SOURCE: Firehouse

August 20, 2007 12:02 ET

Firehouse Ad Agency Works With Cancer Survivor to Create and Launch Inspirational Fashion Brand to Benefit Charity

DALLAS, TX--(Marketwire - August 20, 2007) - With the aid of Firehouse, one of the fastest growing brand-building agencies in Texas, Debbie Vinyard turned her determination to beat cancer into a lifestyle ideology called Happy First (www.happyfirst.com). Her passion is to motivate others to actively pursue personal happiness and be grateful for the opportunities that life presents everyday. Vinyard, who battled Hodgkin's Disease and won, worked to create this business based on her simple greeting, "Happy First," a phrase she has been regularly saying to her family and friends on the first of every month. Known for her optimistic attitude, Vinyard's favorite way to encourage and inspire is to celebrate life's "firsts." Believing the conscious expression of happiness can lead to living a life you love, Vinyard teamed with Firehouse President and Founder Mark Hall.

The original idea for the movement quickly became a brand and a Web-based business to inspire and enhance living. Leveraging Vinyard's love of fashion, Vinyard and Hall devised a way for women to wear happiness on their sleeve. They created an inspirational fashion line, based on select T-shirt designs with fabric styles handpicked for fit and comfort. Ten percent of all sales will be donated to fund leukemia and lymphoma research, a personal cause selected by Vinyard. Through these continual monetary donations, Happy First demonstrates its dedication to expedite the efforts required to find cures for these diseases. The Happy First fashion line is available on the Web site and will be at select Dallas-based retailers this fall.

"This is a dream come true. Making the effort to create this movement is just one example of my pursuit toward happiness," Vinyard said. "My battle helped me realize that there is no reason to wait. Time is too precious. I want everyone to realize that the power to be happy lies within, and that you can do it with a little encouragement from the outside and committed effort from the inside."

The two little words, "happy first," were unveiled on May 1, 2007, and now form the core message of this company. Happy First, a brand established by the branding experts at Firehouse, is one that encourages others to put Vinyard's personal philosophy to work. "It is similar to the adage that to love someone, you must first love yourself," Vinyard said. "In that same way, to be happy and to make others happy, you need to be certain you start with yourself. I believe that if you do, you'll live a more fulfilling life."

The brand includes a Web site featuring:

--  Happy First women's apparel
--  E-Happy cards to send and receive
--  Downloadable Happy First-branded desktop wallpapers
--  Resources to give the gift of time, money and self
--  Additional plans include "Happy Thoughts," a forum for visitors to
    share inspirational thoughts and messages
--  Additional fashion items and a baby line are to be introduced soon
    

"Happy First is a great example of building a brand. Sure, ad agencies talk about it all the time but here was an opportunity to truly build a brand from the ground up. And results, well, this has the chance to change people's lives. What could be more rewarding that?" Hall said.

Vinyard is happily celebrating her 12th year of being cancer free and is now publicly touting the Happy First philosophy: "Happy First. Then make it last."

About Happy First

"Happy First" originated as a simple greeting conceived by Debbie Vinyard. It was her way of celebrating: the first day of every month, the first big milestones in life, the first moments of living each day. After successfully overcoming her fight with Hodgkin's Disease, Vinyard partnered with Dallas-based brand-building agency, Firehouse, to create a business and a brand to motivate others to identify and pursue personal happiness. Happy First was created to ask the question, "What is happiness to you?" -- and helps others discover the answer. Whether that means taking new action, adjusting an outlook, or simply finding a way to wear happiness, Happy First is a catalyst for identifying that first step. Ten percent of the proceeds from the Happy First fashion line will be donated to help fund leukemia and lymphoma research. Take the plunge into life to "Be happy first, then make it last." by visiting www.happyfirst.com.

About Firehouse

Recognized as an emerging leader among outstanding brand-building agencies in Texas, Firehouse was recently named one of the Dallas 100™ fastest-growing privately held companies in Dallas (Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship of the SMU Cox School of Business, December 2006). Since its founding in 1997, Firehouse has partnered with consumer connected, results-oriented clients such as Nokia, Brinker International, Centex Homes, FedEx Kinko's and Sonic Drive-In to create enduring creative ideas with an immediate impact. Take a Firehouse tour at www.fhdallas.com.

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:

    Leah Ekmark
    C. Pharr & Co. for Firehouse
    972-931-7576 Ext. 22
    leah@pharrpr.com