The Sticky Fairy
In 2019 I found myself in a rut.
On the outside, everything looked good—my vegan chocolate business, KAAKAO, was doing really well—but inside, I was falling apart. I’d cut ties with my former business partner, I’d been diagnosed with trauma, and my lifelong chronic health issues (severe eczema, asthma, numerous allergies) were suddenly worse than ever.
Over the years I’d tried everything from creams and supplements to ancient Indian purging methods, and nothing worked.
I realized that I could never heal my body without first healing my mind.
The road was long and hard. In order to work on myself properly, I was forced to step back from my professional activities, which as a creator I found very difficult. But as I started to return to myself, I began writing down funny quotes and positive thoughts on post-it notes that I placed all over my flat. I’ve always loved typography, so I made a point of writing them in my best funky handwriting.
"Never underestimate the power of a small, kind gesture"
One day I was leaving for a walk, and it occurred to me that someone else might need to hear something encouraging. I took a few notes with me and left them on lamp posts and benches in a park nearby. I can’t express how much joy it gave me to do this—especially anonymously, with the sense of fun and mischief that comes from no one knowing what you’re up to. I kept at it and set up an Instagram account, @thestickyfairy, as a home for the notes weeks later.
So much for my anonymity! Photos started to pour in from people telling their stories and expressing gratitude for the messages. It felt really good. And I wondered: what was I doing, running around London leaving thousands of notes behind me? Could I make something more than a hobby out of this?! Just as I was looking for a sign, one arrived: one of my favorite notes—originally written by Joseph, an elderly Alzheimer’s patient, for his wife during a moment of clarity—went viral on TikTok, and my little pastime was being viewed by millions. (Find me on TikTok here)
"p.s. i forget a lot of things, but i never forget how wonderful you are"
"Stardust" the exhibition
"Stardust" is a joyful, mental health-related exhibition featuring hundreds of handwritten notes inside London Bridge train station. I created the collection to spread joy like “mental confetti", while also shedding light on more serious matters. In 2018 I had suicidal thoughts, and I know what that's like all too well. Therefore, I wondered if a sticky note could possibly save someone's life and normalise the fact that most of us feel anxious, lonely and worried at times.
It's okay not to be okay, and there's plenty of help out there.
“Stardust” is open 19 May - 31 December 2023. You can find the Fairy on the Lower Concourse next to the Help Desk opposite Pret, and the Rainbow on the Upper Concourse by the elevator opposite the ticket counter.
The Sticky Fairy has helped me find lightness in dark times and I hope my notes will do the same for you.