Why I'm in Seoul, Korea?
I'm curious, I've never been to Korea, and I wanted a change of scene. I love Bangkok and consider it home, and as far as Healthy Hair Asia & Yummy Blair Cosmetics, I'm fundraising because honestly I need more capital and investment to fully operate and build the brand (I am working on a very exciting deal, so all is not lost ). So while I'm fundraising, and building this blog, I thought, what better place to "escape to" for a few weeks, than Korea? The most innovative country in the world!
How I'm in Korea?
Why I chose Korea beside it's innovation, is Korea's story. Everyone likes a good story, like Li Kai-Shing founder of Cheung Kong Holdings, Dhanin Chearavanont of CP Group, and Jack Ma of Alibaba, all inspiring stories. And as I'm at the early stages of my entrepreneurial journey I wanted to see for myself this"economic miracle" that Korea's experienced in the last 30-40 years, and how this small country has built multi-billion dollar global businesses like Samsung and LG Corp.
So how am "I doing all this traveling, exploring, and blogging??" That's a good question, because Seoul, Korea is expensive from the food, transport, night life, events, co-working spaces, are expensive, especially compared to Bangkok.
Event: Sunset Society Sunday feat. Barefood Bangkok, Nowhere, & Vegan Mini Market
Host: Nowhere BKK, Friends of Friends Bangkok
Venue: Nowhere BKK
Date: Sunday March 11, 2018 1PM-9PM
Vegan Vendors (that I interviewed)
The Banana Warrior
Big Orgasm Hummus
Musubi, Japanese Vegan treats
Sweet Karma Vegan Bakery
Most businesses usually start by solving a problem
For those of you that don't know, I'm a vegan, and my favourite vegan places are Broccoli Revolution, Theera, and Veganarie. So, when my friend invited me to this event I was super excited to see different vegan vendors and try different vegan food. And I was quite taken aback by how beautiful the restaurant was and the energy of vendors setting up their tables and samples, I automatically got into "writers mode" as I was curious to learn about how they begun their business. Moreover, it reminded me of when I did my first market at TheCommons, how excited I was to share my creations with the world :)
So, I took out my journal, pen, and approached each vendor introducing myself as a blogger, vegan, and fellow entrepreneur (selling vegan and organic hair products). And, after tasting many yummy desserts I learned that many vendors started their business about 1-6 months ago.
More people want to be healthy :)
Vendors that sold vegan sweets stated that they had a knack for baking and that there was a growing demand of vegan sweets as people want healthier options. Others that sold dips, drinks, and rice balls also shared their stories of encouragement from friends and family to start a small business selling their healthy snacks.
Bangkok is a foodie's dream
I'm no foodie, but at the market I was in a utopia eating so many different treats, and ordered a vegan pizza from the Barefood Bangkok menu (tasted absolutely delicious), and ate way too much food in between my interviews :)
Overall, it was refreshing to be in a healthy and eclectic environment with people, food, and entrepreneurs who are tapping into the growing vegan & vegetarian food scene in Bangkok.
Event: International Women's Day X Wedu
Venue: House of Lucie
Date: Saturday March 10, 2018
Moderator: Kaylee Knowles
Sivalee Anantachart (SoMa)
Nadia Chen, Senior & Executive Coach at Lincoln HR Group
Nicola Jones-Crossley, Director of AKIN Asia
A. Blair Cadet, Healthy Hair Asia & Yummy Blair
Who is Wedu? And why mentorship matters
Wedu is a leadership development organisation that matches young women, "Rising Stars" that demonstrate strong potential to be leaders in their communities, with mentors, who have professional experience in business and leadership. Learn more about them HERE, as they have a beautiful and informative website :)
I learned about Wedu, through a friend who recommended me to be one of the speakers for Wedu's International Women's Day event. I was flattered but hesitant as I never spoke on a panel before (did presentations, went to many panel discussion, but never sat on a panel), so I said yes, because I'm always open for new opportunities and I like to share my ideas beyond my blog.
