Interview: Craig Shih, Founder of Illumination Supply

Interview: Craig Shih, Founder of Illumination Supply

craig-illumn-supply LED Flashlights? What could we use them for in the 21st century? For those interested in hiking or visiting remote areas, Illumination Supply’s powerful flashlights come in handy. (Or perhaps even in darker streets like Saratoga.) I met Craig this past year, where I was supremely impressed with how he managed to start his own company at just 21 years old. Today, we’re pleased to bring an interview with Craig Shih, founder and CEO of Illumination Supply.

Wonderland Organics: How did Illumination Supply start?

Craig Shih: My major back in college was business administration, and it’s always been an interest of mine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with how I was not able to attend the upper division classes – so I started a business to get a jump start on what I would be learning about later. So far, I have not regretted this decision, though some processes would be easier if I knew what I know now.

Wonderland Organics: We love how you took initiative! It’s very impressive at such a young age. What sparked the interest with flashlights? craig-ilumn-supply-2

Craig Shih: When I was very young I was afraid of the dark. Lights helped! I’ve always been interested in anything related to light, be it producing or capturing. I was interested in coherent light (lasers), incoherent light (“normal” lights), and photography. I’m able to pursue my other interests now as I have a larger budget.

Wonderland Organics: It’s great that you pursued something you have a vested interest in. What’s the best part of being your own boss?

Craig Shih: You don’t need someone else to tell you that you’re doing a good job. That should be evident! Working for yourself also means that everything you do furthers your own goals, not someone else’s. Generally speaking, the reward is proportional to how much work you put in.

Wonderland Organics: This is definitely true. We often find ourselves working past midnight, but the satisfaction has been uplifting. Tell us a little about your workday.

nitecore-chameoleon-ilumn-supply

Image courtesy of Illumination Supply/Nitecore Chameleon CI6

Craig Shih: Illumination Supply isn’t a single person business anymore, so I assigned more of the day to day operations (warehouse work/shipping) to someone else. My primary focus right now is finding or developing new products, which generally involve hours of research and communication with manufacturers and clients. However, I’m still fully involved on the customer service side of things, so the first thing I do in the mornings is start answering phone calls and emails, followed by paperwork/invoicing in the afternoons. Quite glamorous, I know.

Wonderland Organics: We think most people don’t realize how unglamorous starting your own business is most of the time. You’re doing such a wonderful job! What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs? 

Craig Shih: It’s a good idea to have worked for someone else beforehand. Work ethic needs to be developed before you start working for yourself, or you’ll be too casual about it. You’re allowed to become more casual after you’ve established yourself! Starting a business is not difficult with just a handful of paperwork and some ideas.The hard part is implementing those ideas and continuing your business after a few years to experience growing pains. Have a plan for that point, because it is going to happen if you’re serious about your work. (and have a good idea, of course!) At that point you either do well or fail.

Wonderland Organics: Thank you for the advice! Drive, and an incredible business plan definitely ranks up there. What’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?

Craig Shih: Friday interviews! It’s rare to get this kind of insight into other entrepreneurs.

Thanks so much to Craig for talking to us today! Interested or in need of flashlights? Come check out their newly vamped website here! Let us know in the comments below if you love our Interview Fridays 🙂

Interview with Christine Yeh, Founder of Taipei543 (Soon City543)

Interview with Christine Yeh, Founder of Taipei543 (Soon City543)

taipei-543-christine-yehHappy 4th of July to all of our American readers!

How many of you have moved to a new country, and found it difficult to meet people, find good places to eat, and overall be discombobulated over the culture shock? That was me when I first moved to Taiwan back in 2010.

A few years later, I met Christine Yeh, who started a website that helped make Taipei an easier place for international visitors to enjoy. Taipei543 (rebranding to City543 later this month) has been incredibly helpful, and I wish that it was around when I first started trekking around Taipei by myself. Today, I’m happy to introduce this wonderful businesswoman to you via our interview.

Wonderland Organics: What inspired you to start Taipei543? 

Christine Yeh: The main reason why I wanted to start this blog was to amplify Taiwan’s international presence. Taiwan has so much to offer the world, but many people just don’t know about the island, or can’t find any English resources on topics like travel, nightlife, and food. That’s where Taipei 543 comes in. We want to take care of the foreigners in Taiwan and connect the international community with the local community, making sure that both groups have a fantastic time discovering Taipei and the rest of the island.

Wonderland Organics: It’s a terrific blog, and we know that many people appreciate your site. One of the best things about Taipei543 is that it’s simple to search for the best quirky restaurants, pineapple cakes, great artsy spots, fancy date places— the list goes on! What does 543 stand for?

