It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… there were high, lows, periods of stability and times on the brink. My parents were the American Dream in action - they arrived in the promise land, got jobs and then started a mostly successful business.
Their business? A Chinese herbal shop in Chinatown, San Francisco. The smells of Chinese herbs, ointments and potions haunted me as a child.
“What is that smell?”
Me – “That’s dit da jow… my dad makes it and it’s supposed to heal bruises and injuries.”
“It stinks… you stink!”
Decades later, after my parents abruptly passed away, I poured the garbage pails of my dad’s “dit da jow” down the drain and disposed of all of the remaining items from their business (including my dad’s beloved recipe for “dit da jow”). I thought this closed a chapter in my life.
As the eldest daughter of Chinese immigrants who were entrepreneurs, my parents wanted me to take a safer route… become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer or whatever in Corporate America. They preached that starting a business and surviving is tough. The level of risk and uncertainty was high; and, I had many more opportunities and options than they had.
I played it safe... I got my Bachelor’s Degree and then a Master’s Degree, found success as technology sales executive in the Silicon Valley and led a secure, prosperous life.
One day, I started feeling like it wasn’t enough. With each day that passed, the realization became harder to ignore. Was I being greedy? Had I not been successful enough? I felt guilty for having these feelings.
Then my “Aha” moment came – it wasn’t about climbing the ladder or making more money...
I have an overwhelming desire to create, build and make things better!
And, while I could somewhat do this within the confines of my sales career, it just wasn’t enough. After leaving my job, traveling for a few months and doing lots of research, I found my new mission:
Creating a smarter, better and more convenient way for people to bring fresh, organized and organic spices into their kitchen.
Maybe that is how my Dad felt about his “dit da jow”?
About this Blog Series: This blog series is not a Silicon Valley start-up success story. I am just starting out and still struggling to figure things out as all entrepreneurs do. It took me too long to take the leap; but, it really wasn’t as scary as I thought. Regardless of whether my business succeeds, survives or fails, I want to share my experiences as they transpire to help others understand the journey.