Updated: Aug 10, 2021
Being nice seems like a small thing we take for granted. For Adriana Carigg, it’s something she’s wildly passionate about. In fact, she's made a whole career on positivity and the philosophy that it’s nice to be nice. Her company, The Little Words Project, makes trackable bracelets that literally have “little words” on them to remind their wearers to be a little kinder, to others and themselves. Through her story, we can see how passion has truly helped her build her business to where it is today.
1. Passion Makes You Aware of a Need
When you’re passionate about something, you see it everywhere. Before you know it, your passion has started you out on a new venture. Adriana’s passion for positivity started with her sorority, but soon she saw how her bracelets could be used on a wider scale.
“Back in 2013, I was 23 years old and had just graduated from college when I came up with the idea for the line. I had grown up experiencing a ton of negativity from other girls. I was bullied, basically, my entire life and when I got to college, I saw that behavior continue. It was just this female cruelty that was taking place, and I really wanted to create something for my sorority that could be kind of a symbol of sisterhood and a literal, physical, piece of kindness that could be passed amongst ourselves. So I made my first batch of bracelets, at the time I called them Warm Fuzzies, which I had borrowed from a concept I had heard about in my church youth group. The idea was you passed the bracelet on as a sister needed something, maybe it was luck before a test or maybe she was going through a break-up and she needed more love. Pretty soon it took off and it became a symbol of sisterhood more than even the letters on our shirts. People knew that it was a member of our sorority if they were wearing that bracelet. That’s what made it so unique and really had me feeling like this truly inspired sisterhood.”
2. Passion Gives You Guts to Stray Off the Beaten Path
When you think about what you want to accomplish, with all it’s obstacles and moving parts, it may seem a bit overwhelming. You may even want to stop pursuing your goals and get back to your usual routine. That’s where passion comes in! It may seem tough to take your idea to a new level. Even Adriana felt like bringing her bracelets to the public was a big step. Remember, your belief in your idea is stronger than any obstacle.
“When I graduated - I was going to go to law school, I was taking the LSATs, I was going to go a regular route. At the time, I was still really involved with the girls on campus and I saw that they were still making and using these bracelets. It made me realize that there was really something there. When I finally gained the courage to create this off the beaten path brand, I asked the chapter, “Would you guys mind if I brought this to the masses?” Every one of them said, “This was something you created, you go for it!” It was born out of women supporting women. That was the very beginning and ever since then, it’s just been a train that I couldn’t get off if I wanted to.”
3. Passion Shows You the Big Picture The achievements you make in pursuing your goals are just the beginning. Your passion is what can help you see the real meaning behind your brand and how you can build it even further. For Adriana, that meant her work was more than just about bracelets, it was about building a better community.
“Little Words fits so well because if you look at them, they literally are little words. Sometimes little words can carry a huge meaning. In fact, all words carry big meaning. It’s kind of a play on both things. Negativity and the cruel words that people use, stick with you and can stay with you forever, so why not put positivity back into words? That’s why we love what we do. It’s more than just having a cute brand; we’re putting positive meaning back into words and removing the negative association that can come along with them. Instead, you can look down and see a positive word in its place. That’s what makes Little Words Project so special, the brand is a movement. People pick a word based on whatever they’re going through, maybe it’s a breakup or an infertility journey or someone going through breast cancer treatments. They wear that word for as long as they need that bit of inspiration or the reminder to be strong and keep going. Then, once they feel like it’s served the purpose in their life, they pass that on to someone who needs it more than they do. It’s an incredible concept that will ultimately create community.”
4. Passion Fosters Innovation
Your passion has already brought to life a great idea. That being said, the world might not be ready to accommodate your new creation. Don’t worry, passion’s got you covered there too! It can help you find unexpected solutions to make your product or service even better. The Little Words Project bracelets always had the idea of tracking in them, but the creation of an app for just that purpose is what made it really stand out.
“Each one comes with a little number on the back of the tag that is unique to that bracelet. It’s used to register the bracelet on our website or mobile app, so the customer can track where the bracelet goes as it is given from person to person. It’s a really cool way to not only interact with our community, but see that little bit of kindness as it moves from person to person and track how that single act of kindness helps people down the line. The app didn’t come until a few years in, though. Initially, you would use Instagram, hashtag Little Words Project with your bracelet number and you could see all the places your bracelet had been. I decided that there needed to be a better way to track the bracelets to ensure that people could follow their bracelet and that’s how the app was born.”
5. Passion Infringes on the Status Quo
Even when people aren’t happy with the way things are, generally they’re willing to put up with it. Not you! Passion can help you see things differently and find ways to disrupt the current system with your idea.
“We obviously don't think we're going to eradicate female cruelty; we're all going to be
ourselves, if you're kind you're kind, if you're not you're not. There are times when I'm not the nicest person in the world. We're not trying to claim that there's one perfect way to be. We all make mistakes and we're all human, but it's about having something in the world that infringes on the territory [of negativity]. It's just a reminder, even if it's as simple as looking down [at your bracelet] and remembering, “wait a minute, wait a minute, I should be nice. I should believe in myself and have the confidence or courage to speak up for myself.” I'm going to recognize who I am and what I want to be and the bracelets, I hope, are a reminder of that.”
6. Passion Weighs the Pros and Cons
The Little Words project has standard words on their bracelets that we love! They also do 24 hour customization days where you can get whatever word you want twice a year. Originally, they only did customizations, which was a lot of work. Adriana’s passion for this movement helped her to see that if it was going to keep growing without diluting her message she had to make some changes.
“When we first started the brand it was all customization, but it was very hard to scale. Obviously, when you're creating and growing a business you have to be