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The untold Podcast

The untold Podcast

By Joleen Hsu and JoJo Cheng
The untold Podcast is dedicated to amplifying the voices of BIPOC entrepreneurs. Join hosts Joleen Hsu and JoJo Cheng as they sit with a Founder/CEO in each episode for candid conversations around their “untold” moments of starting a business in the 21st century.

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Michael Tennant: Rising from Rock Bottom to Become an "Empathy Expert"
Today, Curiosity Lab is a fast-growing company whose first breakthrough product, a conversation card game called Actually Curious, generated so much buzz, it even caught the eyes of Beyonce. Curiosity Lab is led by Michael Tennant, an award-winning media, advertising, and nonprofit veteran. But just a few years ago, Michael was using empathy to cope with the loss of two siblings who both died of heart conditions within a span of months. In this episode, we follow Michael down memory lane, and see how his experiences -- from attending a predominantly white boarding school to working at companies like VICE Media and MTV -- paved the way for a young Black boy from Bed-Stuy to become the diversity, mental health, and empathy advocate he is today. Learn more about Michael and Curiosity Lab: @actuallyc_rious @c_riositylab | actuallycurious.com @michaeltennantnyc
28:52
September 29, 2021
Sean Ro: Capturing Asian Americana in a craft hard seltzer
It was on a "so-late-it's-morning", craving-fried-chicken-and-beer type of night in New York City that Sean Ro and Kevin Wong were inspired to create a drink built with flavors reminiscent of growing up as second-generation Americans. Not something that was Asian-inspired, but Asian American — just like the founders. Lunar Hard Seltzer became the first and only Asian American craft hard seltzer created in New York and made with real fruit juice and premium ingredients from Asia. Co-founder Sean Ro joins the podcast to share the untold stories of how they infused their generational identities into the product, being entrepreneurs in NYC during a pandemic, and what's next to come for Lunar. Learn more about Sean, Kevin, and Lunar Hard Seltzer: @drinklunar | drinklunar.com
47:31
August 09, 2021
Smita Satiani and Esha Chhabra: From Indians farms to your teapot, without the plastic
The roots of Alaya Tea can be traced all the way to the Himalayas. After growing up drinking chai and traversing this mountainous area, Co-founders Smita Satiani and Esha Chhabra were inspired to build a tea company that not only respects these farmers, growers, and communities, but also addresses the environmental challenges we face through agriculture. Listen to how Smita and Esha built a company that celebrates the beauty of regenerative agriculture, plastic-free packaging, and women in the tea-growing regions of the world. Lean more about Smita, Esha, and Alaya Tea: @smita_satiani @eshatravels @alayatea | alayatea.co
48:12
June 29, 2021
Alyssa Nguyen: Building a branding design studio for WOC as a Princeton junior
By age 21, Alyssa Nguyen was a soon-to-be Princeton University grad (spoiler: she graduated this May!) and had already been running her own design studio for a year. She started her brand and web design studio, Alyssa Nguyen Design, as a full-time undergraduate student and chose to specialize in helping women and women of color clientele build unique and bold identities. Alyssa reflects on her experiences growing up in predominantly White neighborhoods, dealing with microaggressions, and picking up freelance design out of necessity to make money -- and how that's led to her becoming a full-time Brand Designer and Creative Director with a mission. Learn more about Alyssa and Alyssa Nguyen Design: @a.nguyen.t @atnndesign | atnndesign.com
34:50
June 15, 2021
Iris Cherng: Starting a skincare company in her kitchen
The summer before her senior year of college, Iris found herself lost and depressed, grieving over a complicated end to a relationship and feeling anxious about graduation (and adulthood) on the horizon. She found solace and creative output in practicing self-care, and the hours of playing with natural beauty and aromatherapy ingredients in her kitchen would eventually become a skin and wellness brand, Honey Belle. Since launching in 2015, Honeybelle has worked with household retailer names and been featured in major media outlets. Fast forward six years, and it's become just the first of several business ventures Iris has taken on, including women's empowerment coaching and content creation. Learn more about Iris and Honey Belle: @irischerng @livehoneybelle | livehoneybelle.com
33:43
June 01, 2021
SaVonne Anderson: Manifesting identity & experiences into inclusive greeting cards
Imagine sending a text to cheer up a friend who's having a bad day, and seeing it designed and printed on greeting cards a year later. That's exactly how SaVonne came up with the design for Aya Paper Co.'s best-selling product, an affirmation greeting card that reads, "You are so smart, and strong, and beautiful. The world is lucky to have you." SaVonne's childhood memories, personal experiences, and climate justice advocacy are the hallmark of Aya Paper Co. We are moved to tears listening to SaVonne's story about celebrating Black joy, bringing awareness to environmental racism, and connecting every design to communities who have been underrepresented in the greeting card industry. Learn more about SaVonne and Aya Paper Co.: @simply.savonne @ayapaper.co | ayapaper.co
47:10
May 24, 2021
Candace Wu: Building conscious social apps and desserts in the name of mindfulness
In the past nine months, Candace has launched not one, but TWO companies. After leaving her role in product management at WW (formerly Weight Watchers), she went all in to create products that "inspire joy and human connection." In this last year, she has co-founded Letterloop, a social app that lets you create private, group newsletters with friends and family, and Wunder, a cheesecake snack bar with less than a single gram of sugar. We sit down with this two-time co-founder to talk about quitting your job to pursue your passion, managing two companies in different industries, and one fateful Hinge date. Use the promo code UNTOLD for 10% off your order of Wunder cheesecakes! Learn more about Candace and her companies: @candace.png | candace.substack.com @wundersnacks | eatwunder.com letterloop.co
37:13
May 10, 2021
Zaheer Mohiuddin: Quitting a 6-figure Amazon job to help people get paid
"Get paid, not played." That was Zaheer's motto when building Levels.fyi after going through a job transition as a software engineer from LinkedIn to Amazon. Zaheer realized that he and his own peers were unclear on how engineering jobs paid, particularly with how different companies rank, or "level," engineers. These unanswered questions are what led Zaheer and his friend and co-founder Zuhayeer to build Levels.fyi, the most accurate site to compare salaries and help people make better career decisions. Learn more about Zaheer and Levels.fyi: @ziggym0 levels.fyi
33:53
April 26, 2021
Kavitta Ghai: From failing tests to founding an Ed Tech company
When Kavitta showed up as a freshman on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), the last thing she expected as a student was to gain her most valuable learning experiences outside of the classroom. By her junior year at UCSB, she co-founded and launched Nectir, a communication platform for schools that leverages data to predict student success. Since 2018, Nectir has been bridging the gap between communication and technology within the higher education space to make learning more accessible for all students. Kavitta shares what she's learned along the way, as a female entrepreneur of color, daughter of immigrants, and active combattant of imposter syndrome. Learn more about Kavitta and Nectir: kavitta.com | @kavitta nectir.io | @nectir.io
41:59
April 26, 2021
Introducing the untold Podcast
Welcome to untold, a podcast that amplifies the voices of BIPOC entrepreneurs. Meet the hosts, Joleen & JoJo, and uncover what we're all about!
02:53
March 15, 2021