Contributed. Photo: Emma Feist

Kelowna clothing company sews mental health awareness in apparel

You Are Collective contributes 10% of sales to local mental health initiatives

A passionate pair of Kelowna entrepreneurs are imprinting their mental health empowerment on their new clothing brand.

You Are Collective has combined local mental health initiatives with clothing as an idea to empower people, reinforce kindness and shine more light on mental health.

Co-founder of the online apparel store Rebecca Steinhubl, who has dealt with her own mental health positively, wanted to start something that could help others.

“It was going to start as a positive brand kind of vibe, but we thought that this could be so much larger,” said Steinhubl.

“Finding the help I needed and resources wasn’t that simple and we thought that we could take a voice and shine a light on mental health.”

READ MORE: Demand for mental health services increasing with acceptance

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Along with her partner Michael, Steinhubl partnered You Are Collective with The Foundry, which is operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association, and 10 per cent of the apparel sales are donated to The Foundry’s mental health programs.

More than anything else, Steinhubl feels that it shouldn’t be difficult to reach out and find help when it comes to mental health. You Are Collective offers help on their website with an open book mentality. Yac At Us is a part of the culture that You Are Collective is hoping to end the stigma.

“It’s less about sales at this point and more about using our voice and platform to talk about mental health. We’re meeting with people in the community to keep collaborating with events and projects to make (these things) more accessible,” she said.

“We want to marry physical and mental health together, and blow barriers wide open.”

READ MORE: Behind the wheel: From stay-at-home-mom to entrepreneur

With the weather turning warmer in the Okanagan, You Are Collective is launching their spring and summer line. After a successful first quarter, starting from November, You Are Collective has donated $200 to their cause and continues to aim higher.

READ MORE: Support sought for Okanagan teen who lost father to cancer

The You Are Collective duo is in the early stages of their passion, and have hit the ground running, using products specifically made in Canada and from sustainable materials like bamboo and recycled packaging.

Steinhubl credits the challenges both she and her partner have overcome to get to this point, including coping with social anxiety disorder.

They said they want to help people by either lending an ear or giving a clothing option that promotes ending the stigmas around mental health.

“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve overcome and taken everything in stride. It puts us on the right track and setting us up for success,” said Steinhubl.

Visit youarecollective.ca for more information.

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