Bundled founders Courtney Taylor and Chelsea Gheesling team up with artists with disabilities to write an inspiring story about diversity and acceptance
By Alexandra London
Featured photo via @bundledmi
Courtney Taylor and Chelsea Gheesling, founders of local gifting company Bundled, are always looking for ways to grow their company’s mission: providing job opportunities to individuals with disabilities. So it’s fitting that their latest venture, a children’s book called, “Happiness Is…” did exactly that. The 24-page book, which aims to spread messages of diversity and acceptance, is illustrated by 13 artists who have disabilities — but who choose not to be defined by them.
The two women share more about the book and why they were inspired to write it.
Tell us a little about yourselves and your professional backgrounds.
Courtney Taylor : I have a background in Special Education and have been working in public education for the past 14 years. I’m inspired to support individuals with disabilities to be included in our community and the workforce without any restrictions.
Chelsea Gheesling: I have a background in marketing and have worked for DP+Company, Quicken Loans and Everest Academy. I most recently founded the nonprofit Good Girl Comeback which inspires teens to see the GOODness in themselves and others through volunteering and events.
Together, we founded the company Bundled, with one simple mission: to use products made by small businesses to create thoughtfully curated gift bundles that are hand-packed by our team of individuals with disabilities at Services to Enhance Potential, providing them with a genuine job opportunity. Our work with Bundled motivated us to find another way to provide support to individuals with disabilities — which in turn led to the creation of our children’s book.
Can you share a little bit about your children’s book “Happiness is…” and the message behind it? It is a vibrant book about discovering what makes you happy and doing more of it. It’s boldly illustrated by artists who choose not to be defined by their disability, Happiness is … promotes acceptance and diversity.
What inspired you to write this story and create a children’s book? At Bundled, we hire individuals with disabilities. For the past four years we have employed a team through Services to Enhance Potential (STEP) and discovered that some of our team members were incredible artists. Combined with our desire as moms to educate our children about acceptance and diversity, the book came to life!
What do you hope readers gain from reading this story? We hope that readers of all ages learn to accept themselves and all the different people around them. We wrote this book with our children in mind, wanting them to always know…
- that happiness looks differently on everyone and that’s ok.
- to follow what makes you feel happy, not what others are doing.
- to find more ways to make those around you feel happy.
- to choose to include & accept others for who they are.
- to just be kind… it makes the world a better place!
Happiness is… was illustrated by artists with disabilities. Can you share any highlights of the creative process? The most memorable moment was getting pictures of the artists receiving their copy of the book. You can see the pride in their faces!
To learn more about Bundled, visit www.bundledmi.com. You can purchase “Happiness Is…” on Amazon.