We are a company that strives to inspire and empower girls and women to:
- Chase after their dreams, however big they may be
- Trust in themselves and their abilities
- Create a life they love
The inspiration for this first collection came from witnessing a historical day, January 21, 2017. In the single largest protest march in human history, women and men came together to ask for governmental change. The Women’s March brought out five million people in 700 marches worldwide to advocate for women’s rights. (Let's take a moment to say to ourselves, "How awesome is that?")
Look up the word feminism and you’ll find that it’s to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. As women, we’re not looking to be treated better than men. We’re asking to be treated as equals, to be given the same rights and opportunities. We should be recognized for the important roles we play not only in the workplace but also at home. We deserve equal pay, we should be protected from sexual harassment, and our reproductive rights should be our own.
Skylar Yoo was born to encourage girls and women to be bold. It’s for the woman who aspires to shatter the glass ceiling, the ones who want to defy the odds. It’s for the working and non-working mothers who strive every day to ensure that their children receive the greatest opportunities. It was made for the strong and independent woman who chooses to place a priority on her family or chase after her dreams whether that means pursuing a career as an artist or as a tech entrepreneur.
If you are purchasing something here at Skylar Yoo, I want you to know that 20% of all of our net profits will be going towards two charities. We've pledged 10% of our profits to the Malala Fund, a non-profit that helps girls around the world go to school. From creating safe spaces for girls in Northern Nigeria to training young Pakistani women as activists and providing STEM education to Syrian refugees, you're helping some of the 130 million girls who are out of school today have a brighter future.
The other 10% of our profits will be going towards a non-profit that focuses on raising awareness of mental health. As you'll soon read below, this cause is near and dear to my heart. Bring Change to Mind (BC2M) was co-founded by actress and activist Glenn Close. Her sister has bipolar disorder and her nephew lives with schizoaffective disorder. Founded in 2010, this nonprofit is dedicated to encouraging dialogue about mental health, and to raising awareness, understanding, and empathy.
BC2M's three main programs are Public Service Announcements (PSAs) as well as evidence-based peer-to-peer programs at the undergraduate level and high school level designed to engage students and eradicate stigma. Additionally, BC2M runs numerous campaigns on social media and offers a website filled with resources, stories, and blogs.
Hi! I’m Alice Yoo, I’ve been married to my husband for 10 years and I have two very active toddler sons, ages four and six. These three are my everything. I chose the name for this new company, Skylar Yoo, because, had I had a daughter, I would have named her Skylar or "Sky" for short. What would I say to her? "The sky is the limit, baby!"
Now, here’s a bit of my background. In 2007, I started an art and culture blog called My Modern Met. Working alongside my brother, Eugene, we created a place to discover everything new and exciting in art, design, and photography. During my seven years there as editor-in-chief, we made artists’ work “go viral” and we grew our audience from zero to 3 million visitors a month. (It now reaches about 3.6 million people per month or 43 million visitors a year.)
At the very end of my stay there, we were on a high, we had our book deal with Chronicle (the book got published), we had two back to back speaking engagements (one for Dwell on Design and the other for Alt Summit) and we were working with our ad agencies on sponsorships for big brands. I had written over 7,000 articles that had been seen by millions of people worldwide.
Then, everything came crashing down. All the stress, the lack of sleep, and my ambition to try and do it all caused my mind to spin out of control. I went manic. For those of you who aren’t aware of the term, it’s a part of being bipolar. I believed I was invincible, that God would protect me from anything. So, in the middle of the night, with my eyes aimed straight forward, and my body stiff, I walked across a main street in downtown Los Angeles. I could have been killed or caused others to be killed if they had to swerve around me. My husband and sisters panicked. They all knew I needed help but didn’t know where to start. Luckily, we had a close doctor friend who suggested taking me to the UCLA psychiatric hospital.
What happened next was so traumatizing I still have no recollection of it. I entered UCLA's psych ward through the ER. I woke up in a hospital bed, with a bag of quarters next to my bed (for the pay phone) and a handwritten note from my sisters and husband stating that they were sorry but that there was no other option. I was locked up for six weeks. Though I could see visitors, I couldn’t leave the premises. I cried every night missing my two little boys who were just two-and-a-half and seven-month-old at the time. I kept asking myself, "How could I have let this happen?"
Why am I sharing this deeply personal story with you? Because looking back at that time I see it as the both the hardest time of my life and the most enlightening. If our tagline here at Skylar Yoo is "Be Bold" I want to embody that phrase and let everyone know that we all go through our own struggles, it's what unites us as human beings. Finding out that I was bipolar, in that way, was a life changing experience. My priorities shifted, my gratitude for my friends and family intensified. So what next?
I decided that I had to leave My Modern Met and start a new venture. In the two years that followed, I tried to become both a lifestyle blogger and a photographer. I failed at both.
My love for the arts stayed with me so I knew that in my next chapter I would work with artists again. It was then that I discovered the beautiful art of hand lettering. It was really Instagram that introduced me to this unique art form. Then, the Women’s March happened and I just knew that I had to pair the two worlds together - I would work with hand letterers in creating inspiring and empowering messages for women.
Why Hand Lettering?
In this first collection, we asked hand letterers around the world to bring to life inspiring and empowering messages for women. We took those messages and created statement t-shirts, art prints, and accessories that women can proudly display on themselves or inside their homes.
Hand lettering is a form of drawing where you make letters come alive! Each piece is unique, an artist injects his or her own personality and style. It has both old and new characteristics, it’s a beautiful marriage between hand drawing and digital art.
Though the final artwork is digital, the first part of it happens in a very basic way, by hand. Armed with a sketchbook and a pencil, hand letterers begin by creating very rough sketches. After one piece is chosen, the drawing is refined - letterforms are filled in so you can see the overall weight, and shading is added in to show depth. It is then scanned and brought into a software program like Adobe Illustrator. The computer itself becomes a drawing tool. Using a pen tool, the artist begins the vector process, plotting vector points one at a time. An artist must properly plot anchor points, creating curves where necessary. The fun part is at the end when the artist gets to play with color. Through today’s modern tools, an artist can create work that is handmade but that appears cleaner and more precise than anything they could have created without the advent of modern technology.
In order to more deeply understand the creative process, Tobias Saul gave us a glimpse into his workflow: “Everything starts with rough sketches. It doesn’t have to be perfect at this stage, it is more about finding a good composition and a general look and feel. Once I decided on one sketch, I create a bigger, more detailed pencil drawing. It is very helpful to create grid lines to make sure your letters have the same high and angle. In the next step, I use a light table to make a cleaner black and white drawing of it. That will be the base for everything further. After scanning the drawing, I start to go into the details - cleaning up the lines and correcting mistakes. So now, as the drawing looks good to me, I start playing around with color, shadows, and effects to bring the whole thing to life.”