I’m (Re)Starting My Accessibility Startup!

The Tingle ✨

In 2022 I found myself yearning for something more.

Something... a little intangible.

I was yearning for that feeling of inspiration.

This led me on a journey into the world of art.

Not in the traditional sense.

I didn't have a desire to pick up a paint brush, or draw (although a pottery class would be fun).

But instead bringing the essence of art; the wonder, creativity, and awe, into what I already do.

Although I didn't know it at the time, this feeling pulled me towards starting my first artistic project, Happy Roots, my plant shop!

I got to curate a physical space, create a brand, play around with scents, musical playlists, record social media reels, and to see customers walk into the shop who matched the vibe perfectly (cat loving introverts 🐱) was so cool.

During this time I went deep down YouTube rabbit holes, discovering creators like Life of Riza, Tofu Goob, Uncomfy, SeeMin Ng, HoneyJubu, Leah’s Fieldnotes, and Cafe Maddy.

All 20 to 40 something year old people who were diving into a new world of creation.

From polymer clay modelling, to becoming an artist after being an engineer, to finding deep purpose in a diligent household routine.

Consuming all this content made me feel that same tingle, it made me feel alive.

The Calling 💡

Seeing all these amazing people stepping away from the traditional narrative of success and redefining it to whatever brought them joy shifted something in me.

All of the above led me to a moment a few weeks ago.

A moment where I’m feeling ready to create something myself.

And not the way I would have done a few years ago, where success was a certain monthly revenue amount.

Instead, defining success as playing around, creating delight, and learning what brings me joy.

But how do you create art without a paint brush?

Seeing Dee from Moustache and Ryan Walker begin their journeys of creativity was final thing I needed to see.

A few weeks ago I had already picked back up Hello Access.

Hello Access makes it easier for digital companies to make their website and app more accessible to the 1 in 5 people with the lived experience of a disability.

So I thought, why not turn this journey into my next art work?

And just like the plant shop, do this without any of the traditional rules.

Treat it like a passion project, something that I can play around in, and see how I can infuse joy and awe into every step of the way, for me, the user testers, and the companies doing the user tests.

And journaling as I play around with new aspects of my life as a thirty something and see what still holds true.

The Decisions ⚡️

Along with the calling comes constraints.

Constraints might not sound very sexy, but they're important.

Along with what I am going to embrace, comes what I am going to let go of.

The first decision is that I don’t need to go all in.

I’m actually super happy working full-time while doing this on the side.

Which means I have a limited amount of time each week to spend on this.

It also means that this just needs to break even.

As it stands with Hello Access, 90% of the revenue goes towards users with the lived experience of disability. I love this.

I earn enough at my work, so building revenue streams that go to the people doing the emotional labour of this work makes so much sense.

If you're curious about what happens next, enter your email below!

I'll be doing fortnightly updates as this journey unfolds.

I can't wait!

PSST: I'm currently documenting the journey of opening a cosy plant store, helping the online world become more accessible through Hello Access & the growing as the marketing director at Sunobi.
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Steven Male

Written by Steven Male

Hey I'm Steven, and I'm the Marketing Director at Sunobi. ✌︎

I have 10 years experience in growth marketing and currently helping the digital world become more accessible through my passion project, Hello Access! We've worked with teams at Stripe, Meta, and more.


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