Christine Yeh: 543 means random stuff in the Taiwanese [dialect].taipei543-logo

Wonderland Organics: It’s a great name, since there’s so much to read about on your site! We remember pouring over the most unique places to do on 543 while in Taipei. What industry were you working in previously before Taipei543?

Christine Yeh: I worked as an online advertising coordinator at a business magazine – Entrepreneur.com.

Wonderland Organics: We love reading Entrepreneur, as it’s a perfect magazine for those pursuing start-ups. It’s a great transition for what you’re currently working on now! Tell us a little about your workday.

Christine Yeh: I try to get up early and start working around 9:30am. I’d first start replying the emails and catch up with the work I didn’t finish yesterday. There are usually meetings in the afternoon with clients or team. If not, I’d be writing proposals for collaborations or planning for next events for 543.

Wonderland Organics: Ah, the life of a busy businesswoman. We loved going to the 4th of July and Black as Chocolate x Taipei543 Dessert events back in 2012. We’re sure many of our readers are looking forward to the next events your team is putting on! What’s the best part about living and working in Taipei?

Christine Yeh: Convenience. Everything is around the corner, and the public transportation here is great. You can get around easily without a car, and the nature is just a short train ride or bus ride away.

Wonderland Organics: That’s something we miss about living in Taiwan! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?

Christine Yeh: Diversity. It’s great to see a place like this for people to share ideas from all over the world.

Thanks so much to Christine for telling us more about Taipei543! If you’re looking to visit Taiwan, check out her site for helpful information about good food, must-see places, and much more. Don’t live in Taipei? Don’t fret, there’s also great information about Taichung, Hualien, Penghu, Tainan, and the other amazing places that Taiwan has to offer. Does everyone love this site as much as we do?

 

 

Got Skin Issues? Let’s Solve Breakouts Naturally

Got Skin Issues? Let’s Solve Breakouts Naturally

4th-of-julyThe 4th of July weekend) is almost here– wouldn’t it be nice to take those firework selfies with friends and family with glowing skin? I know that’s on my list.

Oily skin? Acne? Breakouts? Been there, done that. In the past few years, there’s been a resurgence of using natural products to help treat our skin issues. Going back to the basics helps correct problematic skin and reduces scarring from that pesky adolescent acne. Pure and simple products that naturally absorb oil (some with anti-bacterial properties!) may be just what you’re looking for to treat breakouts.

Fight Oil with Oil

There were so many anti-oil mindsets, but the mainstream finally accepted treating oily skin with oil. Fruit, vegetable and nut oils are extremely helpful on oily and problematic skin without clogging pores. Some of these oils include, but are not limited to:

  • Argan oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grape Seed oil
  • Hazelnut oil
  • Neem Oil
  • Peach Kernel Oil

You can cleanse your skin by using these oils, or search for skin care products that include one or more of these oils in their ingredients. Hint: the Wonderland Organics facial oils include argan oil, apricot kernel, fractionated coconut, and more!

Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural essences taken directly from plants, fruits, trees, roots spices, etc. The essential oils listed below have antibacterial properties that help to dissolve pimples and keep the bacteria from spreading and forming new pimples.

Look for products that include these oils. Both lavender and tea tree oil can be used in small amounts (diluted) directly onto a pimple to reduce redness, inflammation and to dry it out. You can also use one or a combination of these oils in a weekly facial steam to help detoxify your pores:

  • Clary Sage
  • Geranium
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree

Note that none of these essential oils should be used neat on the skin, and it’s best to always dilute them with carrier oils such as sunflower oil, coconut oil, or an oil of your choosing!

Vitamins

Some vitamins have been shown to dramatically improve these types of skin conditions, especially vitamins A and E. Vitamin A is often used to treat acne. You’ve probably heard of Retinol A, based on a vitamin A derivative. A natural source of vitamin A is carrot seed essential oil (to toot my own horn, this essential oil is included in the Wonderland Organics Balance Serum).

Vitamin E has also been recommended for breakouts. You can use products that contain vitamin E, or you can simply take a vitamin E capsule found at your local health food store, poke a small hole in one end of the capsule, and apply the oil directly to your face at night right after cleansing and toning.

Clays

Once per week, you can try using a clay based mask to further clean and detoxify your pores. Clays that work especially well for breakouts include Bentonite, French green clay and Rhassoul. Simply mix clay with water to form a paste. Apply to the skin and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse well with lukewarm water and pat skin dry. I’d suggest spritzing with a hydrosol, then follow with the facial oil or serum of your choice.

Has anyone tried using these natural ways to reduce acne scars or get rid of those breakouts? Let me know in the comments below!

