It’s been a minute since I’ve sat down to write about my process. Really, it’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write anything that was truly mine, so this feels like a good place to start.
In the last couple of months, I’ve been really caught up in the “just getting by” and forgot to slow down and enjoy the process.
I think we all can find ourselves a little bit in that last sentence. We’ve all been there—stuck. Stuck in a one-track mindset. Stuck thinking that we aren’t capable of more than what we feel in those moments. Stuck running away from the boulder instead of just jumping out of its path to witness what life is like if we slow down to see it.
So to get back into the swing of things, I thought it would be awesome to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to build this year's Stay; Campaign and how it's evolved from previous years. There are so many humans involved in our Cause Campaigns and I just wanted to start by sharing my gratitude for all the human hands it took to make this year’s campaign so impactful. It’s going to be hard to sum up the work it takes to create the impact we do, but I know without a doubt it wouldn’t be possible without our non-profit partners and the OH team.
I feel like in order to tell you what it's become, I need you to tell you how it started. The original 2017 Stay; campaign started with one person—Lacie Helms.
Lacie wasn’t someone I was close to; we had a handful of conversations through Instagram here and there, but nothing I would consider a deeper friendship. But I’ll still never forget where I was when I got the news that Lacie had ended her own life. I’ll never forget the next month and the ripples that were felt through a whole community because of losing her. Why couldn’t she stay?
It’s an answer we’ll never get. It’s an answer a lot of people never get. So when Stay; was created, it was intended to be a plea to all those who feel lost. Please stay. Keep fighting. Your story isn’t over.
After Lacie, it felt like every week I was hearing news that someone took their own life. All I wanted was to be able to reach out and touch their arm to remind them that it does get better. Even that darkness their feeling right now.
So it started there. With a plea to Stay; and a desire to reach out and touch a life.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, please know there are resources to support you, even in the darkest of times.
Hands have played a crucial role in the mood of the Stay; campaign each year. There is something powerful in the imagery of human touch and reaching out that creates a sense of connection, even when many times there is technology in between. In 2017 we introduced the handprint on the sleeve of our first Stay; shirt.
In our 2018 Stay; Campaign, we wanted to talk about how much one life can impact another person. We used the quote "our fingerprints never fade from the lives we touch" and it quickly became our most impactful design yet. The 2018 Stay; design has created moments with humans all over the US as we've traveled to different events. At least once per event there will be a moment that this shirt speaks right into someone's grief and sparks tears. We're here with open arms for all the hugs you need.
In 2018 we hosted our first annual Stay; Suicide Awareness Event in Phoenix, AZ. Our goal was to bring people together to connect in real life and to showcase how suicide impacts everyone. Check out the video below to see a recap of the powerful night.
This year, we decided to use human connection in the form of a promise. A pinky promise to be exact. We wanted to create action around you choosing to stay and keep fighting. To promise us tomorrow. To promise yourself tomorrow.
We need you here to fight with us. We need you to know that there is greatness inside of you even when you feel lost.
The next step is to make the designs come to life—literally. This involves choosing the type of apparel we'll print on and getting some buy in from our humans. That usually looks like a couple mock ups getting voted on by our Advocate Community (p.s. you should join us, it's free!)
The final step in the creative process is to take photos of humans in the gear. This is always one of my favorite parts because I get to witness designs that only once existed in my brain being worn by humans I love.
Again, I have to express my gratitude for all of the humans who are part of these campaigns. It may start with a design concept, but it always ends with real humans putting in work and effort to make them come to life.
This was just a small glimpse into the creative inspiration of the Stay; campaign, but it doesn't cover what it takes to create our monthly blog posts, newsletter emails to announce them, gather human stories of those impacted by the cause, or what impact we make partnering with a non-profit each month.
Lastly, thank you to each human who has purchased something from us. There is a lot of intention and love that goes into each design we create.