Disclaimer: I like to “tell it like it is” so don’t be mad :)
I’m a 90s baby so I remember dial up internet!
All my life I had computers in my home. My dad loves computers, studied computers, and works with computers, so as a child I remember always seeing computers, monitors, and circuit boards taken apart and assembled back together again. My first computer game was Pong and I remember being absolutely fascinated looking into this big screen (we had a big boxy monitor) and fervently moving the paddle from side to side to “ping” the ball. My favourite video game was nintendo 64 Mario (never ever finished the game :/) and immortal combat which I played with my sister for hours on Saturday evenings. When the internet became assessable to consumers I remember having to unplug the cord from the phone, crouch down behind the computer desk and turn the computer around to find the “socket” to connect it to the internet. Once plug, it took about 20 minutes (today I lose it just waiting 10 seconds!) to connect to the internet, and that awful screeching sound ugh! But once online, it was like entering a new world! When I discovered Yahoo AIM messenger I connected with a cousin who lived in another town, I remember my first message was “wow, we’re connected and we can chat online! So cool!” No longer would I have to fight with my sisters to use the landline phone to talk with our friends, now we had options, the phone or the internet.
I’m only 27 years old, and these memories serve as a reminder of how I was able to witness a computer going from a big bulky machine that took up half the family kitchen desk and only connected to the internet with an ethernet cord, to owning a Macbook pro that weighs less than 5lbs and wirelessly connect to the internet, right on my lap. Moving to Asia, I’m witnessing how technology is changing the lives of billions of people, and it's so exciting!
Being connected is a very be deal
Since I moved abroad I call my family every week, and keep my Facebook primarily so my mom can see me (yes I use FB for branding purposes but mostly so my mom can see what I’m doing and that I’m ok). When I moved to Israel, so many people were worried about my safety, like some kind of rocket would hit me. Israel, despite the conflict, I never felt safer because the security, intelligence, and resources that Israel has makes it quite safe place. I walked around Haifa, Tel Aviv (even the parts where there are migrants), and Jerusalem and felt completely safe. Why did I feel so safe? I had a cellphone, I had the internet, my school had my information, it’s a very small country and quite resourceful (if they wanted to find someone, they could. This is not conspiracy prior to moving to Israel I did research on their drones programs and studied some of their covert operations like Operation Moses, the rescue of Ethiopian Jews in Sudan in 1984, in fact one of my Ethiopian Jewish friends was a child at the time when her family walked from Ethiopia to Sudan to be airlifted to Israel). Israel is not a developing country, it’s a hi-tech, middle class, democratic, and well connected country. Key word, connected.
For countries that are not wealthy or as connected as Israel or the US, my travels around Asia has been an eye opening experience as I witnessed how technology can make a huge difference in people’s lives. When I went to China, shopping in an outdoor market, I saw farmers with QR codes posted next to their business so customers can pay via Alipay, very few instances did I see cash exchanged. When I was stuck at Poipet, the boarder between Cambodia and Thailand, there women begging on the street with their naked children in their arms, men on motorbikes eager to give tourists a ride to their hotel, and the roads were lined with travel businesses, casinos, hotels, and convenient stores. However, almost everyone had a mobile phone, few had smart phones, but a basic phone to make calls and send text messages. Yet, I didn’t many telephone poles. People used mobile phones to communicate, do business, and stay connected! Finally leaving the boarder, I was so happy to return to Thailand because it felt like going from a “3rd world country” to a developed country within minutes. Thailand, on the other hand, cell phones and the internet has made a very big difference in everyones lives, from shopping and doing business on the LINE app or Facebook (Thailand is one of the biggest users of Facebook in the world), and video chatting with friends and relatives around the country is a very big deal. Even the Sky Train and MRT, despite its problems, connects most of Bangkok (and is how I do my deliveries for this business) has transformed Bangkok from being too dependent of taxis, motorbikes, and cars (ok, traffic is horrible here, but imagine it without the BTS!). I have a friend, who has lived in Bangkok for over 40 years, she told me when she first moved here, it took 2 years for people to get their landline phones set up, people didn’t travel around so much between neighbourhoods like Sukhumvit, or Sathorn, because of traffic. She explained when cellphones came out, it completely changed the lives of people. People now are always on their phones or video-chatting, because they are now connected, it’s something so new to many people.
