Photo by Yehju Park/ THE CHIMES
(This story was originally published in print on Feb. 28, 2019).
Freshman business major Sarah Hartono did not expect to wake up on a seemingly regular Friday morning to devastating news. She still recalls her mother’s panic-stricken text detailing the disastrous tsunami that had torn through an area close to her family’s home in Indonesia. Hartono had visited relatives there only a month before. The sudden disaster served as a reminder that there really is no guarantee for tomorrow.
RAISING FUNDS, RAISING AWARENESS
On Sept. 28, 2018, a tsunami triggered by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake swept through Palu, Indonesia, ripping families apart and displacing thousands. The disaster deeply saddened Hartono and moved her to think of a way to serve the people back home.
Hartono had been wanting to design stickers for a while, but could not think of an occasion. When the disaster struck, she knew that she could use her love for design to create something that could help. Hartono’s first sticker, which read “grateful when it’s tough,” raised over $500 dollars within 25 hours.
“Whatever amount you want to give is truly going a long way to affect an individual person’s life,” Hartono said in a blog post she posted a few days after the event. The profits from her sticker were donated to Samaritan’s Purse international emergency relief efforts in Indonesia.
Seeing how her stickers served others, Hartono embarked on her own Shark Tank-esque adventure. With her business model of “Giving from the heart and putting people first,” Hartono sought to design stickers to encourage and serve her peers.
However, Hartono felt she was at a loss when her laptop began to fall apart. With the help of an iPad Pro that her grandmother gave her, Hartono designed her next few stickers through the application Procreate. The profits from her circular, sky blue “Jesus Saves” sticker—which can be spotted on many laptops and Hydro Flasks around campus—helped Hartono buy another laptop with which she was able to better design her stickers. Taking advantage of students’ affinity for stickers, Hartono has designed four in total, bringing in almost a thousand dollars within just a few months.
One of her most recent stickers features the phrase “get to” and serves as a reminder to students that changing the attitude of “I have to” is a necessary step to being more positive. She challenges her peers to remember the many privileges we often take advantage of. In this way, Hartono wants her stickers to inspire individuals to remember how God has blessed them.
“I like designing with purpose. I always ask myself, ‘How can I continually help people with what I am doing?’” Hartono said.
MOVING TO MISSIONS
As Hartono prepares for a spring break missions trip to the Tenderloin District in San Francisco with the Student Missionary Union, she seeks to raise money to help cover the costs of food, housing and transportation. She designed her latest sticker to feature the classic “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco. Since she grew up in the Bay Area, Hartono was always aware of the district and the dangers that came with it, mainly the increasing homelessness and drug circle. When the opportunity arose to help with the homeless outreach there, Hartono’s heart for ministry overrode her fears. Through the organization City Impact, Hartono says she and six other students will help spread Christ’s love to the less fortunate in San Francisco during Spring Break.
“I’m really excited to see what God wants to teach me on this trip and how he wants me to serve others in an intentional way through it,” Hartono said.
Hartono says she feels excited for her first missions trip. She asks that students help her team serve by donating from their hearts, as is always her request when people buy her stickers.
Through her love for design and marketing, Hartono hopes to inspire students to begin their own startup adventures. She advises that when you have a great idea, no matter what it is, take action.
“A lot of times we see people who have great ideas but the thing is they’re just ideas. What sets you apart from them is if you actually do them,” Hartono said. “There are a lot of great artists…[and] you can compare yourself to them, but you also have to realize that the thing that is going to set you apart is if you actually do it.”
As she continues to designs stickers, she wants to help others find the resources to design, create and ultimately print their own stickers.