When co-founders Victoria and Tara were roommates together in college, Victoria’s sister, Ali, died by suicide at 21 after a long battle with depression and mental instability. Imagine Tomorrow is inspired by Ali – the lost soul who craved a sense of community in her pain and found comfort in the words and lyrics of John Lennon. She kept a journal of inspirational quotes by Lennon and others, and had a tattoo of the reminder to “Imagine” in cursive print on her wrist.
After being struck hard by the ripple effect of her sister’s loss, Victoria found her resilience in a puppy she adopted, and named Lennon in honor of Ali. Lennon immediately began a ripple effect of his own – bringing hope and light to a community of grieving family, friends, and strangers.
Imagine Tomorrow’s mission is to use the resilience that dogs inspire to encourage others to imagine a world where people like Ali can find the community and strength they need.
Certainly not due to any natural knack for bowtie making by co-founders Victoria and Tara.
Instead it was conceived after a few key observations they made about interactions while in the presence of Lennon:
A trip to the park alone brings little-to-no “stranger engagement”.
But bringing Lennon to the same park, on the same day, suddenly opens the doors to warm conversations with countless strangers.
With distractions and busy schedules ingrained in our culture, humanity seems a little easier to reach with the help of a four legged friend.
Victoria has been buying scarves and seasonal bow ties for Lennon since he was a puppy. First, a Cal scarf to wear in the stands as his mom and auntie competed for the Golden Bears track and field team.
When graduation day meant giving up days at the track and trading them in for days in the office, Victoria, Tara, and even Lennon needed to opt for more professional office attire. For Lennon, that meant bow ties, thus seasonal bow ties became a staple item in Lennon’s wardrobe.
When Lennon hit the park with his bow tie after work, comments, smiles and conversations became almost unavoidable.
If all it takes is a well folded piece of fabric on a dogs neck to get people to start casual conversation, Victoria and Tara decided there had to be a way to leverage this to get people to start talking about something productive – mental health.
One of the greatest challenges of mental health today is that, despite a flood of evidence and scientific research backing mental illness as one of the most deadly and pervasive, there is still shame and embarrassment tied to being affected. If more communities began to support, rather than isolate, those struck with mental illness, people would seek professional help sooner, incorporate resilience practices into their routines, and stop feeling so alone and burdensome in their suffering.
So here we are today, with the help of man’s best friend, aiming to accomplish three key goals:
- Create a channel for open conversation about mental health by leveraging the human interactions that happen organically from well-dressed pups
- Make meaningful contributions by dedicating a portion of the proceeds from each sale to projects and foundations making lasting impacts to both stigma reduction and mental health awareness
- Establish a recognizable brand of bowties that stand for a vision of mental health awareness and acceptance
Imagine is a nod to Ali, and her love of John Lennon. Imagine Tomorrow is a message of hope and inspiration to those that may be struggling today – that tomorrow is a new day, and to have the resilience to keep fighting.
Help us by talking more openly about mental health in your communities, showing support and encouragement to those who suffer to get professional help, and buying a bowtie, so that Imagine Tomorrow can fund its own efforts to reduce stigma and contribute to other foundations with similar missions.
Thank you for your support! Please follow us on Instagram, tag us in your posts, and reach out if you have questions or want to partner with us.
Tied to a Cause
We’re tied to the mission of normalizing mental illness so that those that are struggling are empowered to get the help they need. Buy a bowtie, support a cause, join the conversation, make a change.