Traveling to Japan and Singapore, very rich countries that are even more connected than the US and select European cities. The infrastructure in Japan nearly looks like The Jetsons, an American show of what people thought the new millennium would look like. Minus the flying cars, Japan has maglev trains, Tokyo’s metro system is very well connected and has wifi service. Of course, much of this phenomena that is happening in Asia, already happened in the US and Europe 50-100 years ago. The same excitement for technology like, the creation of the telephone by Alexander Graham bell in 1876, or investing in infrastructure like the Federal-Aid Highway Act signed by President Eisenhower implemented on June 29, 1956, is what I see happening here in Asia. It’s very exciting to live in a region and witness again how technology is transforming people’s lives.
Not everyone can pick up their lives and move to Asia!
Okay, I’m being very optimistic, but that is one of the few “American things” left in me, this hopeful attitude to make a better life for myself. Aside from that, it’s very hard for me to talk to people back home because people already have everything. It’s no longer a big deal that I call from Skype from Asia, everyone already has the internet, a smartphone, and way too many apps. It’s ‘whatever’ that I can easily travel around the city, people grew up with trains, people get a car at 16 (though I got mine at 18) so what! Doesn’t matter that I’m starting an online business, in fact it’s strange I sell on social media, Amazon and Ebay are the online shopping platforms people been using since early 2000, why would anyone shop on Facebook and Instagram??? Most importantly, people think I’m very judgemental, not everyone can pick up their life, nor want to move to Asia because people have family, a home, a car, friends, and a job that they are happy with!
I understand that the expat life and being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. Living in a region where so many amazing opportunities are happening, I like to ‘recruit’ people to move and take advantage! I mean American multi-national companies have been doing this for decades because labor here is cheap (hence why there are few factories in the US). I think people are uncomfortable with my questions or suggestion to move to Asia is because they already have everything: the basic infrastructure, internet, capital, and network and reached a point of being satisfied, and I would go even further to say complacent. By no fault of their own, because Americans compared to the rest of the developing world, has everything and still very much “the land of opportunity” but now only for those that can afford to live in the key cities…like New York, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, etc and have the right skills, programming, finance, management, etc. Outside of that, why isn’t moving an option American seek (especially teachers whose professions and time is not respected, they can make so much more money and have a better life in Asia!) People have been moving, for a very long time, in search for food, jobs, and opportunities, I just want to share there are alternatives. And this doesn’t fit the American narrative, thus why people are offended or appalled by the suggestion. What I do very much appreciate about being an American, is the freedom of choice, and I choose to build life and business here in Asia.
Update for Healthy Hair Asia
A lot of exciting things are happening, I’ve met with a biodegradable packaging company as I seek to transition from using plastic to more eco-friendly packaging materials. I met with a designer, I realised that my labels are “way to much” and will work to make them more simpler and chic. This week I will be returning back to teaching, so now I need to be super organised and hire someone to help with sales and delivery!
As always, thank you for reading!
