The 5 Woogo Founders
Hankering for a smoothie during the hot summer days? While living in Taiwan, there were plenty of cool drinks to choose from: iced water, tea, boba, juice. But we constantly had a yearn for smoothies, similar to Jamba Juice’s. Lo and behold, we met Jay Chen, co-founder of Woogo Smoothies, and we fell in love with their amazing smoothies. (Expert tip: our favorite is their berrypuff smoothie!)
Wonderland Organics: Where did the idea for Woogo start?
Jay Chen: It all started one of those hot and humid summer days in Taiwan. Two of WooGo’s co-founders, Robbie and Sagiv stepped out of the gym and Sagiv mentioned that he was dying for a cool and refreshing California-style smoothie. After conducting some research, they found that no such thing existed in Taiwan. They mentioned the idea of opening a smoothie shop to myself, my brother Adam and Tim. My brother and I were avid smoothie drinkers back in Canada and Tim had tried them on a trip to California. We all instantly agreed that opening up a smoothie shop here in Taipei would be a lot of fun, so we went ahead and started our business plan.
Beautifully captured Woogo smoothie
Wonderland Organics: That’s a great beginning! We absolutely loved that you found this niche market in Taiwan. What industry were you working in before starting your own business?
Jay Chen: I come from an applied health science background. Before I came to Taiwan, I was working as a clinical consultant for an orthotic company called The Orthotic Group. I always knew that I wanted to start my own business someday but I never imagined that it’d be a smoothie shop on the other side of the world.
A glimpse inside the Woogo store
Wonderland Organics: It’s awesome when life takes us in a new direction. Do you have partners?
Jay Chen: Yes, WooGo Juice has five co-founders, including myself. That’s why it’s called WooGo because it sounds sort of like 五哥(wu ge) in Mandarin which translates to five brothers.
Wonderland Organics: We love the play on Chinese words! (Have to agree, take a look at the 5 handsome founders). Tell us a little about your workday.
Jay Chen: I try to set aside mornings for exercise or getting things done around the house. Then I get on my bike and either head to the store to work or run other WooGo related errands. Any free time is generally dedicated to my passions which include enjoying music and spending quality time with good friends.
Woogo mouth-watering smoothie!
Wonderland Organics: It’s great to have that balance of work and personal life! What’s the best part of working in Taipei?
Jay Chen: It’s fun working in Taipei because it’s a big city and I have an opportunity to interact with all sorts of people on a daily basis. On any given day, I will get to interact with people from various age groups and cultural backgrounds. It makes me happy knowing that we sell a product that can brighten the day of just about anyone.
Wonderland Organics: You most certainly do! Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs starting out?
Jay Chen: I’m still new at this whole entrepreneur thing, but my advice would be to seek out as much advice as you can from experienced and successful entrepreneurs. We got tons of helpful advice and insights from trusted sources. I would also make sure that you are doing something that you love or believe in 100% because that’s what is going to keep you going during the harder and more stressful times. If you have any doubts from the start, then you should really sit down and think about whether this is the right idea or not.
Wonderland Organics: We agree: your drive for entrepreneurship is definitely important. And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Jay Chen: I like how it’s written. It’s written in such a positive and helpful tone. The posts are very informative and I could really feel the passion and desire to help people take care of their bodies. Keep up the amazing work!
Thanks Jay! If you’re interested in Woogo’s fantastic smoothies, feel free to drop by their store–No. 42, Lane 233, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Road (台北市大安區敦化南路一段233巷42號), located around Exit 3 of Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT in Taipei, Taiwan. Also feel free to check out their website and Facebook!
Loved Woogo? Let us know in the comments below!
Wonderland Organics Facial Serums: Soothe, Sublime & Balance
Photography has always been an area that we’ve loved, since “pictures speak a thousand words”. When we first started Wonderland Organics, we knew that we would need someone amazing to capture the essence of our company. When a friend introduced us to Danielle White Photography, we admired her talent, and asked her to do our product photography (and a fun shoot with our founder!)
Wonderland Organics: How did you get into photography?
Danielle White: At the beginning of last year (2013) I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which meant I could no longer work in the dental field that I had loved for many years. I was looking for volunteer opportunities in the area to fill my time, and came across a professional photographer looking for an apprentice. I jumped at the chance. As a kid I was always pretending I was a big time photographer and got my first SLR camera when I was 14.
Founder Alice Lin in Wonderland
Wonderland Organics: We think it’s amazing you’ve turned a diagnosis into a new and extraordinary life direction. For our curious readers, what kind of lens and camera do you shoot with?
Danielle White: I shoot on an old Canon 5d that I bought used and a couple prime lenses- a 50mm 1.8 (leftover from my first SLR camera from 12+ years ago) and an 85mm 1.8.
Wonderland Organics: Your camera is amazing! What’s a sneak peek into a day at Danielle White Photography?
Danielle White: My day always starts with coffee!! After I’m sufficiently caffeinated, I catch up on photography blogs and artists (photographers, dancers, musicians, etc.) that inspire me on Facebook. I edit my shoots while listening to meditation music (My current favorite is the Asian Zen Spa Music) playlist I found on Spotify and burning incense. It gets me into the editing zone.
