PR maven Jaspre Guest and her mom, Tony-nominated actress Zan Charisse, want to spread the power of crystals through emojis — and fashion
When New York City publicist Jaspre Guest wanted to send a thoughtful text message to her friend going through a health crisis on the other side of the country, she found that words and the standard emoji keyboard simply weren’t enough.
“I really wanted to text a crystal,” Guest tells PEOPLE. Guest herself is an advocate of the healing power of crystals, or different kinds of stones that hold different meanings to provide balance to your mind and body. For example, a jade symbolizes health and abundance, while a citrine represents mental clarity.
Unable to find what she needed, she teamed up with her mom, Tony-nominated actress Zan Charisse, to launch Happy Noise, an emoji keyboard filled with meaningful crystal and mystical-inspired illustrations and iMessage stickers in the fall of 2016.
“Emojis are really the hieroglyphics of the modern age, and we launched this to translate the ancient power of crystals into the digital world,” says Guest. (She ended up sending her friend a text filled with rose quartz, which expresses love, and amethyst, which symbolizes protection.)
After launching the app, she didn’t expect to take the brand further, but then the recognition of crystals in pop culture continued to rise. Over the past few years, many celebrities revealed that they are also fans of these symbolic sparkling geodes, including Gisele Bündchen, Kim Kardashian West, Jenna Dewan and more.
“In truth there’s such a big community that has been using crystals forever, but it seems like they’re having a resurgence now because you see them all over social media,” she says.
So, the app turned IRL.
First, they launched enamel pins of the crystal emojis at Urban Outfitters. “They sold out three times,” she says. That was when Guest and Charisse knew they were onto something.
Now, the mother-daughter duo (and real-life best friends) expanded to include collaborations with not only Urban Outfitters, but also Levi’s and as of this week, the Whitney Shop at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Guest serves as the founder driving all of the projects, while Charisse is the creative director, guiding all of the designs.
“This is like a runaway train,” says Guest. “Some people know the meanings behind the crystals and others don’t but people feel empowered wearing them, and that’s what this is really all about. There’s nothing better than that.”
For Urban Outfitters, they developed a line of crystal necklaces that feature a mix of stones that together create a meaning, like clarity or health. “We love how the crystals together form an intention and touch your skin,” says Guest.
Meanwhile, for Levi’s, they produced Happy Noise-inspired patches to add to the brand’s denim jackets, which they made available at events like Coachella, the relaunch of the Bloomingdale’s denim floor in New York City and the opening of Levi’s flagship in N.Y.C.
“One woman told me she got all the signs of her family because her parents passed away and she said the patches on the jacket was a reflection of her family tree,” Guest recalls of the creative ways the patches were used. “I thought that was such a cool way to honor them.”
Next up: The release of their Emotionally Chic by Happy Noise capsule designed exclusively for the Whitney Shop at the Whitney Museum of American Art this week. The launch is in celebration of the museum’s new exhibit, Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s, which recently opened and will show throughout the summer.
The first drop features hats that have an illustration of a brain covered in rainbow Swarovski crystals patched onto them. “These hats serve as a tangible reminder for the wearer to breathe, practice gratitude, generate energy, use their senses, and dream,” Guest says of the design, available for $88 at shop.whitney.org.
And the “runaway train” will continue, they say, with more collaborations already lined up for the fall.
Ultimately, the goal is to continue to spread their message of crystal power through fashion. “I grew up on these ideas with my mom, and I really believe in these principles,” says Guest.
“I love being part of something that means so much to me and my mom, and lifts people up.”