With so much emphasis the last few years on accountability, recycling, and greener ingredients for products and ingredients, it’s great to see how companies have restructured their operations to nail these down. That said, I love interviewing inspiring people who make a difference in their professional lives and in the environment. Today, meet Linda Qian, who is a CSR Communications Manager.
Wonderland Organics: Hi Linda, tell us a little about what you do for Intel.
Linda: I manage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) communications at Intel – I help make sure people know that the way we make our products and run our business is as good as the products themselves. I help set and manage corporate strategy on issues like transparency and reporting, supply chain responsibility, human rights, and environmental sustainability.
Wonderland Organics: This sounds incredibly worthwhile. What’s important about CSR?
Linda: At its most basic level, CSR, also known as sustainability, is about doing the right things the right way. We’re often taught (at least I was) that corporations are big, faceless companies that don’t care about people or the planet. That’s just not true; companies are made up of people who care.
Wonderland Organics: This is an excellent point. The ability to do good things for our environment and society, while still able to make a living shouldn’t be at odds. How did you get involved with sustainability, and why is it important?
Linda: While I was getting my undergraduate degree at U.C. Berkeley, I took a course on CSR, and it just clicked. I knew I wanted the opportunity to do something big and have an impact, and in my day job, I definitely feel like I am making a difference. Actually, one of my key messages when communicating with Intel employees internally is that we can all make a difference, no matter what your title or job role is.
Wonderland Organics: We love this! Making an incredible impact at work is quite rewarding. What is something that we all can do for our environment?
Linda: Before you buy something, take the time to be a conscious consumer. You don’t need to be a sustainability expert to make informed decisions. There are a wealth of resources out there (like the Good Guide app) which can help you make better decisions. What you buy matters.
Wonderland Organics: Thanks for this! As an alpha tester of Wonderland Organics, what is your favorite product?
Linda: I travel a few times every month, so I love the travel size facial oils – I use them before I go to bed, when I wake up, and even after I get off the plane, to rehydrate. Plus, I like knowing that they’re made with pure, high quality ingredients, and that I’m supporting a local woman-owned business.
Wonderland Organics: We love that the facial oils have been so helpful! (Note: Linda has been using our facial oils since August of 2013). What’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Linda: It’s awesome that I don’t have to spend a ton of money or time on the ideas and DIYs in the Wonderland Organics blog. And I love seeing real people featured – it’s nice to know we all have the same goals, struggles, and beauty habits. 🙂
Thanks to Linda for taking the time to talk to us! What is something that you’ve been inspired to do to help the environment and the people around us? Let us know in the comments below!
I love TGI Fridays! My Friday posts have featured inspiring women, either entrepreneurs or doing amazing jobs that are helping the world, a bit at a time.
Today, I’m thrilled to bring to you an interview with Jenny Cheng, whose clothing brand premieres this month!
Wonderland Organics: Jenny, thanks for talking to us today! What inspired you to start your own clothing line?
Jenny: What inspired me to start the Jenny Cheng brand is my desire to create Mini Luxury products for all the amazing ladies in my life whom I love and admire. Imagine this woman who wakes up with a smile every day. She is driven, competitive, but also genuinely compassionate for her friends and the world. She leads a super busy lifestyle, but always makes time to care for other people. These ladies have always inspired me and I wanted to create beautiful things for them – to make their lives easier, richer, and even more beautiful.
Wonderland Organics: That sounds like the women we strive to be! What’s the story behind Jenny Cheng?
Jenny: The story behind Jenny Cheng is quite simple. We want to develop the best product in each fashion category for the modern woman who has an extremely busy lifestyle, a sophisticated taste for understated luxury, and who knows how to enjoy life and all its little surprises.
Wonderland Organics: Simplicity in a busy world is key, that’s for sure. What’s it like in the fashion industry? What brought you to this point?
Jenny: The fashion industry is certainly not as glamorous as most would imagine, but can be as beautiful, fun, and exciting as you make it to be. It is actually one of the most old-fashioned and traditional industries out there: how a piece of garment is designed, manufactured, marketed and retailed has not changed much since a long time ago. However, at our studio, we wanted to build upon it and create something different – something beautiful that will grow as our customers grow, and something that defines Mini Luxury for Our Generation.
After college, I worked in investment banking for two years in San Francisco. I loved my experience in banking, but my desire to pursue my long-term dream of creating something beautiful and on my own was even stronger. I moved to New York, and entered the fashion industry by working at a large fashion brand while taking classes at Parsons on the weekends to learn more about the technicalities of how a garment is created. I started working on building the Jenny Cheng brand since late 2013 (although most of my friends would say I started hatching the idea since my college days), and have since traveled to different countries to source fabrics, met many great entrepreneurs along the way, and went through cycles of product development and testing. Now we are getting ready for the launch this month, and we are super excited!
