The Story of ‘Shine on Seattle’

A Real Estate Broker Brings Safety and Magic to Seattle’s Darker Months.

By Susanne Stauffer

As a little girl growing up in Finland, I remember how the endless summer days would quickly dissipate into darkness at this time of year, until we hardly had any daylight at all. Yet, even in the fall and winter months, we still walked to school, we still played outside. Life went on as usual, albeit with extra layers of clothing.

In those dark months, my mom, like most Finnish moms, would sew strips of reflector tape to our outdoor clothing so drivers would have an easier time spotting us. We would dangle reflectors from our backpacks and jacket zippers. Adults, too, would attach reflectors to their clothing, bicycles and baby strollers. Businesses in Finland would often give out reflectors to their customers. I remember going to the bank with my parents and walking out with a magical, shiny sphere or snowflake.

Now in Seattle, in the months of fleeting light, I think back on those days. I notice people who walk in dark clothing in the early mornings and evenings —school kids included — and wonder why they are not covered in reflectors like I was as a kid. Recently, while observing a bunch of children crossing a street in the dark, I had my “aha” moment: I realized that I now have the opportunity to provide safety reflectors to my community through my business.

I am a real estate broker. My project, “Shine On Seattle,” seeks to provide my neighbors with a helpful tool for fall and winter safety, while also reminding them that I’m a local resource for any of their real estate questions or needs. I am hoping that my reflectors will be packed away with winter clothes and dug out again in the fall for use year after year.

I chose to order my reflectors from Finland. (Did you know that’s where reflectors were invented? If not, read the story below!). After doing much research, I found that these were the highest-quality reflectors available for my needs, and are manufactured in favorable working conditions. I am providing them as a courtesy, and I hope they will make for a safer, more magical season.

If you love your reflector and would like a few more to share with your family, I am happy to provide extras, within means. However, if you do not think you’ll use your reflector, please do not add it to the landfill. Pass it on to a friend or email me and I will pick it up from you when I am in your area.

Take a photo with your reflector and tag it #ShineOnSeattle

Fun Reflector Facts:

The Safety safety Reflector reflector is a Finnish creation! . In the 1950’s, Arvi Lehti, a Finnish farmer, was riding his from Pertteli village (Finland) rode his horse and carriage. It was in the dark. Suddenly , a horrible accident happened. A car came from behind the carriage, not seeing it on the road. and the driver did not see it. The car hit the carriage and the horse, and the horse died. The farmer lost his partner at work and a dear friend. The farmer’s stable became empty and he grieved for a while. Then he got a bright idea indeed! He knew how similar accidents could be avoided. He built an injection molding machine in the empty stable and started to produce reflective bricks that could be installed behind horse carriages to prevent future accidents. The bricks reflected light on car head lights so bright that car drivers could see the carriages in time to slow down and pass by safely.(Source: Safety Reflector of Finland) Read more here of how this developed into the modern Safety Reflector.

In several countries, it is required by law that pedestrians wear safety reflectors when walking during dark times of the year.

The snowflake design was designed by Kalervo Suomela in 1961.