It was a dark and stormy night—no really, it was. Our boutique creative agency YOU + ME* was in need of a retreat/vision quest/mini sabbatical/whatever you want to call it and we decided the perfect location was Salt Lake City in January. We weren’t there to seek inspiration at Sundance or on the slopes (though that would have been a solid plan following the storm that blew through town). Instead, we flew three quarters of the way across the country to attend the Altitude Summit, lovingly referred to as Alt, a design and social media conference that attracts creative powerhouses from all over the country. If you think boondoggle when you hear conference, it might not be obvious why we expected to forge a bold new path for our business from the lobby of the Grand America Hotel. But forge we did. It was time to step away from the glare of our computer screens and into the warm glow of shiny notebooks and neon pencils. We wanted to liberate our brains from practical matters like business taxes and invoicing systems and let our minds wander toward our biggest dreams and grandest plans. Most importantly, we needed to meaningfully connect—with old pals, new friends, and each other.
Over the course of our four-day trip, we had a blast (um, as you can see), extended our wheelhouse with a few new tricks, and figured out the next step on our never-ending quest to create a business that reflects our values and leads to fulfilling personal and professional lives. We stayed up late into the night discussing the fact that our internet circles are closing, rather than widening, comparing our experiences of the world, and chatting about our desire to connect women to each other in ways that extend beyond what our houses and weddings look like, what we cook for our families, and how we conceive of and present our outer selves. We downed coffee after coffee contemplating the fact that the online world has been one in which women have been framed as tearing each other down rather than building each other up. We lamented the dearth of online content for women that acknowledges that we are more than our outfits, our homes, and our consumption habits.
From that, the Equals Project was born.
And it looks like others have been thinking along the same lines. From the growing "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" movement among bloggers, to the focus on meaningful gatherings in Kinfolk magazine, to people sharing incredibly thoughtful stories online with the sole intention of helping other people achieve happiness, it's clear that the internet is evolving from a place where we store and showcase our (often-unattainable) goals into a place where we can be real, multi-dimensional people. As we slow down and think about what we are really consuming on the internet, it seems as if we as a society are aching for meaning and process, rather than destinations and results. We hope you will find here a collection of stories, discussions, and art from women across the country (and across the world) that compels you to think, contribute your own stories and thoughts, and most of all, to act.
We are more than what we can cook, we are more than what we can create, more than our makeup, our jewelry, our aesthetic tastes. We are people with complex ideas, and conflicting thoughts, who read, travel, discuss, do, and make. We are people who are influenced and inspired by the women who came before us, and we aspire to create something greater than the sum of our parts.
After many months of work, tellingly accompanied by more grins than swear words, it’s finally time for us to make the Equals Project a reality. We still have to pinch ourselves a little bit when we think of the talent, the stories, and the passion found among this amazing group of contributors and collaborators. And we only get more excited when we think of how the Equals Project will be interpreted in print early next year. We've also taken to jumping up and cheering on an hourly basis when we think about kicking off Equals Does, our philanthropic call to action--money is not the only tool for making a difference in the world. In a short while, we’ll be announcing our first project representing Equals Does and featuring a series of inspiring projects that share a similar spirit. If you’re interested in supporting the Equals Project, you’re in luck:
- Follow us on facebook and twitter for regular updates
- Share The Equals Project with your friends, family, and every nice person you meet
- Contribute your writing, photography, or video (see submission guidelines)
- Send us a story of how you’ve used your skills, talents, or sheer gumption as a force for good in the world
Let's continue this conversation and get to know each other better, shall we?
Elisabeth & Miya