For Shane Ball, STAY WEAR clothing isn’t just a brand — it’s a lifestyle statement.
The clothing company uses its products, which includes everything from shirts to accessories, to remind people to be kind and stay true to themselves.
“We focused on two causes with two collections of products,” said Shane Ball, CEO and founder of STAY WEAR. “‘Stay Kind’ is for anti-bullying and usually has a boxy design, and ‘I Choose to Stay,’ which is for suicide prevention and is branded by the hashtag #IChooseToStay.”
STAY uses the two different lines to provide wearers with opportunities to represent the cause of anti-bullying or suicide prevention, according to its website. The company fuses both clothing lines together by using the phrase “stay you.”
The brand was formed when Ball was a 24-year-old BYU student in the Marriott School of Management. The brand is now Ball’s part-time job and is run with his wife, Aimee.
“Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to start a clothing brand,” Shane said. “At age 23, I came up with the name STAY and then finally I had the courage to start the brand at age 24. I was really worried it would not be successful.”
Shane came up with the name when he was attending BYU in Provo and dating Aimee long-distance while she was in England. Shane said every time Aimee would come to visit he would wish she could stay.
Shane said the company evolved after he decided “stay” would be a good name for a brand.
Aimee said Shane has worked hard building up the STAY WEAR brand.
“I’m proud of him for taking his dream and doing something about it,” Aimee said. “It’s inspiring to see … how hard he works at STAY WEAR and the passion and commitment he has to it.”
Originally STAY brand was not affiliated with any causes, but Shane said he decided to jump on board when Lone Peak High School contacted him and proposed the idea of an anti-suicide campaign.
“I wanted to do causal work before, but didn’t know how,” Shane said. “In spring of 2015 Lone Peak contacted me saying they had three suicides that year. They knew my company was called STAY and wanted me to help promote suicide prevention by incorporating the hashtag #IChooseToStay with my products.”
The hashtag #IChooseToStay is used across social media platforms to share uplifting messages and promote positive mental health.
Shane said he received a surprising amount of backlash from people he knew after introducing the hashtag.
“So many people thought me starting this would create more suicides, but actually stats say that getting over the stigma and talking about it will help people be more likely to get through the hard times,” Shane said.
He said his brand started to grow despite some negative feedback, and he soon added the Stay Kind clothing line to promote anti-bullying.
STAY WEAR photographer and BYU junior Alice Cannon said she feels passionate about the anti-bullying message STAY promotes.
“I absolutely love the message,” Cannon said. “I was bullied in high school and developed PTSD because of it. I still fight my PTSD every day, and have a goal to prevent people from experiencing what I went through. STAY helps me do that.”
STAY WEAR provides an opportunity for others along with Cannon to act for a cause they believe in.
“I think the messages of STAY are really incredible,” said Bri Jackson, STAY WEAR model and BYU sophomore. “I think it’s a great brand and helps remind everyone how important it is to be kind.”
Shane and Aimee said they have personal connections to the cause including bullying experiences and having friends commit suicide.
“When I was in high school I played soccer and one of my teammates actually committed suicide,” Shane said. “I remember seeing him just a few hours before he died. He seemed happy and I would have never known that in just a few hours he would end his life.”
Shane said this experience helped him create the whole message of STAY.
“It’s all about acceptance,” Shane said. “It’s just acknowledging differences, being true to who you are and staying true to who you want to be.”
STAY WEAR now has over 10,000 followers on Instagram, and Shane and Aimee say they are trying to keep up.
“Currently our stuff is sold at a few shops across Utah and Idaho, and we have one place that will start selling for us soon in Florida,” Shane said.
Aimee said she envisions STAY WEAR eventually being sold in chain stores so she and Shane can focus more on the charity work associated with STAY.
Ten percent of all sales are donated to a local charity to help with either anti-bullying or suicide prevention, depending on what item is purchased. Shane said he would like the company to grow to the point where they can spend a large amount of their time presenting to high schools and spreading the “Stay You” message.
“It has impacted our lives to see how STAY has helped others find strength and confidence in themselves,” Aimee said. “This is more than just a clothing brand, it’s a power for good.”