Wonderland Organics: We’re excited for you! Why don’t you give our readers a sneak peek behind a typical day of work?
Jenny: Every morning, I start my day off with some fresh coffee and an avocado toast topped off with some olive oil and freshly ground peppers. Work then begins by formulating a to-do list for the day, and replying to some emails that require immediate attention. Some work project examples at this pre-launch stage include: working with local printers to design packaging for our dresses, setting up our inventory system, contacting fabric stores in New York to see if they have imported any new fabrics.
In the afternoon, I try to catch up with a friend over lunch and/or meet up with a business contact to talk about the different projects we are working on over coffee. Before dinner, I would put in a quick half hour work out. Post dinner, a few more hours of work is spent dealing with productions in Asia due to the time difference. Usually I would try to leave one hour before bedtime to do things non-work related (but that doesn’t always happen), and then it’s bedtime before midnight.
Wonderland Organics: The life of an entrepreneur is constantly busy! When does your brand launch? And where can we find your products?
Jenny: Jenny Cheng will launch mid-June (in less than a month woohoo!). You can find our products on http://www.jenny-cheng.com. We will be launching a few new products a week along with our weekly editorial – THE PAPER.
P.S. Join THE BETA now, and we will send you a secret code right before launch for some special surprises!
Here are a few Instagram sneak peeks of our dresses. I’m the first to receive prototypes (perks of being the founder!); I model them and take some fun pictures with them when I am visiting different places or just sitting at a local coffee shop – follow our Instagram for more sneak peeks!
Wonderland Organics: We’ve been loving the shots on your Instagram! (And we’re definitely looking forward to the surprises in store). Do you have any advice for would-be entrepreneurs?
Jenny: My advice would be – nothing is impossible! We always dream about doing this one thing, and before we actually embark on the journey, it always seems so unattainable. But once you take the first step, you will realize that you’re on your dream path before you even know it. And when you look back after a little while, you will notice that you’ve connected more dots than you realized. Also, always be genuine and have a kind heart. There are many other important things in this world than the successes or failures of our start-ups. It’s certainly hard enough when we are bombarded with our own long to-do list, but it’s always important to never forget how you can make other people’s days brighter and more beautiful. I’ve learned along the way that amazing things happen to truly kind and genuine people!
Wonderland Organics: We love this! Inspiration and passion are definitely what drives us as entrepreneurs. What’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Jenny: Intellectual, visually beautiful, and super fun – and most importantly, it’s built and curated by Alice Lin, who is super passionate about developing skincare products that are truly natural, organic, and great for your skin. The blog is not just about skincare, but the healthy lifestyle that surrounds great skincare. I always admire people who are pursuing their passion and creating amazing products. I am definitely following you, and I am also super excited for your product launch!
Thanks so much to Jenny for taking time out of her day! Come check out Jenny Cheng once it’s launched.
Readers, we hope that you love these interviews as much as we do! Have any inspiring people in your life? Feel free to reach out and tell us here at Wonderland Organics.
What’s something health-related that we don’t often talk about? (Unless you’re a dentist, that is). Dental health is fantastic in the United States, but it takes a little TLC to keep our pearly whites that way.
Today, we have a special collaboration with Tory Li, who is a dental student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Bradenton.
Ally: Hi Tory! What made you want to pursue a career in dentistry?
Tory: I enjoy the lifestyle of a dentist and the ability to perfect a specialized skill that can help others. A smile is often the first thing people notice in others, so it’s very important to make a good first impression.
Ally: That’s very true! On that note, what kind of toothpaste brands would you recommend?
Tory: Most toothpastes contain the same ingredients, but I recommend getting one with fluoride and a taste or smell that you enjoy.
Ally: Good advice. What do you think of mouthwash? (Some say it changes the pH of your mouth)
Tory: Mouthwash will lower the amount of bacteria in your oral cavity. Therefore it will take longer for the bacteria to recolonize your teeth surface. I think it’s personal preference to use or not use it, but brushing and flossing is highly recommended.
Ally: That’s good advice. We try flossing after most meals. Have you tried oil pulling?
Tory: I think I need more scientific research about it. but there doesn’t seem like an ingredient in coconut oil that is anti-bacterial. There are mouthwash that change colors when it encounters bacteria, because it was manufactured in that way.