Warning: If you don't fit “the beauty standard” you will most likely be offended by this post…but the beauty standard is unrealistic so don’t take it personal... very few people fit the standard ;)
People do judge a book by its cover
Growing up, I used to be teased for my crooked teeth, by family, friends, and strangers. In fact, I just took new pictures for this blog and my own sister said "Oh you look great, now you just need to get Invisalign! (yup my own sister, am I offend, not really). But before I go any further, to my non-American readers if you don’t have perfect straight white teeth and live in the US, as an adult or as a child, people will judge you, people will think you're less intelligent, your ‘poverty easily shows’ because you clearly didn’t invest in braces or could not afford to go to the dentist, have limited dating options, you won’t be seen as professional because the first thing people look at is, your smile, so people that don’t have perfect white teeth…in the US are discriminated against. On the other hand, from my experience and observation living and traveling outside the US, a Hollywood smile is NOT the standard of beauty, orthodontics is still out of reach for many people, so my teeth are quite nice and not a barrier to my ambitions or beauty (in none of my past relationships my partners had a problem with my smile, in fact they loved it, but then again they weren’t American)
Okay, back to the story, so I begged my parents to get me braces so I could fit in with other kids in my school and my community. However, my parents couldn’t afford to get me braces (they are expensive!), so I just had to ‘toughen up’ and work with what I had (at least I was skinny, which I also got teased for, but that was out of jealousy), and one day just looked at myself in the mirror and accepted that my teeth were crooked, and I would not let that define me. I stopped caring what people thought and my confidence increased immensely (confidence is the most beautiful thing!). No longer did I shy away from smiling and laughing, instead I focused on things I could control, like my studies, wardrobe, physical fitness and health (I’m still obsessed about the cleanliness of my teeth, floss religiously, and go to the dentist every six months to get a cleaning) that would enable me build a business.
The “Blair brand” simplicity and sophistication
I used to be very “fashionable” with a nice wardrobe of beautiful dresses, dozen of high heels, and accessories to match. During my studies at university I started to invest in a professional wardrobe and network so I could land a job after graduation. I bought Jones New York suits, Anne Klein skirts, White House Black Market dresses, and beautiful dresses and skirts from Karen Millen (the skirt in the picture) so I could look “the part.” When I asked my colleagues at my part-time job to help set up interviews for a summer internship in Washington D.C. , I was ready and dressed to impress. And I did, but was unimpressed with how saturated D.C. was with interns too willing to work for free with no guarantees for a job. With my creativity and limited resources (it’s very expensive to live in DC, though I would be living with my aunt) I wouldn’t be able to compete or build a personal brand.
So I decided to take a hard look at myself and my future. Do my clothes really have any value? Yes I do have a degree, but it’s a tool and it’s up to me to use it to build a future and financial well-being for myself. Also, I need to work in a place that allows my creativity, imagination, rebellious attitude to be appreciated, (I thought about moving to San Francisco, New York, or Boston). And with that, I decided I will start my own business, have a simple wardrobe (in fact wearing similar clothes everyday allows you to focus more on what’s important, and your creativity to flow, like Steve Jobs), and live a minimalist life with few pieces of valuable assets (like my computer and my phone which I primarily do my business). I decided to live by one identity, Blair, my middle name, because that's the more creative, passionate, and lively person which my community and family knew, whereas the world only knew Angela, very boring, over-ambitious, and emotionally distant (no I don’t have split personality, just all my life only people in my family and community called me Blair, and everyone outside called me Angela). And most importantly, I decided to continue to invest in myself while living in a place where I could learn to be an entrepreneur, so I moved to Israel (aforementioned cities were too expensive). And from my experience and studies I moved to Asia to teach English while building my business.
Now, after about 2 years (October will make exactly 2 years), I have to invest in my wardrobe, but this time I will be more ‘chic’ and simple, think pencil skirt, tailored shirt, and light makeup. Because here, as a woman and entrepreneur a minimalist and athletic look doesn’t exactly work, the athletic look is “in” because now people want to be fit and healthy, but in the business space, I have to dress up (I’m a creative, I thought my personality would outshine my minimalist look, that doesn’t exactly work here).
Beauty and image standards: The West vs. The East
So if you read my post "If your going to start a business in a foreign land..marry a local", what I’m about to write will go a step further (and please correct me if you think I’m wrong). In the “West” the standard of beauty, by standard what is advertised by mainstream media, what women strive to look like, and what makes a women attractive, (I’ll focus on women because most societies women are judge or valued by their looks and youth), the standard for women are slim/fit (or curvy which is relatively new), medium length and voluminous hair (blonde, brunette), light eyes (blue, green, grey, hazel), pretty smile (straight pearly white teeth), small oval shaped head, small but plump lips, narrow waist (26-28 inches), medium size chest (about C cup) and tall (not model tall but about 5’6’’). Despite the average size of the American women being 16-18, what the media and fashion brands (I worked at Abercrombie & Fitch, Forever 21, and Victoria’s Secret), advertise is women that are a size 2. Oh before I forget, women have to be young because youth is the most important factor of being attractive (so superficial and sexist, I know!). Why is this the standard in the West, well aside from the beauty of a woman, her image reflects her age, marriageability, net worth (again, beautiful people over a lifetime make more money than non-attractive people), and of course reproducing attractive children (good genes, like perfect teeth, good vision, health, etc).
