Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Candice Mason. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Candice, appreciate you joining us today. Risking taking is a huge part of most people’s story but too often society overlooks those risks and only focuses on where you are today. Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – it could be a big risk or a small one – but walk us through the backstory.
Overall, starting a business is a big risk, especially when you’re unsure about the future of your personal health. Why did I start my business? I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in 2017 which is notorious for being the most fatal form of the three common types of skin cancer. As a cancer patient whom suffers from anxiety, I needed a fun and creative outlet to channel my energy in a positive manner. As I sat in the infusion chair receiving my treatments, I realized skin cancer is bigger than me. Thus, I found my calling in educating others in a unique way about the dangers of UV radiation exposure. This is when the idea of Desert Camo Apparel came to life which originated in 2018. In 2019 a car accident revealed my melanoma metastasized with three tumors to my brain, a tumor in my lung and lesions on my spleen and pelvic wall. It was clear that I was going to need a double craniotomy. Having undergone so many surgeries, more treatments (including immunotherapy and brain radiation) and side effects, I was even more determined to keep pushing forward with my business. It’s not just skin cancer. Skin cancer does not discriminate based on age, race, gender or beliefs. My business allows me to share my story in hopes of saving lives.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I’m a scientist by trade but also a certified melanoma educator through the Melanoma Research Foundation and a University of Arizona SASS ambassador. For 15 years I have worked in the science field, specializing in cancer genomic research. A big part of being a scientist is to educate others about the world around them. Thus, I figured if I started my own business I could help others learn about sun safety unbiasedly. Getting out in the community is very important to Desert Camo Apparel. I like to showcase my sun protective business at vendor markets, events and through social media. UV protection is important. There are many ways to protect your skin: covering with UPF5o+ clothing, wearing sunscreen properly, sun accessories and avoiding the sun between 10am-4pm. Giving back is also at the heart of Desert Camo Apparel. We’ve donated masks to frontline workers during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, funded local non-profits with money, such as, the University of Arizona Skin Cancer Institute and given sunscreen to homeless vets who are currently transitioning in life.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
Selling sun protection is hard because there are so many myths surrounding skin cancer. It is my mission to bust said myths. As mentioned earlier, it’s not just skin cancer as evident by the double brain surgery I underwent. Men get skin cancer too. Skin cancer does not care about the level of melanin your body produces. Populations with higher levels of melanin tend to be diagnosed in later, fatal stages. More than two people every hour in the US die from melanoma. My business is my resilience. I’ve kept pushing despite facing major health hurdles, especially now as a life long cancer patient, because I feel skin cancer awareness is bigger than me. If you’ve made it this far, please schedule a skin check with your dermatologist.
Any thoughts, advice, or strategies you can share for fostering brand loyalty?
As my cancer story is ever evolving and changing I stay connected with my clients though social media. When there are new updates or no changes I’ll fill my clients in with posts and stories on Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes my personal life and business mesh together but I’m okay with that. That is why I started. I want people to see that skin cancer is very real, raw, but there is hope.
- Website: www.desertcamoapparel.com
- Instagram: @desertcamoapparel
- Facebook: @desertcamoapparel
- Youtube: Desert Camo Apparel