Ally: Oils like coconut oil change color when they turn from solid form (white) to liquid form (clear). Once oil pulling is complete, it actually turns white from all of the bacteria. Crazy, we know. Tell us a little about the life of a dental student.
Tory: It’s exciting to get to work specifically with teeth. We have a pretty rigorous schedule from 7am to 4pm daily, but we mostly enjoy it 🙂
Ally: The grueling life, we know it well. Do you have daily oral health tips?
Tory: Brush twice daily for 2 minutes each time. 30 seconds each quadrant. Remember to floss correctly! You only get one set of teeth so protect them well!
Ally: This is quite true. Are there any types of food that would add to oral health?
Tory: I don’t think there’s one thing I can tell you that will definitely enhance oral health. What I can say that is certain is to limit the intake of sodas and sugary snacks. If possible, brush and floss after every meal.
Ally: How often would you recommend going to see the dentist?
Tory: It depends on the susceptibility of caries of your teeth. For most people, it is recommended twice a year. Some people who are more likely to get caries or have periodontal diseases are recommended to go 3-4 times per year.
Ally: We hope that our readers take heed! As a Beta tester, what is your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics soothing oil?
Tory: The oil was awesome! My mom and I both used it yesterday, and it really helped. Other oils have just sat on top of our skin, but your oil absorbed well. The soothing oil smells amazing, like a spa.
Ally: Thanks for the kind words! We’re glad it worked out so well for you and your family! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Tory: I love how the Wonderland Organics blog explores a little bit of everything. I can’t wait for the rest of the products to launch so I can try them out! Cheers to healthy living!
We’d like to thank Tory Li for taking time out of her day to talk to us. Does everyone try to be as careful as he or she can with teeth? Let us know!
Welcome to another rendition of TGI Fridays! I know we’re all looking forward to Memorial Day weekend, so let’s take a moment to be thankful for our military, and what this weekend stands for.
While I started Wonderland Organics to have products that will beautify your skin, it’s also great to find jewelry that won’t make you itchy (I find some pieces from cheap stores like Forever 21 make me break out constantly). On my hunt, I discovered Tiny Hands on Etsy, which is a marketplace for handmade items.
Who doesn’t love cute and unique jewelry? I fell in love with this adorable rose macaron necklace, and subsequently bought it on the spot. The chain broke, but the owner, Mei Pak, was sweet enough to ship me a new one instantly. I’ve admired all of her food jewelry items (and her savvy business skills) ever since.
Today, I’m happy to bring to you an interview with Tiny Hands, which sells food-inspired jewelry, made of polymer clay. Check out Mei’s creations on the right– don’t they make you want to gobble them up? The awesome part is that they’re all scented, so you will always smell delicious. And for those of you who are allergic to scents, you have the option of choosing unscented versions for 15% less!
Ally: Tell us a little about Tiny Hands! How did your journey with kawaii [cute] food jewelry happen?
Mei: Tiny Hands is my baby! I started my company in 2006 when I was still in school. My mom and I had taken a basic jewelry making class together which sparked my interest. At the time I was on LiveJournal a lot and found a girl that was selling these cute animal charms she made from polymer clay. She really inspired me to explore polymer clay and what started as a hobby business soon turned into a full time career in 2011. The food jewelry idea is not my own, but who knows who started anything these days? I just loved tiny food as a child and I guess that never left my spirit. I am such a foodie too, so the business idea just stuck!
Ally: That’s inspiring! No one can resist a good cupcake, least of us here at Wonderland Organics. What were you doing before starting your own company?
Mei: I often debate if I got lucky or if I missed out on this. I went straight into working for myself from the get go. A part of me is envious of corporate 9-5 jobs that provide stability and security. Maybe one day I’ll take up a part time job at a bakery for fun to see what it’s like working for someone else for a change!
Ally: There’s definitely the co-worker aspect, which can make or break your day. Let us know if you check out bakeries as a fun part-time! What inspires you when you craft?
Mei: My customers feed me with the best ideas! I also get great inspiration from looking at food pictures on Pinterest.
Ally: Ahhh, Pinterest. Your Facebook page always has the most mouth-watering desserts! Will you branch out from food jewelry?
Mei: I would love to make a line of scented flower jewelry! I’m also working with my husband on a new app called Craftivity. It’s a tool to help creative people reach more goals and be more productive!
Ally: That sounds amazing! Sign us up when you’re ready to launch. Where can people find your amazing pieces?
Mei: You can shop my jewelry at http://tinyhandsonline.com 🙂
Ally: Very cute site. I’m sure the readers want to know: do you have any specials or sales?
