How To Be Your Best Self: Meet The Women Behind The App That Boosts Happiness

Stuck with a day that's grey and lonely? Shine has got you covered.

Shine was founded by friends Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi in 2015, when the duo decided on a simple goal and motto for the wellness start-up: To work on "big, impactful things together."

Mission accomplished. Proof: A half a million users have already signed up for the soul booster, where members are sent daily motivational "Shine Texts." The contents of the texts, which are now sent in over 165 countries and counting, emphasize boosting one's day-to-day confidence, achieving and maintaining happiness, checking in with one's mental health and being mindful and productive. (Shinetext.com also produces wellness-focused articles and advice.) In other words, to be your best self. (Because you're worth it!)

The Brooklyn-based duo themselves share an inspirational pre-Shine success story. Not long ago, they both quit their jobs to focus full-time on developing Shine, which was a time they describe as the scariest days of their lives. Clearly they've got nothing to be afraid of these days -- the 2.5 million dollar-funded company recently passed their one year mark.

While Shine currently targets millennials, with the average user being a 28-year-old female, all could benefit from some TLC. And with Shine's daily texts, the sun will always come out tomorrow.

MAKERS caught up with the Shine co-founders in an exclusive interview and they filled us in on their journey, their successes, and, yes, how to access one's inherent shine.

Q: Can you tell us about Shine's journey from the early development days to what it's become?

A: We met working together over 6 years ago and instantly became close friends. As co-workers, and as friends, we were able to lean on each other through the highs and lows of our day-to-day. Everything from how to be the best managers, to talking about personal finance, to relationship advice. Through our friendship, we were able to help each other with our well-being, every single day.

Inspired by our own relationship, and building on our expertise in messaging, we developed the concept behind Shine: to scale the support we provided each other through our first product, a daily messaging experience that helps you with your well-being.

Q: How did it feel when quitting your jobs? What was the process in quitting?

A: We were at my (Marah's) house one Sunday working on Shine and because of the early traction and feedback we'd been getting, just had that moment where we realized this was so much bigger than us. Deciding to quit our jobs with no cushion and no funding for Shine, was one of the scariest days of our lives. But it also just felt right. In the days leading up to when we gave our notice at an organization we'd spent over four years with, we'd come to the understanding that all risk is relative. No matter what happened, we would figure it out and there were much scarier things than quitting your job in a city with a ton of opportunity, a diverse network and a supportive partner. So we gave three months notice and used that time to fundraise (for the first time!) for Shine. We closed our pre-seed round that May.

Q: What was your original core goal when you created Shine?

A: To make well-being more accessible.

Q: Has that goal changed at all?

A: Same goal. Shine will be the go-to resource for daily well-being for people all over the world.

Q: What's your definition for confidence?

A: Navigating daily life with as much authenticity as possible.

Q: How do you create the perfect Shine Text?

A: The formula comes from our belief in the latest wave of psychology, that's millennial-driven, Intentionality (ex: looking forward; aspirations). We help our users focus less on symptoms and more on acceptance of where they are right now and moving forward.

Q: How would you define the well-being of the millennial generation?

A: Where previous generations viewed wellbeing as a trend, our generation approaches wellbeing as a habit, something that permeates our every day. We're looking for more preventative solutions that keep up with our world and sound like how we talk about wellbeing in our real life versus the guru, top-down approach of the 90s.

Q: In terms of today's attitude re: wellbeing, are there any changes you'd like to see?

A: Socially, we're making strides, but there's still a lot that needs fixed in the space. Wellbeing is often branded as luxury, something you focus on when you "have everything else figured out." We need more representation of different backgrounds in wellbeing, and more accessible, personalized solutions. In 2015, Millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest part of the labor force. The more mentally and physically healthy millennials are, the better we are as a society -- socially and economically. We're honored to be at the forefront of this changing of the guard.

Q: What does being bold mean to you?

A: Being bold means finding big and small moments to show conviction -- be it around a decision at work, taking a risk professionally, to standing up for someone who's being oppressed. Socially, we're quick to point out huge moments of bold behavior, the big, glorious moments of success. While those stories inspire, we also need to point out the moments of daily courage we often overlook in ourselves.

Q: How are you bold in everyday life?

A: We feel bold every day in the hustle of creating Shine. It's a mix of vulnerability by creating something you're so personally connected to, strength in taking the risk to create something new, and conviction to know you're the best person to solve the problem.

NEXT: 10 Secrets to Sounding Super Confident »

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of SHINE HQ