Facial Oil Samples
Wonderland Organics: We’re definitely with you on the caffeine. What’s your ideal photo shoot?
Danielle White: I like to call my style of photography “Organic Photography”. I love natural light and shoot where my clients are comfortable, including in their own yards or apartment complexes. I get a combination of traditional portraits, lifestyle details, and candid shots. It’s not a big production with me (just me and my camera), which makes professional shots within reach of anyone out there. I love a shoot where my client lets his or her personality shine- I love nothing more than to capture a real, crinkle-nosed, full on belly laugh- kids and adults alike!
Wonderland Organics: This was evident in the stunning photos you shot for us! Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?
Danielle White: It’s really important to work within your means, including time,
Blending in with nature
money, and space– it will force you to be creative in your learning and problem solving methods. I bought a used 12 mp full frame camera because it’s what I could afford. Most cell phones these days come with higher resolution cameras! It forced me to really learn my camera and settings to get the best quality.
I work with prime lenses, because they tend to be cheaper. This has forced me to think about the placement of my clients and where I stand and I how I move around them. I couldn’t afford fancy presets and actions for editing software, so I had to learn how to do everything from scratch. Of course, I drool over new cameras and lenses and have a giant wishlist, but I am thankful for my meager start, because it forced me to learn things that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, which I feel makes me better at what I do.
Balance Serum in Wonderland
Wonderland Organics: Brilliant suggestions for the entrepreneurs out there! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Danielle White: I love that the blog acknowledges that health is a mind, body, soul connection and gives tips and information on a wide range of healthy topics! Keep it up!
We love Danielle’s insightful answers to our interview– isn’t she amazing? If you’re looking to support local businesses (or if you’re based in the Bay Area), feel free to reach out to her at her website here!
Loved the interview? Let us know in the comments below!
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 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.
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 🙂
Happy 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].
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?
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
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
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!
I look forward to TGIF interviews, since it’s about talking with people who I find inspirational. Coding websites and graphic design are two things that I find incredibly challenging—which is why I outsourced these to people who find it enjoyable. Today, I hope you all enjoy this special interview with our website designer Randy Hembrador, who has the honor of being the first male interviewee for the Wonderland Organics blog!
Wonderland Organics: How did you get started with website design?
Randy: In undergrad, I was a fine art student and the web was something I was actually trying to avoid learning since coding looked so intimidating. A couple of years out of undergrad, I was in the corporate workforce in a decisively non-creativity oriented role, and actually ended up having to do some web related things for work. At that point, I found out that, although a lot of stuff didn’t really make sense at first, it was really rewarding to see things come together and I’ve been hooked on learning more/trying to see how much I could master ever since.
Wonderland Organics: That’s how we felt too about coding! It’s great that you managed to pick it up. How do you define what designs are aesthetically pleasing?
Randy: I think that designs that really indicate thoughtfulness on the part of the designer are the most pleasing. I’m personally more of just an enthusiast than a design professional, though I think everyday life is full of designs where you can tell that designers/design teams really put a lot of thought into “what does this thing do” or “what is the nature of the content and/or materials we are working with.”
I’m personally a really big fan of logo designs where the designers try to redesign things as little as possible, and just bring whatever already exists to a certain point of refinement. I particularly like logo redesigns like SanDisk, the NFL and Phillips which look more or less the same on first glance, but close inspection really shows how much thought goes into every detail, and how careful the designers are not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
In terms of web design, I really like how much responsive design has progressed over the last couple of years. Designing for the web is challenging since a website has to look consistent, though not necessarily the same, on a slew of devices and in browsers that can be sized and resized at will. I think it something a lot of designers (as well as the technology itself) had struggled with in the past, but the last couple of years have shown some really awesome solutions to the challenge.
Wonderland Organics: We love your answer to this. There’s been a slew of redesigns lately, and it’s made us think about how much work has been put into it. Do you create websites for different industries, or do you focus on just one particular industry?
Randy: I personally enjoy getting to work on any type of project, and if it’s something I don’t know about, I like the opportunity to get to learn about stuff that someone else is passionate about.
Wonderland Organics: Especially now that you’ve started working with us for our new website! Tell us a little bit about your work flow.
Randy: I’m personally still revising my methodology for taking on new projects. As it’s currently not really my primary occupation, I’m most interested in finding ways to make things faster/allow me to see results more quickly so I can jump right into things when I switch gears from my day job. As of now, I like to start off projects by talking to the requester and seeing what they want to accomplish, having a dialog of possible tech solutions and how to customize them, and mocking up what the user experience would be. This latter portion is my favorite part of the process/I consider it the playtime portion of my process.
Wonderland Organics: That’s absolutely fantastic! We love that you can chase your dreams, while also holding down your current job. What’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Randy: I really like the positivity here 🙂 I think it’s great how much the philosophy behind the company is all about being passionate about what goes into the products, as well as being forthright and generous with the information it digs up (not to mention the positive focus on real folks through these interviews).
Thanks so much to Randy for talking to us today! Since he’s revamping our Wonderland Organics website, we’re sure that you’ll love our redesign (coming soon) as much as we do. Be sure to check out his site here and check out his fabulous work.