When I first created Shades on Point Sunglass Co., I did so as a way to connect to the city I grew up in and, still to this day after more than a decade away, a city I still call home. Pittsburghers are extra-proud of their city. Show me a Pittsburgher who doesn’t have a list of reasons why Pittsburgh is the best city in America… maybe even the world.
What surprised me, was that shortly after we launched our company last spring, so many of our customers reached out to tell us that they, too, wanted a way to feel connected to their city and that a pair of sunglasses with the Pittsburgh city skyline etched on the side was a special way to get that feeling.
This got me thinking… if sunglasses could help people feel connected to a city, could they also help people feel connected to something even more powerful? With so much hate and disagreement and struggle going on in the world today, I wondered if sunglasses could be a way to bring us together?
And that’s how our first Kickstarter campaign was born. Kickstart Your Heart was built on the idea that there are moments in life where we all need someone; where we all need to feel connected to a bigger community; where we all need to feel like we’re not alone. We’ve taken our six most-popular models, renamed them and rebranded them to create a unique offering of sunglasses that show support for six causes that are not only close to my heart, but close to so many in my life.
Our hope is that these six models will help others feel a sense of connection in a time when they might need it most…. Or help those who have triumphed through a tough time remember that the darkest days can be overcome.
With so many causes and issues out there that we could have decided to bring awareness to, I want to take you through how we picked the six that we did. And the first person to guess why we chose six gets a free hat on me for proving your black and gold roots!
Introducing the Kickstart Your Heart collection:
Equalizers: Today is an amazing time to live in this country. There is so much momentum around equal opportunity – women’s rights, equal pay, equal treatment no matter gender or sexual orientation. #MeToo has become a force to be reckoned with. Our “Equalizers” are to support these groups as they fight to be recognized as an equal and accepted in our society. Keep fighting.
Inner Strengths: I’ve seen the demons of addiction and sadly, it’s something that has touched many people I know. “Inner Strengths” are meant to serve as a reminder for anyone battling their own personal demons – whatever they might be – that you’re not alone in this fight, and even the most unsuspecting person may completely understand what you’re going through.
Brighter Days: We’ve sadly lost too many people to suicide and depression. Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington and Robin Williams were all public figures who helped get me through difficult times whose lives ended too early because their depression took over. Traumatic or sudden family deaths, relationship struggles, career trouble, education pressure, feeling like you don’t belong, bullying – so many things in our world today lead to depression and ultimately suicidal thoughts. “Brighter Days” are meant to give hope those who are suffering or those who have lost someone they loved.
More Lifes: Whether you’re recently married and starting on a new journey together, bringing a new life into the world or just looking to live your best life, wearing our “More Lifes” model is meant to be a symbol of getting the most out of your life and supporting those around you who are on working towards that as well.
New Hopes: Everyone has moments in life where they’re faced with struggle. For me, it was a financial struggle through college. For others, it could be health issues or career troubles, or even just a period of time where you feel like the whole world is against you. Our “New Hopes” are meant to serve as a reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and things will get better.
F’NRs: This one might be the hardest one for most people to get. For me, it’s one I had to include, both for myself and for one of the people I love most in this world. Anxiety is something that so many people quietly struggle with. It’s a dark, debilitating issue that haunted me for most of my college years. I’ve learned how to overcome it, for the most part – except when launching new companies or Kickstarter campaigns (ha!). “F’NRs” are short for “F***iN Relax” to remind Type A people like me who are always on over-drive, to relax, slow down and enjoy life.
So that’s what we’ve been up to for the last five months. Our small three-headed executive team has put a lot of our personal lives into building something that we truly believe in. Now it’s up to you to prove to us that we are really onto something here – that feeling connected really is something that helps us all.
Support “Kickstart Your Heart” by visiting our campaign page today and purchasing whatever pair or pairs of Shades that resonate with what you or a loved one has gone through. Share them with someone you know who is struggling as a reminder that they’re not alone and that there are so many of us that understand what they’re going through.
We’re counting on our loyal Shades Fam to help us get this off the ground and allow us to help as many people as we can. Join us, and wear your heart on your Shades.