Everyone learned different things or took up new hobbies in quarantine. For some, it was a time of creative flourishment, for others a long overdue break from their busy everyday lives. For SMU student Anabelle Maples, however, it was an opportunity to start a business that meant something more than just tie dye.
“I saw a lot of people making cool things during quarantine and I wanted to also,” said Maples. “However, I wanted whatever I did to actually mean something.”
This quest to develop a meaningful project is where her company Check on Your Friends was born from. Maples, a sophomore currently on the business track, started by jumping on the tie dye train as most of us did during quarantine, but she quickly noticed that she could tie in another commonality we were all experiencing in these times of uncertainty: feeling a little bit alone.
“I began to notice just how hard coronavirus and quarantine had really impacted people,” said Maples. “I witnessed firsthand just how challenging this time period is for over-thinkers, people who struggle with anxiety and depression, ADHD, etc.”
She took this societal need to recognize the importance of mental health and made it the mission of her new business. While Check on Your Friends sells tie dyed tees, hats, sweatshirts, and stickers that all bear the company’s self-explanatory name and are super cute, half of the proceeds of each purchase also are donated to the National Alliance of Mental Illness. This charitable tie-in lets Maples’ customers talk the talk of spreading mental health awareness while walking the walk with their branded merch.
“I think we should be more open about mental health conversations. It’s something that literally everyone will deal with at some point in their life,” said Maples. “I think opening up about this conversation is amazing and honestly bonds human beings even more. These conversations are normal, healthy, and necessary! So check on your friends, make sure they’re good, and remember that asking for help is okay.”