Earlier this month, the CDC warned of an accelerating teen mental health crisis, with more than 40% of teens reporting that they feel “persistently sad or hopeless.” Girls were twice as likely as boys to report mental health issues, the CDC said, with more than 25% saying they had “seriously contemplated” attempting suicide during the pandemic.
Can a fashion brand help reverse this disturbing trend? Two 17-year-old Dallas-based teens are striving to do just that with today’s launch of UPwords—a new life-affirming apparel and accessories business.
Fraternal twins Sydney and Shea Hinckley say they founded their company “to change the way young women perceive themselves.”
‘Positivity and an uplifting message’
“During Covid, we wanted to find a way to bring positivity and an uplifting message to our peers,” Co-Founder Sydney Hinckley said in a statement. “We started searching for self-affirming merchandise and couldn’t find anything. That’s when we decided to create UPwords.”
The startup’s e-commerce site features caps that say “DO GOOD,” socks that read “I am crushing it,” hoodies with “I hope something good happens to you today” on the back, T-shirts with wildly colorful fonts saying “see good in all things,” a sweatshirt that reads “you are enough,” and many more designs and affirmations. A range of home products, jewelry, and beauty accessories are also available.
“Our mission is for everyone to be surrounded by uplifting messages that resonate with them, and ultimately bring them joy,” Sydney added. “All of our products are beautiful, affordable, and encouraging.”
‘Unprecedented social pressures’
The young founders believe teens and young adults face “unprecedented social pressures” that compromise their mental and emotional wellness. They say they studied the science of abundant thinking and the positive impact of “self-talk.” From pop culture to social media feeds, they recognize a relentless message: “You aren’t enough.”
Sydney and Shea are aiming to change that narrative with the messages they place on a wide array of affirmational products. The sweatshirt below from their e-commerce site spells out their main theme clearly.
‘Thoughts determine your reality’
“Your thoughts determine your reality because they are powerful enough to affect how you feel about yourself and the decisions you make,” Co-Founder Shea Hinckley said in the statement. “UPwords is all about bringing positive affirmations into your daily life. You are constantly reminded of your worth.”
Here’s a look at more life-affirming products from the UPwords site:
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