From the Author: My name is Rachel Aitken...the owner and designer of Seeing Stars Inc. We (my sister Sarah and I) started our inspirational gift company in 2008 as a supplement to our four retail stores, hey daisy! We know all too well how following your passion can take you slightly off course, both having engineering degrees that have never really been put to good use (just ask our dad!)...so once we realized our retail customers were loving our products, we decided to focus on growing Seeing Stars! It’s been a long (and often bumpy) road and we have devoted so much more time to it than we could have EVER imagined, but Seeing Stars can now be found in hundreds of stores across the entire country! With tremendous support from our families, friends and a fabulous staff, we have managed to develop and sustain two companies and are blessed to truly LOVE what we do.
My favorite part of our “inspirational” business has always been the stories...the stories those who purchase our products share with us...stories of good times, stories of not-so-good times...stories of truly amazing people...stories of dreamers and fighters, of perseverance and miracles. As Seeing Stars grew, we were often asked about OUR “story”...so years ago, we wrote a little happy-go-lucky blurb about our retail background and how our love for inspiring things has led us to where we are today. Our story? Well, yes. The whole story? Not really. That’s the “good times” version...and being a company that focuses on positive inspiration, it seemed to do the job. However, over the years, this business has taught me that the most inspiring and positive people almost always have a rather significant “not-so-good times” story...so here is ours...
In January of 2006, one of my twin daughters passed away from a heart condition at the age of 14 months. My twins (Eliza and Natalie) were true miracles, born at 28 weeks and just over 2 pounds. Our lives were turned upside down the minute they were born, and the sudden loss of Natalie was devastating. As I look back...wow! Faith is truly a powerful thing, as I cannot imagine those days without it. Perhaps most would find it odd that it really never occurred to me that this life-altering event was at the root of the Seeing Stars “story”...but as I sat down to design the new products for 2015, I was blind-sided by the fact that each and every one was inspired by my own life, my own story...the good times AND the not-so-good times. It was then that I realized that my intense desire to focus on the positive when times were tough resulted in my passion for designing products to inspire others because I needed them too...and THAT is how Seeing Stars was born. THAT is our story, as time passed after Natalie’s death, I recall being relieved that Eliza was too young to experience the immense grief we all had...but so incredibly sad that she would always wonder. Wonder what it would have been like to grow up with her twin sister...wonder if Natalie was indeed now her guardian angel (as she had been told so many times by so many people)... wonder why God wanted Natalie in heaven...and wonder why she was given the chance to live her life on earth. So one day in 2007, I put myself in the “shoes” of my young daughter and wrote “Do They Play Dress Up in Heaven” in a spiral notebook and never looked at it again. Many bittersweet birthdays have come and gone and we have been blessed with two more incredible children to make our family complete. But years later, not a day goes by that I don’t think of my little angel. And today, I would say my own grief has been entirely replaced by wonder...and that, I am fairly certain will never change. I do, however, consider myself extremely blessed as I can wonder a little less about what Natalie would be like while I witness Eliza grow up. She is a truly amazing person that is inspired by her wonder every day and is such an inspiration to those who know her and her story...and for that, I am (crazy) thankful.
So, at last, after all these years, we joyfully embrace our story. We celebrate those who have inspired us, those who will inspire us and those we are able to inspire by doing what we love. I stumbled on the notebook that contained “Do They Play Dress Up in Heaven?” on a Sunday afternoon mission to de-clutter my life. Turns out it was the missing chapter of OUR story...one we had to share, and proof that inspiration can indeed be found in the most unexpected places.
Hardcover book, 8 3/4" x 8 3/4", 20 pages. Written and illustrated by Rachel Aitken. A portion of the sales of this book is donated to children's charities.