[00:00:00] Maggie Chui: Hi everyone, welcome to the Asian Hustle Network podcast. Today, we have a very special guest with us. Her name is Linda Chiou. Linda was born in Waterloo, Ontario, and graduated from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver in 2013. Over the past eight years, she has grown to become a social media influencer with over 500,000 audiences on Instagram and a noteworthy leader in the fashion and beauty e-commerce space.
[00:00:26] She shares her personal story of quitting her nine to five corporate jobs in order to pursue her own businesses. She is a dedicated entrepreneur with a passion for helping women start their own businesses in order to be financially independent and to live life to the fullest. In the process, she discovered that the uncertainty of making a leap in a career change can be daunting, but ultimately the reward, freedom, and happiness, in the end, is priceless. She currently resides in Upstate New York. When she isn’t working, you can find her spending time with family and friends, boating and barbecuing in Lake George, with her husband and two long-haired chihuahuas.
[00:01:02] Linda, welcome to the show.
[00:01:05] Linda Chiou: Thank you, guys. Thank you for having me.
[00:01:07] Bryan Pham: We’re so excited to have you. And I think the word ‘dedicated’ is an understatement with you because you are extremely dedicated. We were talking right before we started recording the podcast that you have been on Instagram for 11 years now. That’s amazing because you’ve been so consistent for so long. So let’s hear about your story. What was your upbringing like? And how did you get the entrepreneurial spirit?
[00:01:29] Linda Chiou: Yeah. I feel like social media, for me over the years, has just become a way of life. So looking back, I don’t think I would have known that I would have relied on it so much, especially for my career, but it’s all been such a great journey.
[00:01:43] I grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, and it’s really such a small, quiet town. My dad was a math professor and my mom is a stay-at-home mom. I had a pretty boring upbringing, I would say. I grew up with my younger sister. She was definitely always the brains of the family. I was always the more creative outspoken one.
[00:02:04] So she went on to become an accountant. And to be honest, I do feel really blessed because from a young age, my parents never pressured me to go in any direction for my career, even though I was so uncertain what I wanted to do. My dad and my mom, they always said, do what makes you happy? And so that’s really been ingrained in me from a really young age. So I do feel blessed in that sense because I was able to just try out so many creative outlets and they really encouraged me to do whatever I wanted while I was younger.
[00:02:37] And I’ve always been really independent too. As soon as I turned 16, I was like, the day I turned 16, I got my driver’s license. I was like, I’m out of here. And actually the day I turned 16 too, and I’m not even sure if it’s allowed back then, but I went and started applying for jobs. And that was my form of independence. And I guess I want to make my parents proud. Because I didn’t necessarily do well in school I think when I was younger. So I was always excited to try new things, whether it was working retail or my first job was working at a pizza store. I always actually did e-commerce from when I was young, it actually started with just me trying to sell my own clothes when I was 16, 17. So I was always, definitely trying to dive into a bunch of different things. And I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit.
[00:03:35] Bryan Pham: Dang, you’ve always been a hustler. I love it. It’s amazing to hear that story, right? Because you always seek independence and I feel like the people who actually go for things or are people that make things happen. And I guess that’s sorta the opposite of the Asian mentality where it’s I feel like most Asian parents don’t want their kids to work at such a young age, where they’re like, you should focus on school. You should focus on the math and but when you look at it, you’re gaining lifelong skills, everything that you learn from when you’re a teenager, the independence laid a foundation for you to overcome your struggles when you became an entrepreneur yourself.
[00:04:06] So I’m curious too, at what point did you realize that you wanted to start a swimwear company, and more importantly, how’d you meet your partner? I’m really curious about that.
[00:04:16] Linda Chiou: Yeah. I ended up going off to university in Vancouver where I really knew nobody. And my business partner for Ivy swimwear was actually my best friend. So I went off to Vancouver and she actually moved off to LA. We actually fell apart for a few years while we were in school. And then I ended up moving back to Toronto. And it wasn’t until I was in Toronto, when I realized how hard it was to actually find a job that I love doing. I think it took me five years to graduate from university. I was just stuck in a job that I really felt unfulfilled in.
