What I'm working on now: Meet Chuan Skincare & the Asian Sewist Collective podcast

May 31, 2021

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like to keep busy. I am always on the go and always working on multiple projects. I used to obsessively write down tasks in my paper planner in high school and quickly graduated to calendar apps and project management tools in college and my professional life. 

So, it will probably be no surprise to you that I am currently keeping busy working on multiple businesses and projects. It’s hard to describe “what I do” in one succinct title, and the closest word I have is “entrepreneur”. 

To rewind a bit, I left my corporate tech job at the end of March 2020. I meant to take a few months off to figure out what I wanted to work on next, but life happened and I became my dad’s caregiver. The first few weeks were rough, but once he stabilized and I had more time to think about what I wanted to do, I started writing about marketing and the marketing strategies and skills I had developed in the tech world. 

Last September, I launched my marketing blog, The Cultivate Method, and put out kits & templates to help support brand new entrepreneurs with their businesses and marketing strategy. At the same time, I was still juggling caregiving responsibilities and I launched a side project in natural skincare: Chuan Skincare, my handcrafted, natural skincare line.

You can read the full story about Chuan Skincare on my About page, but the tl;dr is that I was inspired to start this business by my dad, and I named it after him. I launched over Thanksgiving weekend and found momentum with friends and family. I was just starting to gain traction with complete strangers on the internet when I had to put everything on hold. Dad passed, and I shut down my store for about a month. 

I learned that there is no bereavement leave when you’re an entrepreneur. You kind of just have to make that decision for yourself. A month felt like a safe amount of time to give myself after we got back from taking care of dad’s final affairs. And a lot of that month was spent horizontal on the couch, sewing, reading, or mindlessly staring off into space. When I did finally come back to work, I had a new perspective on what I wanted to build and how I wanted to do it. 

And then Atlanta happened. And in the midst of still processing my own grief, I felt and absorbed the grief of others in the AAPI community. The one place where I didn’t see or hear any grief was in the online sewing community, a place where I had found a lot of comfort and solace in the depths of my grief just a few weeks earlier. 

I was frustrated and saddened by this, because it seemed that while everyone enjoyed the pretty pictures I posted on my sewing Instagram, none of them actually wanted to know about who I was as a person. I put it out there that I had been waiting for a podcast by and for Asian sewists (aka Asian people who sew), and wanted to see more representation in sewing. With a little encouragement, I decided to stop waiting for someone else to start the podcast I wanted to see in the world, and decided to do it myself. I put out a call for help and received tons of responses, and within 6 weeks, we had organized and released our first episode. 

Now I’m proud to say I’m also the founder and co-host of the Asian Sewist Collective podcast. The Asian Sewist Collective is a group of Asian people from around the world, brought together by our shared appreciation for fiber and textile arts, and our desire to see more Asian representation in the sewing community. In our podcast, we explore the intersection of our identities and our shared sewing practice as we create a space for Asian sewists and our allies. We’ve had a fantastic response to our first four episodes, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this podcast goes. 

If you’ve been keeping track, what I’m working on now includes a marketing blog, a natural skincare line and a sewing podcast, in addition to advisory work, speaking engagements, hobbies and my personal life. It can be a lot, but I don’t think it’s surprising. Where I’m at right now and what I’m working on are a culmination of my past experiences and where I want to go next.

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