Born in a Hospital Corridor: The Story of Badgie
Hello, I'm Ollie, one of the Co-Founders of Badgie.
For eight years I've been working in frontline healthcare, specifically in an ambulance.
In July 2022, I had the opportunity to work in an area outside Melbourne for the first time. We had just transported a patient to the local hospital and were waiting for a bed to become available. During these moments of downtime, my mind tends to wander. I find myself daydreaming about weekend plans, making mental shopping lists, and even worrying about trivial things like whether I remembered to feed my dog. But underlying all these thoughts, there's always one question that resurfaces: "Am I safe?"
As a young boy, I experienced the harsh reality that being gay was not accepted, and I was often the target of bullying. It was a time when being true to myself didn't feel safe. Although I moved to Melbourne when I turned 18, a city that embraced diversity and where I felt safer, the remnants of those fears still lingered in my mind, like an ingrained pathway that kept circling around. It was on this day, as I stood in the hospital corridor, that the echoes of uncertainty filled my thoughts once again.
"I haven't been to this hospital before."
"I don't know this area well."
"I wonder if it's okay to be gay here?"
"Will my LGBTQIA+ patients be safe in this environment?"
And ultimately, "Am I safe?"
Right at that moment, when my childhood fears threatened to overwhelm me, something happened that I'll never forget. I saw a small rainbow pride flag sticker on the name badge of a passing Nurse. Completely unaware of the impact they had on me, that little sticker struck down my worries and reassured me, "It's okay. I'm safe here." In that instant, I knew I needed a tiny rainbow pride sticker for my own badge. I searched online, intermittently distracted by the stories my patient shared about their cat's mental health problems, but I couldn't find a sticker small enough to fit.
That's when I made the decision to start Badgie. I knew firsthand the power these stickers held, and I was certain others would feel the same. After our first TikTok video garnered over two million views within 24 hours, I became even more convinced of the impact we could make. Since then, we've sent out more than 60,000 stickers to customers worldwide. Every time an order comes in, it brings a smile to my face because I know that each sticker has the potential to help someone feel safe.
At Badgie, we're dedicated to assisting businesses and organisations all over the world in fostering more inclusive workplaces. We extend an open invitation to join us on this journey because, at Badgie, everyone is welcome.
Warm regards from Melbourne,
Ollie 🏳️🌈 (he/him)