You Are Collective started as a way to create change and make a difference. We (Michael and Rebecca) had been living through our own separate mental health journey's and noticed an immense lack of support and understanding.
The stories of people waiting months for care sounded unimaginable, until we waited more than a month and a half to receive our first covered counseling appointment. The news that people, friends, and family are dying by suicide because they can't get the help they need or don't know where to go for support sounded unimaginable. Until we ended up in the hospital not caring if there would be a next day.
So we thought about it. And talked about it. And shared it with some people. And got excited about making an impact and sharing our stories.
This passion project quickly demanded our full-time attention and we started brainstorming ways we could work or donate or support people to get the help they needed. To not feel hidden behind a stigma. To talk about their mental health freely no matter the state.
A Social Enterprise...
Distinguishing You Are Collective as a social enterprise wasn't even a question, we knew we wanted to give back and we knew we wanted to be able to give it all the brain power and human hours we could.
"A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being."
We donate a minimum of 10% of each item purchased to our #1MillionCampaign which distributes funds across many organizations to provide a variety of counselling and mental health services across Canada.
We partner with a different organizations and non-profits to create collaborative events, collections, and resources. Not only does this help us to grow the mental health community, but proceeds are also donated to our #1MillionCampaign (learn more below!).
Creating A Brand We Value...
The idea of apparel struck us with the immense inspiration from good company's like Tom's Shoes and tentree. What better way to create awareness than wearing your message. A message of Empowerment. Inclusiveness. Community. Safety. Understanding.
We started by sourcing local, sustainable goods to further foster our social impact. We reached out to local mental health initiatives to see how we could help. How could we make this work together? Speaking our truth while supporting current services and initiatives.
In our first year, we donated 10% of each item purchased from the OG Collection to Foundry Kelowna, operated by Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna for a total of $462.28.
As of January 2020, You Are Collective committed to funding 1,000,000 counselling sessions across Canada through The #1MillionCampaign. One in Five Canadians reported needing mental health care in 2018. Half of them said their needs were partially met or unmet. The most frequently mentioned barriers were not knowing where to get help or not being able to afford to pay.
Our #1MillionCampaign is something we're excited to share and work on to make a greater, focused impact in the mental health and illness community. We've collaborated and partnered with a variety of grassroots organizations throughout Canada to bring empowering apparel collections, resources, and events including, but not limited to: Connect Counselling, Elizabeth Fry Society Okanagan, The Local Gift Card, Marnie and Michael, Miles 4 Smiles, Etcetera Youth Group, Childhood Connections, Stigma Free Society, Transparent Okanagan, Unicorns Livestream, Soul Sounds Music Therapy, Cyan Bold Design, William and Associates, and Spaces Kelowna.
We are here to continue to share our stories and experiences, find all sorts of interesting facts and mental health realness in our personal blogs. If you have any specific question or inquiry, please let us know!