Eastridge #WomenWhoLead Series
Co-Founder of You Are Collect;ve
Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how you began working at You Are Collective and with Eastridge?
You Are Collective was born at Panera Bread in 2019. Before it was called 13 You Are, a one-person project that started in 2017 and instilled in the power of words and reminders of why YOU ARE meant to be in this world. Approaching this year, I became one of the CoFounders, when a good friend of mine, Syzette and I were brainstorming this idea of a women’s conference in combination with the art of lettering and sharing awareness of Mental Health. As we sat at Panera, that was when 13 You Are became You Are Collective. Together, we partnered with Eastridge, because they believed in our vision and wanted to feature us as Artist of the Month for helping us share awareness of Mental Health through art.
Is there anything from You Are Collective we should be looking out for in 2019!
May 2019 is Mental Health Awareness month, we as You Are Collective, will be creating a “mini teaser” of what is to come in October. We are bringing our female conference + art of lettering + sharing awareness of mental health for all of May at Eastridge, this will be our soft opening. So be sure to check us out!
October 2019 GRAND OPENING of YOU ARE COLLECTIVE
It is a gathering of females (girls + women) that aims to connect and create a space of belonging and awareness. This life-changing event will provide an experience annually, that will ignite hope, transformation and cultivate a deep sense of connection; through inspirational messages that is accompanied by Insta-worthy affirmations room, local art vendors, entertainment and creative & wellness workshops that are geared toward preventative measures of coping with Mental Illness. We want to inspire you through the art of hand lettering, finding your community, and the power in words.
Follow us for updates! Instagram @youarecollectve
How can the Eastridge community connect with You Are Collective in real life?
You can connect with us by our upcoming events we have in April and May! We love our partnership with Eastridge and are excited to be their first artist feature in May!
Come, you don’t want to miss out! We are creating a mini teaser before our Grand Event in October.
What inspired you to begin You Are Collective?
I had an interest in learning the art of hand lettering. I was inspired by Instagram, taught by my best friend, and eventually attended a workshop at my church. Being a stay at home mom, I suffered through identity, lack of community, and struggled with postpartum blues. I began to feel like something was missing. At this workshop, was when I found community and a place of belonging.
Everyday I would practice this new creative outlet of hand lettering, and practice words of affirmation and listen to encouraging messages to write. This is when I saw a shift in my mindset. I began to believe in the power of words and how they can build or break you. As I discovered more of this art, I started purposeful projects that reflect on words. One of the projects called 13 You Are.
In 2017, Netflix released a TV series titled 13 Reasons Why. This series revolves around a 17 year old high school student, Clay Jensen and his deceased friend, Hannah Baker. The bases of this storyline sparked a challenge in me to use my new found skill to create handwritten cards that inspired hope by giving friends, family, and strangers 13 Reasons why they mattered. Creating the #13reasonswhychallenge and shared it on my social media platform. In 2018, I wanted to be intentional in my projects and wanted to grow what I started the previous year. I relaunched 13 You Are with 13 different artists creating 13 cards and a clothing campaign to continue this vision. I started also teaching brush lettering where each student not only learns the basics of lettering but they are able to create a foundation of what it means to empower others and themselves with words.
Today, I wanted to be bold in my projects. I reached out to close friends and family casting this vision. As the vision manifested into plans, I revisited a partnership to create a passion project with Syzette, my other CoFounder, an original 13 You Are supporter, artist, leader and good friend. What once was a one person project became a team of four; where we rebranded 13 You Are to You Are Collective.
What purpose do you wish You Are Collective to serve?
Our purpose is to create an ongoing event that transforms and empowers the lives of those in our community, locally and nationwide by bringing awareness of mental health through the art of lettering, community, and the power in words.
We believe that …
You Are Life-Changing, we want to share awareness for our mental health that when we create daily affirmations in our life, we begin to transform and believe the power of building our self-talk, confidence, love and worth. Then we create life-changing decisions, to grow for ourselves.
You Are Loved, we want you to build that love for yourself and learn to build it with others that are liked minded.
You Are Connected to Reason, we want you to feel connected through the words, the community, and know that there are reasons why you exist.
You Are Not Alone, we want you to tell your story and allow your words to create new perspective and connection with others. We want you to find sisters through a solid foundation of support, love, and hope through all your challenges and struggles you face; knowing that you are not alone.
“When I becomes we, (i)llness becomes (we)llness.” -Malcolm X
You Are Inspiring, we want you to feel inspired to give reminders to others of their value + worth to this world.
You Are Powerful, we want to create + empower a community of people who wants to stop the lies we tell ourselves, and the lies that others tell us, to start living life fueled by positivity + art of lettering + breaking the stigma.
Because of you … because of your story… YOU ARE the reason for You Are Collective.
What strengths do you find in working with a group of like-minded women?
Wow, there is SO much strength when you are working with a group of women who endlessly want to support and cheer for you. You feel motivated to be better. You create honest and authentic relationships. There is this African Proverb that I recently heard and have been loving, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. So, when we are together with like-minded women, we can go far. Whether it is in our careers and personal life. We see growth within ourselves that is powerful and when we allow ourselves to be aware of who we are surrounding ourselves with, we begin to see that we can’t do life alone and we must do it with positive like people to grow us further vs those who rather see you fall.
The Eastridge Women Who Lead is an 8-part series featuring the extraordinary women who are leaders in the East Side San Jose Community and pillars of Eastridge Community Programming. For more empowering content, including in-person workshops and speakers, join us for CosmeCon 2019 on April 6th. More information here. Love this story? Please consider sharing on social media or attending an event to support!