The Future of Activyst
Posted: Nov 13 2014
Into the Desert
We recently passed the one year mark since shipping our first Activyst bags into the world. While that was a big moment for sure, it was fairly immediately eclipsed by the “to dos” of getting a business off the ground: bags to be shipped, PR pitches to send, new bags to design, retailers to contact, and events to attend. There was always something more we could do. So do it we did. We lived by the To Do List.
Feeling a bit bogged down, we decided to head to Joshua Tree on a whim this past September. It’s an otherworldly place – mountains and rocks that look like Mars, Dr. Seuss-like trees, and sunsets that blow your mind. It’s a place people go to hike, reflect, or look for extraterrestrial life (Claire and David from 90210 anyone?). It’s where we went to get back to the WHY behind what we do each day. And it’s where it hit home that it all comes back to the concept of an Activyst.
Definition of an Activyst
In brainstorming our core values, we kept thinking about the women we’ve met since launching the company. We realized how unique each individual was, but how they also shared overarching traits.
There’s Michelle, a yoga instructor and coordinator for Operation Smile (an organization that performs surgeries on children worldwide), who just summited Mont Blanc and went to Burning Man in a tutu. There’s Hailey, our rockstar intern who is a swimmer and student at LMU, and still finds the time to go on roadtrips with friends or paddleboarding with her grandpa. There’s Rachel, a teacher who talked to her class about girls’ rights on International day of the Girl, and rocks her Strong Girls shirt while hiking all around California. There’s Fatia, who despite being born in Ethiopia (where women usually don’t play sports), trained as a runner and became the first female running coach in Bekoji.
After jotting down their common traits, we got a clear picture of what it means to be an Activyst. Activysts are, in a word, bad*ss.
Reflecting on this brought us back to our core WHY: We started this company to create a world where all girls and women can reach their potential like these women have. To foster, support and celebrate Activysts.
Since Joshua Tree, we’ve been working to make the WHY even more front and center in everything we do, starting with how we represent ourselves to the world. In the next few months, you’ll be seeing these changes, like…
New Logo: When we first picked the name Activyst, some said it was “aggressive” or conjured images of protesters. We counterbalanced this through subtle branding: lower-case letters, feminine colors. But we’re encouraging women to be bold. And we have an awesome name that captures everything we stand for. Why are we toning it down? Why aren’t we shouting it from the rooftops? That starts now.
After digging for inspiration, we came up with a new logo that's in all caps. The A is a play on a greater-than sign, highlighting that we’re working to create a “greater” world through empowering females, and that working together is “greater than” working as individuals. We're pumped to start working this in to our products and online branding. It will be a gradual process, as our existing inventory and materials have the original branding (collectors items!).
Meaning-First Products: We’ve learned our supporters care about the WHY as much as we do, and love when products are tied to the cause meaningfully (like the Mexico bag supporting a soccer team in Mexico). We’ll be aligning each product with the cause it funds. We’ll also highlight what it means to be an Activyst through more slogan tees and apparel.
New Colors: We’ll always incorporate bright colors (we’re obsessed), but we’re also working more black, white and gray into our branding and products. This injects a bit of that bad*ss into the brand, and will create a wider range of products to fit into your everyday life.
Telling Activysts’ Stories on Social Media: The feats, big and small, of our Activysts are super-inspirational. We’re prioritizing travel to our partner locations so we can document and share the impact we’re having. We’re also excited to share more of your achievements and stories on social media.
Coming out of Joshua tree, we have a big new To Do list. But we’re energized because we feel closer than ever to the WHY behind what we do each day. We’re so appreciative to you for being the bad*sses that you are and showing us what it truly means to be an Activyst.
Adam Bice, the founder of Convivial Clothing Co. and Adam Bice Creative, designed our new logo (as fate would have it, we met him at a street festival in Venice on our way back from Joshua Tree). Check out his awesome products and work.