If we’re not creating a better world, then what are we doing?
This is something I’m trying to deeply instill into my 9 year old son, Kieran. Hard work, perseverance, challenging the status quo, pushing limits, transforming circumstances and seeing things differently; creatively – all to make the world better for having had us in it, is how this passion project was born.
Kieran and I often talk about the power of words, especially in the context of the conversations we have with our own minds. We all tell ourselves things we know aren’t true, that diminish our light – that reaffirm the belief there’s something wrong with us. My goal is to light up words that inspire creativity, build us up from the inside and elevate the way we show up in the world.
I’m a single mom. At 30 (Kieran was 2), I made a 180-degree turn, and began a Commerce degree at U of T, after studying music for 20 years. Circumstances led me to become fascinated (ok, obsessed) with the idea of money and the markets as a creative force for good. I was all my son had, and it wasn’t enough for me to find a way to build a life for him, but I wanted to somehow be a voice for other struggling single parents doing it on their own. Training as a financial analyst, studying economics and working full time in the financial industry - all this to say, I knew I wanted to give my son more of me. I had a neon sign made for his room with the words “I Am Enough”, because I felt it was just one little way for me to steer his mind in a positive direction when I wasn’t there to tell him myself.
At 8 years old, I thought it was a good time to start talking about how we could get creative to make an impact, no matter how little. I felt like I wanted to gently start guiding his focus away from the X-box, into what I felt was a more productive use of his time. When I looked at his room (with all of the neon lights he carefully positioned around his computer screen, giving him the ultimate gamer’s paradise which to me looked like the Vegas strip), I thought our funny little “I Am Enough” sign was the place to start.
So, we started designing these signs. It was a way for him and I to learn the entrepreneurial journey together, to donate a good percentage of proceeds to causes we felt strongly about, and to give him a focus while I worked during the day and studied.
The overarching goal here is to illuminate what matters. When you look at a neon sign, you can’t help but read it. We think it’s cool to be able to light up what people want to say on their wedding days, to their loved ones and to themselves. The best thing, however, is to be able to repeat those words over and over, every time they look at the photos or see the funky and inspired art that’s on their walls.
Words create our world, so light them up.
- Talia and Kieran