In the “East” by which I mean Asia (where I travelled so SE Asia, China, and Japan) the standards of beauty are different (I am writing from my experience and observation, so again, please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). For women SKIN, white, pale, youthful, flawless skin is VERY important (hence the billion-dollar skin whitening industry here and some job ads specifically ask for employees with white skin!), thin (most people in this region of the world are naturally thin so if your bigger than a size 8 your overweight) with long straight hair (black, brown, highlights), big eyes (double eye-lid), small oval head, petite (though many women like to wear high heels), small chest (nothing over a size C), long narrow nose, and small lips. Does this describe the average women here? Not exactly, but looking at billboards, TV commercials, and fashion magazine, one would think that all the all Asian women (again SE Asian, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) have these physical features. So why is this the standard out here, why is white skin so valuable? Well, because wealth equates to white skin, “hi-society” (hi-so’s is what we call them here in Thailand), “face,” family reputation (this part of the world is a ‘group culture’ so when two people get married, it’s two families coming together, not just 2 individuals, so people are quite particular about who they marry). Class and hierarchy is still very prevalent in these societies so to be beautiful there is opportunity for landing a good job (many industries like hotels and restaurants only have good looking people working, ugly people work in the back or on the street, in the West, this would be discrimination, here it’s the reality, beauty sells!) I mean think about it, you travel to an “exotic country” would you rather be served a meal by a beautiful, slim woman with a friendly face, or a meal by an unattractive, over-weight woman? (I know, so harsh and sexist!). So, given the standards of beauty and possibility of landing a good job, women here wear makeup, maintain long hair, stay slim (young and old, single or married, it really depends on your social class), go to the spa, clinics (there are so many beauty and skin clinics!) and get surgery, because they know if they somehow fit into these standards they will marry (still valued highly in Asia) into a good family, get a good job, and make their family proud and have good “face” by producing beautiful children (no one wants an ugly daughter, or ugly grandchildren! I know, so terrible to say!). Overall beauty in the East is opportunity, social mobility, and maintaining ‘face.’
So does my athletic and simple look work here in Bangkok? Yes and no, I’m slim, have medium length hair, and the athletic look but it’s not good enough anymore as I’m seeking to move my business in a new direction. So, I will invest in a more chic yet simple wardrobe to build my personal brand and business into the future.
Not only will I be rebranding my personal image but also rebranding and re-designing the image, packaging, and formula of Healthy Hair Asia. For over a year, I’ve sold homemade and fresh products, but my customers wanted a nicer scent (something I never thought about, the product works well) and all organic products. So that is exactly what I will be doing! I found some USD approved organic farms in Thailand that I will be working with, eco-friendly cosmetic packaging, an aromatherapist to help me develop a scent for my products, and still talking with my investor (still too early to say anything right now) and will relaunch my brand in the new year. A lot of work ahead but it’s very exciting!
Thank you for reading, hope I didn’t offend you, and stay tuned for next week!
Notice: this is a political post, if your American you’ll most likely be offended or uncomfortable. If your not-American be prepared to laugh :)
Life is not exactly a paradise and sunshine living in Asia, but better than living in the US :)
I won’t pretend that my life as an expat/entrepreneur in Bangkok is perfect and that anyone can come here and live a wonderful, stress free life. There are hardships like the pollution, communication and misunderstanding, and time to time you may feel homesick especially if you have no friends or network. Thailand is a tourist friendly country and Bangkok is one of the most affordable cities to live in SE Asia with high-end condos, good international schools, good public transportation, and expat community. On the upside, there are privileges with the right passport: EU, US, UK, NZ, SA, and CA, type of visa (bonus if you’re on a retirement visa), physical attractiveness (this only applies to foreign women, men can look any type of way, as long as they have a comfortable income they can easily find a wife/girlfriend/female companion) and transferable skill where foreigners are needed (English teaching, management, entrepreneur with money, hi-tech job), and of course have some kind of money (bonus if you're paid in USD, British Pounds, or Euros), life is quite good. Yet, there is the downside of living as an expat. First how your perspective of your home country changes, and how people view your home country.
