A Saskatoon couple are making a business of wearing their hearts on their sleeves, or rather across their chests on a T-shirt.

Kim and Scott Dolan, co-founders of Authentic Brave Apparel, say the messages printed on their T-shirts, sweatshirts and tank tops — slogans like "be brave", "courage over fear" and "love and gratitude" — are aimed at inspiring people facing difficult times.

The pair are showcasing their clothing at the Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival this weekend at the Delta Bessborough hotel.

Both co-founders have battled anxiety and Scott has also had depression.

"We shouldn't feel alone and we shouldn't feel ashamed to share our story and that's really how the brand came to life," Kim Dolan told CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend.

Scott Dolan agreed.

"We want people to know they are not alone in their journey … and there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel."

The two are also open about their struggles with fertility and unsuccessful attempts at in-vitro fertilization.

Be Brave shirts

Kim Dolan said the response they get from people who wear their shirts is why they started the business. Last December they dropped off a bag of various sizes of their Be Brave shirts at the pediatric department at Royal University Hospital.

Kim Dolan said they got an email a few weeks later from a mother whose son had been at the hospital for months waiting for a stem cell transplant.

"She sent a picture of him wearing the T-shirt, and the smile we saw on his face — you can just imagine the challenges that a child is going through and you don't ever want to see that, you want to take that pain away — it was just like there was not a care in the world. It was the biggest smile."

The Dolans' clothing was featured in Saturday night's show, and the festival continues Sunday.

with files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend