts (many of them) to touch hearts is our friend Shannon McLinden. To start, Shannon helps teens in crisis to find support and understanding through her brave, personal book The Me Nobody Knew (Lerner Publications Company) and related speaking engagements. In The Me Nobody Knew (find it on Amazon Smile) Shannon shares her teenage struggles with depression, abusive relationships, body issues, and substance use along with her eventual journey to healing. We often hear from hyperhidrosis sufferers about the emotional toll excessive sweating can take and about struggles with self-confidence and sadness, especially among teens (17% of whom experience excessive sweating). Shannon’s book is written for ages 12-17 and we think the themes will resonate with the young readers in the hyperhidrosis community. The book is used as curriculum in middle school, high school and college classes throughout the U.S. and Canada. Check it out and talk to the teachers you know, maybe it’s a great book for your local school, too.
In addition to using her writing to provide support for youth, Shannon also helps the International Hyperhidrosis Society raise awareness of plantar hyperhidrosis and its management. “Twelve years ago,” says Shannon, “I would have sold you my house for a dressy pair of shoes that I could actually wear without smack, smack, smacking my way into malls and restaurants.”
Shannon does not consider herself to have hyperhidrosis, but she does have sweaty feet and lives in Texas where it can be hot and humid. To solve her soggy sandal problem, Shannon started asking her local cobbler to secure different types of fabrics into her shoes. In the process, she discovered that some people sweat so much they create puddles on the floor and, suddenly, Shannon understood that there was a huge need for sweat-absorbing shoe liners. So, she started working earnestly to get the right mix of fabrics, gels, and glue for all types of shoes and all types of sweaty feet.
To this day, Shannon still gets emails from hyperhidrosis sufferers who’ve found that her shoe liners enable them wear shoes with greater comfort and safety. In fact, recent SummerSoles users write:
“I almost broke my ankle because it was hot and WHOOPS off I went. Since I got your product last year I put them in all my sandals - and YEAH - no broken bones"
“My feet sweat profusely. Now I can enjoy wearing sandals, heels, thongs... no more slipping and sliding ..."
Farm Fresh and Animal Friendly
It was another foot issue that led Shannon to start FarmHouse Fresh, a line of luxurious spa products that are sustainable, natural, and made in the USA. As a runner with sweaty feet, Shannon suffered from dry, cracked heels. (We’re sure many of our readers can relate to skin irritation due to wet skin!) To help, Shannon created a trio of sea salt exfoliating scrubs that Oprah loved so much she put them on her O-list. Soon other FarmHouse Fresh products won Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards, Elle Canada Hot List designation, and Redbook's Most Valuable Beauty Product Awards. FarmHouse Fresh has also been featured in Cosmopolitan, Domino, Ebony, InStyle, Newsweek, People, Real Simple, Southern Living, and Town & Country.
Looking around her farm one day, Shannon realized that most of her employees had rescue animals. From dogs and cats to birds and tortoises, it seemed that rescuing critters was a passion shared by practically everyone Shannon hired so she incorporated time and space for animals into her business.
Employees at FarmHouse Fresh now sprinkle caring for rescue animals into their routines. With veterinary care, healthy food and snacks, and unlimited hugs, the family at FarmHouse Fresh helps animals to erase memories of their abusive or neglectful pasts while building new positive memories and relationships. Currently, the farm is home to nine rescues including a horse, pony, donkeys, and goats.
Through her businessses, Shannon creates earth- and body-friendly products and a sanctuary for animals, all while continuing to provide solutions for those struggling with sweaty feet. It’s easy to see why she’s one of our many inspirations and is a great example of the positive things an individual can accomplish.
We’ll be covering more inspirational members of our hyperhidrosis community in future blogs, but in the meantime we hope you find a way to make your own meaningful impacts. Like Gandhi said, “The future depends on what you do today.”
Thanks for reading and if you know someone who’s making a difference for hyperhidrosis sufferers, or has made a big difference in your personal hyperhidrosis journey, please nominate them to be profiled.