Nationality vs. ethnicity why does America categorise people into “race”
If you're American and reading this, you're probably rolling your eyes and believe that “minorities” are obsessed with talking about race. First, race is a social construct, there is 1 race, and that is the human race. The rest of the world categorises people based on their ethnicity, culture, or religion. I never understood until moving abroad why the US government insisted on categorising and hyphenating Americans based on their ethnicity-nationality: “Caucasian-American, African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American” which divides groups of people and creates different tiers of citizens based on their "race." We’re all Americans! Traveling in Europe, Israel, and Asia nationality comes first. Europeans don’t refer to themselves by ethnicity-nationality they say, I’m German, I’m Dutch, I’m Italian, I’m Finnish, I’m Russian, and all these countries have sub-groups within their borders.
Even for immigrants that gain citizenship and have lived in a respective country for generations and integrated, refer to themselves by their nationality, and will openly tell you that their heritage is from elsewhere, example Turkish people have a long history living in Germany (WWI their allies), I've never met a German with Turkish heritage say“I’m Turkish-German” doesn’t make sense, just a way to make people feel like they don’t belong (ok, yes there are some tensions with Germany opening it's borders welcoming so many "refugees" another post for another day). Even in Israel, where things are a bit more complicated, your Israeli whether you’re an: Ashkenazi Jew, Sephardic Jew, Mizhrahi Jew, or Ethiopian Jew, and if your Palestinian: Arab Christian (yes they do exist, one of my roommates was an Arab Christian) or Arab Muslim (Sunni, Shiite, Circassian, Bedouins) you’re Israeli with an Israel passport or Jordanian passport (or both, that’s another post for another day), or for Druze (not exactly Arab, but speak Arabic and have a ‘secret’ religion and lived in the region for generations), they too are Israeli. Despite the Arab/Israel conflict nationalism is placed first above ethnicity (again a whole different post, I have some expertise on this subject).
The point is nationalism trumps ethnicity (with the exception for certain and homogenous societies like Japan that doesn’t like foreigners or care much for multiculturalism or immigrants, not racist to say, some societies just don’t want multiculturalism, again not racist), and if you’re a “minority” in American you will never know what its like being seen and treated as an American until you leave.
Americans are so sensitive!
Americans are sensitive, I can say this because I used to be that typical “sensitive American” too afraid to talk about politics and religion, afraid to talk to ‘strangers,’ and never said what I meant because being too blunt would offend someone (that all changed when I moved to Israel). Now outside the US, in places like the UK, France, Israel, Germany, and even China (of course behind closed doors and not on WeChat) people don’t mind controversial conversations or debates about politics and religion, people like to talk with strangers, and people tell you what they mean, (why waste time beating around the bush??) . While Traveling people openly asked me what about my political beliefs, on job applications in Bangkok, schools asked me to state my religion, not a big deal! Looking back, I was terribly uncomfortable and confused why people asked such invasive questions.
Living outside the US for about 3 years, I no longer see these as invasive questions because people ask these questions out of general curiosity to understand a person and their world view and how tolerant you are (some cultures and people are more tolerant than others, not racist at all, just the truth). Whereas, for many Americans, they don’t like to be asked these questions because many live in a bubble (I did once upon a time) and don’t like to have their world view’s challenged or disrupted. Now, not all Americans are sensitive and some are open and well traveled just speaking from experience.