Mei: I do a weekly sale on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/tinyhandsjewelry every Wednesday at 7pm central time. I feature about five items and include one extra special piece. The items sell out in a few hours, so join the party early! Also, I sell internationally.
Ally: Especially the popcorn charm today: we can’t resist butter popcorn. Where have your products been featured, media-wise?
Mei: My jewelry has been featured on InTouch, Every Day With Rachael Ray, Earnshaw’s, Incredible Things, Glamour, Hello Giggles, Cool Mom Picks and was even worn by Amy Poehler in the TV show Parks and Recreation! I’m so grateful to be supported by so many people.
Ally: We’re so envious! Congratulations Mei, it’s great to see small businesses succeed. On that note, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Mei: Do more of what works. Don’t give up easily but know when to say no. If you’re unsure of what to focus on, pick just one thing and work at it for the next few months. Only move on to the next thing when you feel confident you’ve mastered the first.
Ally: It’s good advice. Sometimes people keep pursuing an idea even when they’re throwing money away. And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Mei: I love how much great information and tips you share in such short blog posts! I have terrible attention span but you make it so easy to read your blog.
Thanks so much to Mei on taking time out of her busy day to talk to us! We love supporting women entrepreneurs, especially those who have succeeded in a terrific idea. Have any of you embarked on a solo entrepreneur journey?
Let us know in the comments below!
Where do you begin with exercise when there’s so many types out there? Do you go for yoga, Pilates, running, brisk walks, rock climbing, kickboxing, dance? I’m inspired by people who have passion for any forms of getting their sweat on.
Today, I’m excited to present to you an interview with Biti Nguyen about her experience with Jiu Jitsu over the past few years. [Biti and I met in Accounting class in the South Bay, where we became good friends through working on a project involving balance sheets and income statements]
She started kickboxing for fitness, and dabbled in a class that incorporated grappling. To her surprise, she found that she was able to pick it up quickly. Biti is currently a Blue Belt with her first stripe.
Ally: What started your interest with Jiu Jitsu?
Biti: I’ve been interested in sports since I was a kid, especially martial arts. The adrenaline rush in Chinese movies looked amazing.
Ally: That’s awesome. How and when did you find the gyms you currently train at now?
Biti: I found both my gyms through Yelp, when I was 18.
Ally: Got to love the internet. How’s the cost, for people who may be interested in starting?
Biti: Martial arts gyms tend to run anywhere between $100-200. Usually, there’s a sign-up fee of $100 as well.
Ally: Yikes, it seems mildly expensive. But I’m sure it’s worth it for people who love the sport.
Ally: What’s a typical day of Jiu Jitsu at the gym?
Biti: BJJ follows the rules or traditional Judo. You sign in as you would with any gym, then you put on your gi (the uniform) and bow to the mat before you step on it out of respect. You then line up by rank in front of the instructor, and both the students and the instructor bow to each other before the warm ups. Warm ups can consist of anything depending on the gym. We run and drill some moves like hip escapes or roll down the mat. Then we proceed to drill for about 45 minutes. The last 15 minutes, we would use what we learn when we go live or “spar.” There’s classes back to back, so I tend to do this for two hours.
Ally: It sounds like a fantastic form of exercise!
Biti: For some people, absolutely. I don’t do Jiu Jitsu for fitness. I have to train for it: I run, lift, and work on anaerobic cardio with boxing. Some people lost a lot of weight through Jiu Jitsu, but [I find that I] need something more intense for a workout.
Ally: What made you stay at your two gyms? Was it the energy and the people?
Biti: My manager at USH, Jane Estioko has become like my second mother. It’s a very, very tight knit place there. And at Guerrilla, they had a very professional website that intrigued me to join. The owner, Matt Darcy, has been very helpful in my journey. They have a huge kids program, and it’s great training there. In fact, Mark Heinzer is responsible for my entire Jiu Jitsu development.
Ally: Is there a lot of competition between the gyms?
Biti: Actually, the great thing is that members from USH and Guerrilla train with each other all the time. The MMA community is small, so we all know each other.
Ally: Communities are important, that’s for sure. And last but not least…what’s your favorite part about the Wonderland Organics blog?
Biti: I like the layout. In terms of content, it’s very easy to relate to. Basically, for the same reason that Youtube became a movement: it’s easier to trust words from real people.
Thanks so much for Biti’s endless passion and knowledge of Jiu Jitsu! For more information on Biti’s gyms, check out USH Martial Arts and Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu.
Readers, there will be more fun interviews coming up: stay tuned to the blog! What’s your favorite form of exercise? Has anyone tried Jiu Jitsu?