Salty Britches’ Founder Amy Tucker might call herself a reluctant entrepreneur, but after formulating a chafing ointment made to alleviate her son’s sensitive skin, she can also call herself a mother of invention.
“I started late in life and never intended for this to be my path,” she said of building the brand out of her home in her late 40s.
It all began when her son, then an active six-year-old who loved to boogie board, suffered dearly anytime he went near salt water. Over-the-counter products failed to alleviate Trent’s sensitive skin. Everything they tried would need constant re-application, attracted sand, left a messy white residue, or would transfer to his boogie board.
After one uncomfortable beach vacation in their home state of South Carolina, Amy asserted, “I’m gonna have to fix this. I’ve got to find some kind of formula that can work for him.”
With nearly two decades in pharmaceutical sales, Amy tapped into her chemistry background and busied herself for the next four years to perfect “Amy’s Goo”.
She bought and mixed clean, high-end, medical-grade ingredients. As any mother can relate, she wanted nothing but the best for her child. “I didn’t think I’d ever be making this in bulk,” she laughed of the high grade and high price ingredients. “But we want everyone to have the best of the best.”
Finally, one day in 2017, while spending a day at the beach, she watched her son playing in the ocean and she couldn’t get him out. No complaints, no pain, no tears; the chafing ointment Amy formulated was working.
She went on to share her discovery with other families, and after posting on social media, the response was unlike anything she expected. “My Facebook went crazy,” she laughed. “There’s a real need here, I need to do this right away!”
Amy set up an LLC and with the help of her beach companions, came up with the name, Salty Britches. “From that day forward, we’ve been mixing and pouring, and we haven’t stopped,” she said.
Amy eventually sought the assistance of a cosmetic chemistry specialist to help create the stable and marketable formula that is the Salty Britches Chafing Ointment found today.
In time, Salty Britches began to get too big for their britches. Amy, who was still working full time with a lot of business travel, remembers asking herself, “how am I going to meet this demand?”
“The demand was growing but I was melting,” she laughed.
The Tuckers sold their home, downsized their possessions and pulled Trent out of private school. After moving into a much smaller house, they built an adjacent shop where Salty Britches is still headquartered today.
“We thought we’d just be a coastal brand,” Amy admitted. “This all started because of a love for my son and that’s what it’s about. We had no idea how it would grow legs into all these other spaces.”
Ultra endurance athletes, backpackers, wildland firefighters, and even Special Force Operators now use Salty Britches Chafing Ointment.
“It’s been a blast,” Amy said of meeting their customers. “We’ve met the most amazing, gritty people that do not quit.”
“And there’s a whole space we didn’t know about,” Amy said, including: amputees who suffer irritation from prosthetics; the wheelchair bound sitting for long periods of time; and postal workers continuously exposed to the elements. “When we hear these stories, we know we’re on the right track.”
“It’s not about us,” Amy said. “It’s about more than just ointment. It’s about who can we serve? and who can we help?”
Salty Britches Chafing Ointment can be used from your lips to toes, and doesn't have to be constantly reapplied. While it won’t melt in the heat, it will freeze in the cold. That’s why Salty Britches came up with a Winter Skin Relief, too.
As Amy knows, “weight is everything to backpackers”. As such, Salty Britches created single-use packs, perfect for keeping that base weight lightweight. And because the single packets are not in a tube, you needn't worry about them freezing; they can be used at any temperature.
Even though Salty Britches ointments are made in the USA, supply chain challenges have still caused delays and frustrations. “Nothing happens as quickly as you want it to,” Amy said of running a small business.
From exploring new platforms and building websites to decoding Tiktok, “I feel like I'm learning a new language constantly,” Amy laughed. “The learning never stops.”
Amy and her family have bootstrapped Salty Britches. While living in a tiny home comes with its share of inconveniences, the reward of seeing how their ointments are helping people makes everything worth it.
“We can make a difference for people that want to experience life and see what they’re missing; there’s such a world to be discovered!” Amy said.