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About Us

The Story

One day while flipping through a magazine, one of PD’s co-founders (Matt) stumbled across a column on DIY body cream made from tallow. Totally obsessed with all things at the intersection of Paleo, ancestral health, and reclaiming old craftways, the story sparked his curiosity. He was familiar with the use of fat as skincare in theory, but this article included the history, chemistry, and a recipe, making the process seem fun and doable. Matt decided to give it a try.

Then he needed to find the fat. Since he gets most of his food from farmers he knows personally, Matt asked his beef guy if he had any tallow. The beef guy normally just threw it away, but that day he did happen to have some on hand. He said he’d happily sell Matt 10 or 100 pounds for the same price. Matt took the 100 pounds and started developing his recipe.

After the first batch, Matt discovered that the article’s recipe was clunky and the proportions were way off. The original recipe ended up way too soft and with a low yield. But he kept experimenting, doing five- or ten-pound batches at a time, until he developed his own recipe that had a much smoother consistency. He played around with different fragrances (eventually working with a professional scent mixer who who crafted a scent to balance out the natural smell of tallow), gave a bunch away, and people loved it. The response was so positive that after hearing “you should totally sell this” over and over, he knew he was on to something and decided to go for it.

Although Matt was an executive at the Food Network for five years, he’d never launched a product-based business. The development of Primal Derma has been entirely bootstrapping trial-and-error. But it is also deeply rewarding. With one product Primal Derma nourishes and supports so many different communities.

Today, Primal Derma is hand crafted in Harlem by Matt, with a deep commitment to sustainability, health, and ancestral traditions.

The Makers

Matt Stillman

matt sepia1Matt Stillman has made a long career out of using his inherently inquisitive and exploratory nature to find creative, sustainable solutions to complex problems. He has worked for years in diverse arenas to create and discover deeper connections with both the people he interacts with and the community in which he resides.

As a former Food Network executive, Matt brought such groundbreaking shows as Iron Chef and Good Eats (and many others) to American audiences.

In 2006 Matt conceived of and wrote a treatment for “The End of Poverty?” – a feature length film about the origins of poverty and why it persists in a world with so much wealth. The film premiered at Cannes in 2008 and was selected as a Critics Choice of the Festival. Matt was honored to speak at the UN four times about the film. His experience making the film crystallized his understanding of global issues, commerce, waste, sustainability.

Matt has been inspired and influenced by the Paleo and Primal philosophy and diet since 2004, and began doing Crossfit in 2008. Fascinated by ancestral health, reclaiming old food and health pathways, Matt has a deep relationship with the small scale farmers from which he gets most of his food.

Matt’s favorite way to Derma: “I use it on my face, lips, and torn-up CrossFit hands. I also use it as massage oil — so it goes anywhere!”

You can reach him at m@primalderma.com

Summer Poole

SummerSummer and Matt have been friends since 2009 when they took a course called Creativity and Personal Mastery and bonded over their philosophical views of life and their love for 80’s and 90’s rap music. As a trusted friend, she was a tester of Matt’s early Primal Derma samples. Matt and Summer had played with the idea of going into some kind of business together but when Matt decided to launch Primal Derma, Summer said “this is the thing we should be doing together.” And it worked because Summer with her MBA could work the business side of things.

Summer specializes in business development, strategic planning and marketing for corporations, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. She received her MBA from Columbia Business School and her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Boston University. Summer is a proud Detroit native currently living in NYC.

Summer’s favorite way to Derma: “I love using it on my lips and hands, and if I have a little extra on my hands, I run my fingers through my kinky-frizzy hair for a nice shine that also conditions. I also use it on my baby’s skin from anything to post-bath softness to diaper rash protection. It really does work everywhere.”

You can reach her at s@primalderma.com

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