Build Something.

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." - Ayn Rand

Tonight's episode of Being Mary Jane kicked off with the perfect quote and I could not help but notice the parallel to my own mantra, which has always been, "Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness." I wish I knew who actually made the quote, but I'm too lazy to Google it right now.

This past weekend I launched my first e-commerce store, Port Circle, a collection dedicated to women's clothing essentials that transition from day to night for the modern day 7am to 10pm woman. I've been contemplating the idea to start an online store since June and finally made the decision in August to make the store come to fruition. 

So why start a business in a saturated market? I simply felt there was a gap in the market for an affordable store dedicated to effortless contemporary style AKA shit-millennial-women-can-slap-on-without-much-effort, but still look fly. After all, there are more important things to worry about in the morning than picking out an outfit. That is how I found my niche.

The Swipe Right Collection, only at Port Circle

So Why Entrepreneurship?

One word: Security.

Before the industrial age, entrepreneurship was the way of life and by the twentieth century it became the norm to work for someone else. Jobs were plenty and people were living the original "American Dream". That era has has come and gone as we've transitioned into what many call the "Information Age". While this era is filled with technology that provides us with endless resources of information, for the many unprepared, this era turns into a career rat race. The principal of acquiring a skill and working hard no longer applies, as roles are often replaced by robotics, computers, and automated tools. Studies show that technological breakthroughs will endanger up to 47% of total employment in the US in the next 20 years. While you consider these numbers alongisde the rise in the cost of living, and the rapid rate in which work pensions are declining, things aren't looking up as much for the traditional corporate workforce. In fact, some say that 40% of the workforce in the US will be contract employees or self-employed by 2020. Building something now will better prepare you for what is coming.

No single man, woman, or corporation should ever be able to take away your entire livelihood; yet for millions of us, our boss is our judge, jury, and executioner for 100% of our income. One person can decide your fate. So by creating your own business, or even micro-business, you take control of more shares of your life. One income stream changes everything. Most importantly, building, launching, and growing an online business will teach you skills beyond what you've learned in the past decade.

While this project is just the beginning for me, simply taking the risk already feels like an accomplishment. With that said, the next few posts will be dedicated to tools to start an online business and I hope to inspire others to join me as well.

Unbeweavable

June of 2012 in Las Vegas marked the first vacation my boyfriend and I went on together. It was roughly 6 months into our relationship and we were excited to get away. As we were going through security at the San Jose airport, I walked through security and a TSA inspector stopped me. She patted my body down, and seemed surprised she found nothing. Confused by what set off the metal detector, she started moving her way up towards my head and paused. There she was, patting my head down, realizing she felt some tracks with clips, and all she could say was, "Damn, I thought it was real girl! Does he know?" Absolutely mortified that my hair had just set off a metal detector, all I could say was "Don't say anything" and rushed away. But I was even more embarrassed that it happened in front of my boyfriend, with whom I avoided the conversation of my hair extensions. The trip went on and we never discussed what happened. 

My type of gradient

For about the first year of our relationship I had hair extensions and I completely avoided the conversation. It wasn't that I was ashamed, or that I was scared he'd break up with me; I simply did not know how to bring up the subject. So, like my typical 22 year old self, I avoided awkward moments and went through large feats to do so. This included:

  1. Not letting my boyfriend touch the top of my head
  2. Removing the clips before showering, washing the tracks separately, and clipping them back in before I stepped out of the bathroom 
  3. Running with them on during a Tough Mudder event

The longer we were together, the more awkward the topic became, which is why I let it go on for as long as it did. But as I look back, I can't help but wonder why there is such a stigma in having a weave, with how common it is today.

According to research undertaken by hairtrade.com, over a third of women (34%) use hair extensions as a regular part of their beauty regime, but 87% of those questioned didn’t tell anyone they were wearing them. At least I'm not alone.

Eventually the truth came out about another year later. He simply asked if I ever wore extensions while we were together, and I said yes. So despite the stigma, it was the easiest thing to admit. Feel comfortable with who you are and own that weave. It really doesn't matter if that hair is not yours, girl.

Thou shall admit I have a weave.

It started with a joke.

 

There I was, at a showing of Fresh Off the Boat's season 2 premiere in San Francisco, listening to a panel of Asians discuss "Asians in the Media", and all I could think about was:

1. This shit better end soon because I've been wanting to binge watch Season 2 of Being Mary Jane all day.
2. Wouldn't it be hilarious to have a spin off of Being Mary Jane, called Being Mary Chang?...with me being Asian and all.

But let's not get carried away here, I'm not trying to create a show.

Mary Chang aka Christina Tolosa

2015 has been a year filled with sadness, reflection, and making impulsive decisions based on emotion instead of logic.  After my father suddenly passed away one week before Christmas last December, everything in my life seemed to be falling apart. I dreaded work every morning and found myself channeling my anger at work towards the people I love the most. Following a trip to Sedona with my mother in the summer (ridiculous story to come), I made the impulsive decision to quit my job with nothing lined up. All I knew was I was unhappy and I deserved more out of life than working 10-12 hours a day at a failing tech company. One week later I landed a role beyond my experience-level and pay grade, and 3 months later I am starting my first e-commerce business. 

I wanted more out of life, and I made it happen. Even though I'm just getting started, the most important thing I've learned from this year's struggle is that one should absolutely follow their gut. 

So after indulging in 2 partially read self-help books, going on a spirit walk led by a Shaman in Sedona, talking to a Juniper tree, and learning how to meditate, I find myself starting this blog today. And the closest thing to Being Mary Jane, is Being Mary Chang, an Asian Chick in her late 20's looking to share her life's experiences of trying to get by in the rat race of Silicon Valley.