Meet the Founders Turning Your Phone into a Daily Pep Talk
Ever wake up in the morning and want to go immediately back to sleep? Shine—a daily text message service that's basically the best wake-up call a girl could dream of—hopes to change all that. Created by Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey, best friends who first met as co-workers at social change non-profit DoSomething.org, the rad new company will truly change how you feel about A.M. hours. Here's how they made it all happen.
What were you like as a teen, and what do you wish you could tell your teenage self?
Naomi: For most of my teen years, I was really active in school—soccer, student government, cheerleader, all that jazz. But my junior year, I struggled with some tough stuff at home, and as a result of that instability and anxiety, was diagnosed with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I went from feeling “normal” (whatever that really means) to struggling in school, retreating, and acting out. I learned a lot about myself and about the importance of self-care and self-awareness. The number one thing I wish I could tell myself is that the tough experiences along the way are building blocks. I felt like I was going to be completely defined by that low point, when in reality, that tough time gave me more resilience for the next chapter.
Marah: I was quiet and a good listener. I loved to act in school plays and really enjoyed doing solo creative activities like drawing or reading. Looking back, I'd tell my teenage self that there were other people like me who got energy from being alone and that being an outgoing introvert would ultimately be a good thing for me.
How did you transition from working at DoSomething.org into creating your own business?
Naomi: My passion for social media and social good led me to DoSomething.org, where I was the Chief Marketing Officer. It was there I met the queen and my partner for life, Marah Lidey. We not only developed a deep friendship, but also recognized a gap in the market for accessible work and life advice. After five years at DoSomething.org, and after working on Shine as a side project for six months, we took a very scary and very empowering leap to do Shine full time as a venture-backed business.
Marah: I oversaw digital communications (SMS, email, customer service) at DoSomething.org. I spent four years there, going from a manager to a director, transitioning from communications to technology, building out a team and making friendships. Quitting my job when I had no idea how I was going to make money, and without any funding for our business, was one of the scariest days of my life. Now we’ve been working on Shine full-time for the past three months and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What do you wish you had known then that you know now about having a career?
Naomi: I love what Mindy Kaling always says: “Why not me?” When I was first starting out in the working world, I was quick to put labels on myself and those labels would drive what I felt I was capable of doing, and what I was also not capable of doing. I wish I had been more comfortable asking “Why not me?” for different roles or positions earlier on in my career.
Marah: The most important thing I’ve learned is to chase what scares me and to always question whether I was adding value and feeling fulfilled in roles that I held.
What advice about work do you have for teens or for people just starting out?
Naomi: Just start somewhere. Scared of leading a new project? Ask if you can shadow someone who’s really good at project management. Passionate about something that’s not in your day-to-day job? Prioritize starting a side project connected to that passion; it might end up being a full-time job some day. Feel like you don’t know the social norms of your new office? Buy someone coffee and get their best advice. Just putting yourself out there shows maturity, emotional intelligence, and heart.
Marah: Navigating a career when you’ve just hit the legal drinking age can feel overwhelming. You’re so young, but everyone else always seems to have it more figured out than you. The truth is, there is no single, ultimate path that’s going to bring you happiness. Do your best to go for opportunities that feel authentic to you and get the most out of them while you’re there.
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