Interview with Joseph Koenig, Founder of Three Avocados

Interview with Joseph Koenig, Founder of Three Avocados

Image courtesy of Three Avocados/ www.threeavocados.org

Image courtesy of Three Avocados/ www.threeavocados.org

Today, we’re happy to bring to you an interview with Joseph Koenig, founder of Three Avocados. Three Avocados is a non-profit organization, which gives 100% of its coffee proceeds to education in Nicaragua, and clean water in Uganda. We first came across Three Avocados on Twitter, and we found their CSR and organization to be incredibly motivational.

Wonderland Organics: What inspired you to start Three Avocados?

Joseph: I was inspired while on a trip to Uganda in January, 2010. I was amazed at what I saw – the level of poverty was absolutely shocking. I felt like there had to be something that I could do to help make a difference. I wanted to find something that would help to create jobs and help improve the local economy, as well as something profitable that I could use to generate funds to help further improve lives.

Wonderland Organics: Your organization is exceptional. What industry were you working in before starting this non-profit organization?

Image courtesy of Three Avocados/ www.threeavocados.org

Image courtesy of Three Avocados/ www.threeavocados.org

Joseph: Currently, Three Avocados is a project that I maintain out of my passion for helping people. I work full-time in the information technology industry currently.

Wonderland Organics: We think it’s great to have something in your life you feel so strongly about. On that note, why is CSR important?

 Joseph: I think that corporations have the ability, and a responsibility, to make a difference throughout the world. For many large corporations, something as little as 1% of their revenue could make huge strides towards ending poverty and creating opportunity for so many people. Additionally, corporate responsibility is great for employee morale and public relations.

Wonderland Organics: We’re so lucky here in the United States- corporate social responsibility is something that we can all do to help enrich the lives of the people around us. Tell us a little about a typical workday.

Joseph: I currently work in the information technology field. I own part of a software development company that provides software to school districts. It’s great because it allows me the flexibility to manage logistics, monitor social media for Three Avocados, as well as respond to emails from customers. After bedtime for my three kiddos, my evenings are then typically filled with catching up on additional emails, more social media, web site updates, etc. I’m fortunate that we have some awesome volunteers that make sure orders get shipped out on time!

Image courtesy of Three Avocados/ www.threeavocados.org

Image courtesy of Three Avocados/ www.threeavocados.org

Wonderland Organics: It sounds busy and rewarding! What’s your favorite part about the Wonderland Organics blog?

Joseph: I think you do a great job of covering a variety of topics, especially in helping people take care of themselves and lead healthy lives!

Thanks so much to Joe for talking to us today. Have you tried their coffee before? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Why We Love Figuring Out Skin Types (And Why You Should Too!)

Image courtesy of posterize/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of posterize/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Determining Your Skin Type

What skin type do you have? Beauty and skin care products are often marketed by the types of skin that they’re best used for – oily, combination, normal, dry, etc. It’s important to know the kind of skin you have so that you can buy products that are formulated especially to work on your specific skin concerns. For instance, I have oil-prone and combination skin, which can be mildly irritating to be handle.

Not sure what skin type you have? Check out the list of questions below to determine which type of skin you have.

DRY SKIN

Is my complexion dull?

Has my skin lost its elasticity?

Does my skin feel rough?

Are my pores almost invisible?

Does my skin feel tight and dry?

Do wrinkles and fine lines seem to stand out on my face?

If you answer yes to most or all of these questions, dry skin is up your alley.

NORMAL SKIN

Does my skin appear smooth?

Are my pores hardly visible?

Does my skin have a radiant glow?

Is my skin a balance between not too oily and not to dry?

If your answers are yes, then you’ve likely got normal skin.

OILY SKIN whats-your-skin-type

Does my skin look oily and/or shiny?

Do my pores look big?

Do I have blackheads and/or pimples?

These are the most common indicators of oily skin.

COMBINATION SKIN

Does my skin look shiny?

Does my skin appear different in different parts of my face (such as oily across the forehead, nose and chin and normal or dry on the cheeks)?

Do my pores look enlarged?

These are signs of combination skin. Note that you may need to use different products and/or treatments on different areas of your face if you have combination skin.

SENSITIVE SKIN

Does my skin look red or inflamed?

Does my skin react to certain ingredients in products?

Does my skin itch or burn?

Do I have patches of dryness on my face?

If you answer yes to most or all of these questions, you may have sensitive skin. Unfortunately, you may be reacting to an ingredient in your facial care or makeup products.  Try to determine which ingredient(s) are causing you to react and avoid using products that contain that ingredient.

Now that you have an idea of the type of skin you have, you can look for products made just for your skin type, to help it look and feel as radiant as possible. The best part is, the Wonderland Organics facial oils help address particular skin needs– let me know in the comments below if you’d like to buy samples!