Meet Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi, Co-Founders of Shine


SHINE[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]W[/dropcap]e all need a little inspirational pick-me-up from time to time. Women are at supporting each other, so that inspiration often come from one another, but it would be a bit much to expect a friend to text you every day with a new pep talk message. But the good news is that the wonderful women behind Shine want to be that friend to you! They’ve created a service that’ll send you daily pep talk texts. This week, we chatted with founders Marah and Naomi about the power of community, what happens when women are vulnerable with one another, and work-life balance.[divider type="dashed" spacing="10"]

Introduce yourselves! Tell us who you are and what you do.

Naomi: I’m the co-founder of Shine & my focus is on strategic growth partnerships for Shine. Prior to Shine, I was the Chief Marketing Officer at, one of the largest organizations for young people and social change. One of my biggest passions is leveraging technology for social impact.

Marah: I’m the co-founder of Shine & I lead product strategy & product management for Shine. My expertise lies at the intersection of millennials and messaging. Previously, I directed mobile and social teams for brands like, American Express and Viacom. I’m also an advocate for increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity in technology and entrepreneurship.

Shine is the daily messaging experience that helps you be your best self. Every morning, we’ll send you a text to help you get through the day:)[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

Shine was created specifically for women - why was it important for you to create that kind of space, and how does feminism play a part in what you do?

We became close friends at work helping each other navigate our work and life goals. Through our friendship, we were able to be vulnerable and real with each other. We recognized a gap in the market for (1) a messaging product that helped you get through the day in an accessible way and (2) now is the time to build it – it’s a tipping point socially where people are focusing on living more intentionally.

While we skew female (Shine is 70% female, 30% male), Shine is for anyone who needs help being their best self.

Feminism plays a large part of what we do both in ourselves and our product. As two female founders and women of color, we hope to give more young women the opportunity to see themselves in entrepreneurship. In the product, we aim to empower every woman to advocate for her economic and social equality, from going for that promotion she deserves, to standing up for herself in a relationship.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

What's the most challenging part of your work? The most rewarding?

The most challenging: where you end and where your company begins is a very thin line. You feel everything in such a personal way that the wins are next level joy, and the struggles feel very very personal. The roller coaster of those two heightened emotions is what drive you & is also what can feel the hardest.

The most rewarding: it was just last August that we had this idea & we thought we were onto something, but seeing where the company has come in less than a year, which speaks to the need, and most importantly, the response from our users (ex: how we’re fundamentally changing the course of their morning, helping users advocate for themselves, how we’re reminding them to take time for themselves, etc.) has been the most rewarding.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

We know you're in the business of giving advice, so what would be your best advice for other women who want to start a company in the tech space?

You don’t have to wait to see someone like you starting their own company to be worthy of it. Make your own way. Be comfortable asking for help (and remember to pay it back when you can). If you’re just starting out and don’t have the strongest network, ask to meet people to learn about their experience.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

How can our readers join the Shine community?

If you aren’t signed up yet, come on downnnnnn:) Be part of the Shine community by texting “SHINE” to 759-85, or if you’re outside of the US, you can access Shine on Facebook messenger by going to and selecting “message us.” We’d love to have you  be part of the Shine community!