In Thailand: politics, “face” and ok subjects to talk about
Living in Thailand people don’t openly talk about the politics or the current situation (I have no comment, just Google politics Thailand if you’re interested) because of defamation laws and a few other things (no comment). But, Thais in general don’t like confrontation (this is from my experience and what I’m told from expats that have lived here for over 20+ years), but are not afraid to tell someone bluntly that they are fat and unattractive and should do something about their looks (there are so many clinics, beauty creams, and spas that are affordable!) Now, in Asia I would have to say, people are very conscious about their looks, it’s not only about vanity, it’s more about “face” or reputation, getting a good job, and marrying into a good family (for both women and men). So if your over-weight and have bad skin and want to travel throughout Asia be prepared to be told your fat to your face. In America, most people are overweight, but you would never tell someone to their face, because that’s mean! Not here, you tell someone they’re fat because you care about them. Funny right? (I actually picked up this attitude of honesty, because looking at people I grew up with, many have “let themselves go” and when I say “why you’re so fat” people get offended. I say this because I care!)
The world is not such a terrible place: socialism, China, and Russia
Watching American politics and current events from abroad America looks like a xenophobic, gun-happy, self-centred country who elected an idiot for president. Despite having some of the best universities in the world, Silicon Valley home to Facebook, Google, and Apple, NYC “the capital of the world” and Hollywood people ask me what happened in our election? Why elect Donald Trump? What is going on in America? Well, what’s done is done, but what’s very hard to explain to curious foreigners about what is currently going on American politics is how globalisation—multi-national companies closing factories and moving abroad, the internet and machines replacing human jobs, expense of living going up while wages remain stagnant—has left many communities in the country angry, under-employed, left-behind, and threatened by immigrants and liberals in cities.
Of course, Donald Trump took advantage of poor rural American, as well as middle-class and educated Americans that voted for him too. But the deeper problem in America is that the ‘American Dream’ is no longer attainable. Now that the world has followed America’s example of embracing democracy and capitalism the parts of the world that were poor and politically irrelevant are catching up while American leaders are leaving the economy behind and the future for American millennials like myself way behind drowning in student loan debt (I have gov. loans though I did pay off my private loan), unable to afford to buy a house (well I do have friends I grew up with buy their homes, as for others how can you pay for a mortgage and pay off your student loans?), and not loyal to their jobs (why given how little people are paid, millennials don't want to wait until retirement to see the world?).
And I’ve see this for myself, living in China despite the pollution, numerous factories, and human right violations (is the US really in a position to be the ‘moral police’ when police officers are murdering citizens on camera? Or electing a billionaire as the Secretary of Education who is hell-bent on dismantling the Department of Education and favouring student loan companies rather than students???) but is investing billions in renewable energy, for example China just built a 100+ acre solar farm in the shape of a panda, over half a billion people have been lifted out of poverty and living as middle class (my Au Pair family in Qingdao for example) over the last 30+ years, and Chinese women are the fastest growing class of self-made billionaires. Though I’ve never been to Russia, I’ve met many living in Israel and traveling in Europe, very nice and well-educated people, not these bitter soviet/spies that the US paints Russia and its people as. As for universal health care a socialist idea (what is taught to Americans)I experienced it for myself living in Israel, it’s actually more affordable and good for the economy to have a healthy work force, who knew!
My life as an expat: will I go back?
I jokingly told my boyfriend prior to the election that if Hillary lost, that we would get married, I’d give up my American citizenship and become Finnish! Well, we’re not married and he explained getting a citizenship is not so simple (not that I thought it would be). But, I enjoy living as an American expat, I do miss hearing and seeing English, and now there is IHOP in Bangkok, so I have my favourite restaurant and real American pancakes, will I go back? To visit my family and friends, of course to move back to America? It’s too early to say.
Thanks for reading :)
I cannot believe I’m going to write this but I need to take a break from socialising and networking. After the last 2 weeks, I don’t want to meet anyone new, I don’t want to make any new friends and I want to have one day that I can relax. I’m officially “networked-out” and need to spend more time at home focusing on building Healthy Hair Asia’s website, social media pages, and products. Since I’m still a “one-woman team” there are phases when I’m super focus on one element of the business, as of late networking and building partnerships, and end up neglecting an area, like blogging. Documenting this journey is as important as making hair products, building relationships, and so on, but I need to balance these roles until I hire someone else to do it. So, when I tell people that I’m really busy, and they say “that’s great, it’s good to be busy” I have to prioritise now, and networking is something I will scale back on for some time.
