Two women turned a need into an empire and its something we can all benefit from.
I wake up most mornings feeling like a rock star. I’m ready to hit the ground running. By midday, my flame starts to flicker, and sometimes, by the end of the day, I’ve achieved total burn out. It’s difficult to take care of oneself properly, but when we do, everyone around us benefits from our self-care.
Shine is a self-care app that provides dozens of daily (and morning and midday) meditations to help us get through life. Whether you’re trying to be Super Mom or feel like you just can’t get out of bed most mornings, there are daily lessons to help you.
Shine also sends you motivational messages every day. You’re even interacting with these “texts” by responding with something like, “Keep going” or “Tell me more.” When you do, you’re offered suggestions like an article about self-care or a 5-minute meditation about getting energized to start your day.
With a paid subscription, you get additional audio meditations and can participate in deeper self-care lessons. It’s an app worth having and an activity worth doing every day.
I caught up with Shine cofounders Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey for a few minutes via email for a quick chat about how they turned a friendship into an ever-growing community of caring, supportive, and helpful people that want to provide that same kind of care, support, and help to everyone, and thusly into a rock-solid business.
What was the inspiration for Shine? What were you doing when you decided this was going to be your next project?
Naomi: Inspired by our friendship as co-workers, Shine is all about treating yourself better.
While working on a project at our old job, we ended up spending a lot of time together. While unwinding from weekly meetings, we found ourselves talking passionately about the daily effort to try and take better care of ourselves: from managing negative self-talk to getting a credit card with a lower interest rate, to getting more “me time” in our relationships.
We knew we had something special, and that more people could benefit from having similar support in their life.
So we set out to scale the support we gave each other and launched our first prototype in August 2015.
Three years later, we have 3M members in 189 countries that we’re helping practice more self-compassion. And in treating themselves with more self-compassion, our community is building a more compassionate world.
As women moving up in the tech startup industry, have you seen a growing balance of diversity? Do you still see areas where it could be better?
Marah: We’re making progress, but we still don’t see a lot of examples of entrepreneurs that look like us. So whether it’s getting more comfortable taking up space in the industry or striking a balance between compassion and directness, we’re proud to be carving out a new path of entrepreneurship and what it can look like.
What’s often overlooked is the intersection, and need for more women of color, specifically black and Latinx, which are underrepresented in the space.
To make more progress, specificity matters. When we talk about diversity within tech, people often refer to wanting to see more women and more people of color. While that’s true, what’s often overlooked is the intersection, and need for more women of color, specifically black and Latinx, which are underrepresented in the space. We’re big fans of communities like The Well and Black Women Raise that create the space and resources to improve representation where it’s needed most.
Do you have any experiences with areas of the tech industry you felt were inaccessible, but either found a way in to or were supported by other women to gain access to?
Naomi: There’s so much jargon in the VC space. It seems small, but the impact is that it can make the early stage of founding feel inaccessible for people from more marginalized communities.
We were lucky enough to have advisors who helped us navigate all that jargon and ‘who’s who’ energy early on. By making us feel welcome, and giving us a safe space to ask all the questions, they played a key role in us feeling confident to take up space and unlock pre-seed funding.
We’re passionate about creating that same safe-space. We know there’s a direct correlation between paying that advice forward and more representation in entrepreneurship.
For young women that have a great idea, but are scared of what might happen if they try to make it into a reality, what advice do you have for making that leap of faith?
Don’t be afraid to embrace your power.
Marah: Don’t be afraid to know and own your power. With time, we’ve come to realize that what makes us unique as founders — both of us are women of color who’ve hustled hard to be where we are — is what helped us build a community that’s often overlooked. This is our power. We know this market, this community and this company better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to embrace your power.