2020 Visionaries: Lauren Neidigh, Creative Dynamo
The founder of Cape Camo is styling the Cape in a new kind of camouflage, one that showcases her positive spirit and love for this community.
They say when a sailor finishes the day, he turns his anchor upside down to represent returning home to loved ones. For Lauren Neidigh, founder of Cape Camo, this is exactly what she wants her brand to be about: enjoying time with friends and family after a long day’s work. A story of determination, Neidigh taught herself to build every facet of her brand, all while working full-time and balancing being a new mother. In just a four-week window, she signed the lease for Cape Camo’s first store and opened its doors on August 1st. With her vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and love for the local community, the horizon looks bright, and full of Cape camouflage.
Neidigh calls herself a washashore, having worked on the Cape since 2011 and making the move here in 2013. Though her roots are in Dracut, MA, after her first trip over the bridge, she knew this was home. “I’ve been to different beaches around New England since I was little. The first time that I went to the Cape, I looked around and thought, ‘Wait a minute, this is very different. These are the beaches that you dream about. This is where I want home to be. This is where my heart finally feels at peace,’” she says.
After studying business at UMass Dartmouth, Neidigh’s first job was in advertising at the Cape Cod Times. There, she met lifelong friends and formed connections on the Cape. “I started seeing all of these locals who created their own lives and businesses here. They all came up with these incredible, unique ideas, and that’s really what made me fall in love with how everyone here was a community. There is nowhere else like here. I was determined to come up with my own idea.”
Finally, the idea came to light. “I wanted it to involve the Cape somehow and have the ability to be put on anything. I came up with the idea of the camouflage in 2017. It is all made up of shapes of the Cape. I taught myself the Adobe Suite and figured out how to make the design,” she says. “For the logo, the upside-down anchor represents sailors finishing their day to go home to family. That’s what we’re about here—relaxing, taking it easy, and being done with the workday.”
With the design under her belt, the question became how to turn it into clothing. Like always, Neidigh jumped in and made it all happen. “In 2018, I finally had my prototypes, and I started looking into what to do next,” she says. “I researched creating an LLC and did all of that footwork. Next, it was building a website and looking into the different types of fairs around here.”
At eight months pregnant, Neidigh did her first Love Live Local Fest to begin getting her name out there. “I have done every one since then. Love Live Local was the best thing for me. They do so much, that organization,” enthuses Neidigh. “Three or four of the local businesses that I have in my store today were people I met through that. We all became each other’s cheerleaders, and that’s definitely when it all began for me.”
When the pandemic hit full force in March, Cape Camo’s inventory found a new purpose. A testimony to her generous character, Neidigh used her clothing inventory to make and donate over 1,300 masks. As that wound down, she contemplated her next step. “I was sitting there and wondering if I should just do it and open a store now. Because people are focusing on local, I thought, maybe now is the time. My husband said every time I try to focus on Camo, something happens. So, I took the leap. I randomly emailed Mashpee Commons to see if they had any openings. They had this one tiny spot and I fell in love with it. I took it and somehow made it happen in four weeks. And here we are,” she reflects.
The opening process, according to Neidigh, was “hectic, but in such a good, positive way.” It was a team effort; her family came down, some of her best friends surprised her and everyone united to get the job done. “It was such an incredible feeling to have my people around me,” she says. “Opening day, there was a line out the door and my mom was trafficking customers to ensure everyone was safe.” Tucked in a corner in Mashpee Commons, the store features Neidigh’s sweatshirts, tank tops, t-shirts, and the signature leggings, all luxuriously soft to the touch and perfect for everyday Cape wear. Local brands, like Washershore and Salty Sky, are also featured.
Neidigh’s goals are to get past the pandemic and keep carrying more local brands, building a large space that gives all these small businesses a chance to showcase themselves and grow. “I just want to support my family and fellow local business entrepreneurs,” she says. “I would love each year to be better than the last one.”
As she delights in a new wave of this journey, each day still feels like a treat. This contagious energy embodies the Cape Camo brand, savoring each day in comfortable coastal clothing. “It still doesn’t feel real that I get to wake up and come here and that this is my store that I opened,” reflects Neidigh. “This is what I’m doing. It’s really cool; I am so grateful.”
Check out more of our 2020 visionaries here!