Working full-time while building Healthy Hair Asia
My last teaching job, I lived on the school campus (with free housing), I could travel on and off campus when I didn’t have class, and the job had a relatively light workload (except for all the paperwork teachers had to do at the end of the semester :/). So, I was able to build the basic foundations of Healthy Hair Asia, used the school garden to take pictures and do my photo shoot, sometimes in between classes I would make some hair products, or run to the bank. However, with my new teaching job, I don’t have this amount of flexibility and privilege. It’s an amazing job, the curriculum is great and I have all the necessary tools (iPad, iPod, speakers, etc) to create an innovative classroom, they provide lunch (special vegetarian for me), its only 15 minute away by motor-bike, my co-workers are really nice, and I have great salary. All wonderful and great to build my English teaching career in Thailand.
Now, if you know me, I have great and positive energy that makes me quite an amazing person (not bragging lol). And, my energy is fuelled by good night sleep,exercise, friends, and doing all things I love to do. It’s been a little over 1 month since I started this job and had to completely redesign how I energise myself to work 8 hours of the day and come home to work on Healthy Hair Asia. Not complaining, I guess this is what most entrepreneurs do before they have enough money and capital to work full-time on their startup, so I see this as a “mountain I must overcome.” So to maintain my level of energy I start my day around 5:30AM, 3 hours before work to get things done, go to work (I cannot use my phone at all, which I guess is good so I can focus), clock out, and then work on Healthy Hair Asia deliveries, website, and networking before heading to bed at 10:30PM (yup I’m now officially too old for working late and getting up early!). Oh, and before I forget, in between work and business I still manage to maintain friendships, call my family on Skype every week, and spend quality time with my boyfriend because they keep me grounded and happy. This is my strategy for now, and given my hectic social/networking life (I’ve done this to myself) I’ve managed.
So, last week what happened?
So I missed one week of blogging, because July 23-29, is a complete blur, too many things happened. Techsauce Global Summit 2017 I attended as a writer, which to be honest was nice but found the speakers were a bit out of touch with the people whose problems they’re trying to solve, I was a judge for the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange competition hosted by the UN for teams of students in Asia to pitch their ideas for their social enterprise business, I had a Ladies Afternoon Tea meet up at the British Club, and I attended the Organic & Natural Expo 2017 where I met some organic farmers. Phew it was the busiest week of my life! So, if you wondered why I didn’t write, well, I was honestly too exhausted. So forgive me if I want to be anti-social and not open my friendship circle!
Networking will always be important, but my customers do come first. I’m happy that business has been picking up, and I mailed products to customers in Cambodia and a friend/customer who started teaching English in South Korea. I’ve gotten request in the past to mail products to the US, but my market is SE Asia and all of Asia in the long-term. Logistics and delivery is another part of the business that I want to develop because selling natural products will not enable me to scale, delivering organic and natural products to customers all over Asia how I will scale, how I'll do it, I can't tell you it's my secret sauce ;)
Also great news is that my investor is in town (I can’t say much) and since attending the Organic & Natural Expo 2017 I’ve decided to make my fresh hair product line organic. The farmers and ingredients are right here in Thailand, and are USDA and COSMOS certified organic! So over the next couple of months I will be reformulating my products. In addition, develop a new scent for my products, thanks to attending Bangkok Soap Opera Perfume Workshop, I realised my products had too much a “natural smell” and my customers would enjoy smelling beautiful essential oils along with their fresh my homemade product. And this weekend, I made my 2nd largest investment, I bought a new phone, I had my last phone for 5 years, and it was time to invest in a phone (where I do most of my business) that has a good camera, long battery life, and more storage. Super excited, things are moving forward :)
Thank you for reading,