FIRST THOUGHT: Minorities Rising Up
You’ve probably heard about how Crazy Rich Asians is breaking box office records left, right and center. The movie, which boasts the first all-Asian cast in a quarter century—you heard that right—has people teeming with delight. In a pivotal scene, two main characters play an old Chinese game called Mahjong. As the players elegantly move around 144 tiles on a card table, they are just some of many in a room doing the exact same thing. Some say that knowing Mahjong gives you a greater understanding of chance and necessity. Although players can’t control which tiles they get, they can control what they do with them. Dang. Isn’t that a serious life lesson?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 23.8 Percent
The popularity of Crazy Rich Asians didn’t come out of nowhere. In fact, its popularity is a reflection of America’s growing diversity and commitment to inclusion. You see, Asian American actors aren’t the only ones gaining recognition; Asian American business owners are finally getting a little recognition, too. Between 2007 and 2012, companies owned by Asian Americans climbed by 23.8 percent. While the census doesn’t explain the reasons for this growth, part of the growth is surely a result of better financial support. For instance, the White House has in place an initiative specifically for Asian American and Pacific Islanders, which connects these communities to federal programs and services.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Jenny Zheng, Founder of Little Fluffy Head Café
Another reason Asian Americans are finally being recognized? Our On The Dot motto, “You’ve got to see it to be it.” Though achieving success is a bit like the chicken and the egg conundrum, seeing more women who look like you achieve things that you’d want to do is a key ingredient to increasing visibility and diversity. Let’s talk about today’s Woman to Watch, Jenny Zheng, who might elicit you to pursue your dreams.
As the owner of Little Fluffy Head Café, Jenny has established her business in the city of angels. But her plan all started on a trip to her hometown, China, where she tried cheese tea. Yep, you heard me: cheese and tea together. If you’re thinking cheese tea is anything like that comical Wisconsin-style cheese head dropped into a cup of Lipton, think again.
Melted cream cheese combined with milk, whipped cream and a hint of salt is what makes cheese tea savory, sweet and eye-catching. It popped up in Taiwan about five years ago and now has quite a following all over China. So when Jenny decided to bring it on over to the United States, it initially took a little convincing to get people to try it. Fast forward to now: Fluffy Head is one of the first cheese tea boba shops in L.A., and it sells over a variety of different flavors.
Jenny’s journey to starting her own café is a surprising one. She studied bioengineering at UCLA, but upon graduating, she was drawn to the idea of creating her very own small business. Part of what appealed to her about owning a café was that it’d be a challenge, but she says her education has guided her tea enterprise in surprising and nuanced ways. Her STEM background drives her to make evidence-based decisions, which are crucial in business.
Jenny’s STEM skills have also helped her top off her tea-making skills (literally). She designed a lid specifically for cheese tea, which allows for a perfect 45-degree angle sip that gives you just the perfect mouthful. Like so many of us, Jenny says she always followed everyone else’s rules: You go to college, pick a major, and then graduate with said major. Pretty soon, five years flew by, and Jenny wanted to be a more active participant in her own life for the next five years.
She advises millennials and young women of color to go out and learn the tools they need to succeed if they want to start their own businesses, because there’s no better time than now.
Being a business owner can be tough for those who don’t have a ton of discipline, especially if you work from home and don’t have an office! Check out our three tips on how to boost productivity as a business owner by clicking here or, if you’re listening via podcast, head over to OnTheDotWoman.com!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Author of the Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan, writes:
“If you can't change your fate, change your attitude.”