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Happy Birthday, Big Sis! Blow out the candles and make a…Contract!

Posted by Erica Kafka on
Happy Birthday, Big Sis! Blow out the candles and make a…Contract!

Today we’re sending out, up, and beyond, a very special 40th birthday wish to the inspiration behind our brand.  Erin Coonan Schmidt was born 40 years ago today…I cannot believe I’m writing those words.

During the last couple of years of Erin’s life, she and I traded a journal back and forth where we could share thoughts and really take time to reflect on our lives together.  As any good Irish Catholics, we weren’t classically trained to share feelings openly, but Erin made sure there was always an emotional door open in our family. Maybe a window…and maybe it was just cracked a little.  

To celebrate Erin’s birthday, I like to take out the journal and read through a passage or two.  I read today about the seedling thoughts of a yoga studio/wellness space where Erin could share all she learned about perseverance, mental fortitude, self-love and following her moral compass.  We kick around ideas of community events, local retail purveyors, and then venture into more philosophical ideas.  I mention integrity, and quote C.S. Lewis, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one else is looking”.   Altruistic hedonism, but with fairness and freedom.  The beginnings of a social contract.


I remember distinctly, driving my sister to Boston for an appointment one day and talking about solidifying integrity into a code, a way of life, and building a business that meets our expectations in that code.  Reading more about Social Contracting Theory shows a history of external contracts; people using the theory to agree to societal terms and live together with certain understanding of their common code.  The US Constitution, for example.  However, internal social contracts are agreements you make with yourself around how you want to live and treat others.  Don Miguel Ruiz specifies 4 examples of social contracts in his ‘The Four Agreements’, if you need a light read.  They can be shared or private, and Erin and I will have ours for us forever. B+K shares our Social Contract in our mission to promote positive change using Sustainable Development Goals as our guides.  What’s yours? 

I don’t think it’s coincidence that Erin was born in a month in which there is a holiday, however cheesy, celebrating love, as well a significant effort to be mindful of social justice and equality highlighting Black History.  In one of her last journal entries to me, Erin said, “I’ll always keep fighting even though I am afraid. I hope this new treatment works. I want my legacy to be big and bold.  I would really like to see 40”.   I’ll be blowing out the 4-0 candles for her but not making a wish; I’ll be re-emphasizing our social contract and keeping her legacy alive, big and bold.  B+K invites you to join our celebration, and think twice next time you blow out the candles.  

Happy Birthday, E.  Love and miss you <3

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