Take a step back and think about the last time a close friend, family member or significant other has picked you up when you’re down, using reassuring phrases strung together with care.
Their words are powerful. And now, there’s a company hoping to scale that feeling.
The company was founded by Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey, two former DoSomething.org employees and close friends. The pair realized the power of messaging while at their former employer, one of the largest organizations for social change that attracts young people in droves. It was there they helped roll out the organization’s pivot toward a member-driven model, which largely utilized SMS.
Hirabayashi and Lidey found there was a need for a friend-like service that boosts confidence and productivity in young people, especially in women. Subsequently, Shine was born to help millennials achieve their work and life goals through actionable content. In lieu of shelling out hundreds of dollars for a professional life coach or searching the depths of the web for static content on wellness, Shine provides a free and carefully curated alternative delivered straight to your smartphone.
“We used best practices, knowledge and understanding of the space and built a product for millennials to help achieve their work and life goals,” said Shine co-founder and co-CEO, Naomi Hirabayashi. “The text platform is so simple — and that’s the beauty of it — but you only really text with your friends, family and coworkers. We’re honored to be considered a 'friend' by all our users.”
Shine only sends its daily texts during weekdays, which is an intentional move by the company to encourage disconnecting during the weekend.
Since I'm their target demographic, I decided to try out Shine for a week and see if it brought a difference to how I was living. Here's how I felt by Friday:
Monday: On Monday I received a message on how switching tasks drains energy, upon which Shine encouraged me to focus on one thing for an extended period of time that day. This resonated with me. I often find myself distracted from completing one project when presented with additional tasks, ultimately slowing my overall productivity. I decided to learn more on this topic and texted “M” back to Shine. Shine shot me a Fast Company article which offered a series of tips on how to focus on one task at a time. I’m digging this.
Tuesday: Tuesday morning arrived along with my daily Shine text. This message encouraged me to open up and share my authentic self. I was in a hurry that morning, so I decided not to opt in for additional guidance on this topic. However, I did appreciate the Mean Girls reference.
Wednesday: Wednesday’s Shine message was brief and to the point. The text encouraged me to live in the present, supported by a great quote from global spiritual leader and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh. I found myself taking more risks than usual on Wednesday, which resulted in an extremely positive and productive day.
Thursday: I was up late writing on Wednesday night, so by the time my alarm clock went off on Thursday, I was exhausted. Though I was tired, I felt the slightest Pavlovian response to seeing a text from Shine that morning. I needed a pick-me-up. Thursday encouraged me to reflect on “finding my thread” and appreciate the moments and people that make me happy.
Friday: By Friday, my mood was through the roof. While it had been a particularly favorable week in terms of events at work and in my personal life, I also found that I was starting each day with a more optimistic outlook. I was going about my days with an increased sense of purpose and awareness, as Shine fed me actionable content during my most vulnerable part of the day — the morning.
While text messages have a 98 percent open rate, I had predictably opened each message from Shine that week. While plenty of health, wellness and lifehack-esque publications provide daily newsletters via email, the SMS platform is valuable in this genre due to its private and immediate nature.
According to Hirabayashi, 70 percent of Shine’s users are women and 88 percent of users are under 35. With the close of a seed round under their belt, Shine is poised for some serious growth, with the potential to bring positive affirmations to today's most impressionable generation.