I took this opportunity also because I believe in mentorship, I have mentors and thank them for their perspective, constructive criticism, connections, and guidance for my business. To speak on this panel as we celebrated International Women's Day it was a powerful statement that women that reach a certain point of success have a responsibility to give back and help other women succeed.
The Panel Discussion
Sitting on the panel amongst other amazing women, I was happy to share my thoughts on gender issues, how to get more women in leadership, and ideas for solutions to create a more inclusive economy for women.
Essentially my thoughts for gender issues and lack of opportunity for women comes down to economics. A society that doesn't value family and work life balance, or doesn't have social programs to invest in child care, maternity/paternity/parental leave, or invest in education and vocational skills for the population is a society that doesn't support women. I gave examples of my experience living and travelling in Israel and Finland who both have a family friendly societies and invest in their populations. It's not enough to lecture women about "being more confident" or "taking opportunities" because I grew up in the US, but to a working class family, and despite my confidence, and hard work, my family didn't have the resources or time to invest in me so I could "take advantage of opportunities." So, the root of gender inequality from what I observe in developing countries is the lack of jobs, social programs to help mother fulfil their responsibilities at home while working, and most importantly, creating opportunities for men and women.
Leading Mentorship Workshop: Finding Your Voice Through Blogging
So when I was asked to lead a workshop, I thought discussing blogging would be the best because aside from my startup, I run this blog so I can share my journey as an entrepreneur. More importantly, share how I found my voice through blogging. Something that didn't happen until 1 year into blogging, and once I found my voice, my blog became interesting to read :)
It was very fun to get back into "teacher mode" as I led about 20 people through a series of games to teach them basics of story-telling, flow, how keep readers engaged; and for those that had heavy topics such as: human trafficking, labor laws, feminism, the best way to blog is share their individual experience and story why they are writing about these topics. For example, one of my "students" wanted to write about how migrants working in the fishing industry are abused and taken advantage of, and that he interviewed fisherman and didn't know where to start. My advice, was to write their stories rather than provide an industry perspective. People like authentic and individual stories.
I would like to thank Wedu for having me as a guest speaker, it was an amazing experience that has inspired me to start mentoring women in my life.
So, who is Piglet? And why do I travel with what appears to be a stuff animal? Okay, Piglet is a stuffed animal, but to me, Piglet is not. Allow me to explain.
My childhood nickname was Piglet, and I used to imagine when I was an adult I would travel the world, have a big beautiful home, and do really cool things. I didn't know how I would be able to achieve these fantasies, but with books, and clever convincing I was able to go abroad my first international trip in high school with the People to People Student Ambassador Program to Greece, Italy, and France, and from that experience I knew that my dreams could come true. To travel the world, build something great, and have a really cool life.
So Piglet, symbolises my hopes and dreams I had as a child to travel, and I bring Piglet with me to reminder that I should never stop dreaming.
So I've reached a point were I need to create a separate space for blogging about my journey as an entrepreneur with my startup brand. Though my hair is my brand signature: healthy & beautiful, I've decided to step aside from being the "face" of my brand to focus on my other passion, blogging. I still own and operate Healthy Hair Asia, and after 5 pivots, I've decided that I will manage Healthy Hair Asia as an online platform selling organic products, local and imported, and have re-branded my fresh, vegan, and organic cosmetic line as a separate business, called Yummy Blair cosmetics.
Meet Yummy Blair, the character I've created who has her own brand, Yummy Blair Cosmetics and is the beauty ambassador to Healthy Hair Asia. She's inherited a few of my qualities, most notably my hair and her companion Piglet, and once I relaunch my brand (3rd times a charm!), you will get to know her more, her story, how she created Healthy Hair Asia, her adventures, and fall in love with her.
Yummy Blair, is Thai-American, her nickname is "Yummy" and her last name is Blair, thus, Yummy Blair. She is an entrepreneur, writer, programmer, and photographer and has created Healthy Hair Asia with her friend, Piglet, after years of experiencing hair damage and low-self esteem from having unhealthy hair. Yummy Blair wants to help people achieve healthy and beautiful hair, and uses technology to create a customised and modernised experience for tech-savvy customers living in SE Asia.
Thank you friends for reading, and stay tuned!