[00:04:54] And Linda and I grew up in Ottawa. Her name’s also Linda. And so we decided to reconnect at some point and we would always go on tropical vacations. So that was really how Ivy Swimwear was born. I remember going on these vacations, we would talk about our life goals and the things we would want for our future.
[00:05:13] And that’s what brought us into, you know, she had a passion for photography and I went to school for communications and business. So we were like, why don’t we start a business together? And at the same time being e-commerce and us being on opposite sides of the coast, we didn’t necessarily have to be physically together in order to start a business, which is the great thing about e-commerce, in the world we live in today. So that’s really how I knew swimwear was born. It was during one of our trips to Mexico.
[00:05:43] Maggie Chui: Goodness, that’s crazy. It’s so amazing hearing just the origin story of it. And I love how both of you are named Linda and I love all of your photos together. And I think you guys are just the perfect pair to promote and market your brand.
[00:05:56] And I can tell you guys put so much emphasis and effort into just posting videos and posting photos on your Instagram accounts. And Brian knows how much I love Ivy Swimwear.
[00:06:06] Bryan Pham: She loves and wears it.
[00:06:07] Maggie Chui: I’m always looking at the photos on the website. I’m like, oh, that one’s so cute and they have a new release.
[00:06:12] Bryan Pham: Especially what she sees on you, Linda, and she’s wow, it looks so good on Linda.
[00:06:16] Maggie Chui: It looks so good. Both of you guys, both of you and the other Linda, both of you guys look so good in it. And I think it’s amazing how, your partner, she has experience in photography, right? And you have experience in business and e-commerce, but did either of you have any experience in designing, and were you guys in charge of all of the processes and designing the different swimwear and releases and just drawing them out?
[00:06:42] Because I see a lot of videos and photos of you drawing them out. But I’m very curious to know: did you ever have any experience in designing clothes or swimwear like that? And how did you pick up on that skill and what was that process just learning the whole process?
[00:06:55] Linda Chiou: To be honest, that was probably one of our biggest hurdles when we first started. Because none of us had fashion design experience apart from sketching stuff when we were younger. And so when we first started doing this, we were trying to brainstorm if we wanted to just carry, what other people carry and just scour the market for unique pieces, or if we actually want to venture in that unknown world of designing stuff ourselves.
[00:07:26] And I would say that was probably the biggest hurdle because we really had to learn everything on our own. But, the bonus was that Linda was really good at sketching. So she does most of our sketches. We’ll sit together and we’ll brainstorm ideas, and we got really blessed with finding an amazing manufacturer which actually also took one to two years to finally really find someone who we work well with. And I speak Mandarin too. So that’s been really beneficial and communicating with manufacturers, but everything really we learned just through Googling, watching YouTube videos. Our manufacturer tells us, don’t submit designs, here’s an example of what you should be submitting to us. So we definitely did have a lot of hurdles at the beginning where inventory came in wrong sizes, and stuff didn’t fit properly, or just barriers because of our inexperience. But it’s been a really fun process for sure and I’m definitely still learning.
[00:08:24] Bryan Pham: I’m so glad you guys were able to overcome those hurdles. Because those things are the ones that setback. All the entrepreneurs at the beginning, “You know what, it’s too hard, too difficult. I can’t do this”. And the fact that you’re able to overcome that speaks volume. And I think what’s even more amazing about your brand is that you live your brand. You are Ivy Swimwear, your content reflects that, your personality reflects that, you live the brand along with your partner too. So, I think what sets you guys at par.
[00:08:50] What I’m really curious about was when you were initially launching Ivy Swimwear and you weren’t getting the attraction that you wanted, you weren’t getting the sales, you weren’t getting this as that. How did you keep yourself mentally going at the early standpoint where it’s you know what. We’re not going to give up. We’re gonna keep pushing until people start buying our product. At what point were you, I’m going to be Ivy Swimwear and just start wearing my products everywhere and start doing more. I want to hear about that mindset transition at the beginning.
[00:09:17] Linda Chiou: Yeah. And it was really hard because in the beginning, actually, when we were doing product research, we actually ended up launching an entire collection of crochet bikinis, which ended up becoming our worst sellers. And honestly, that’s where we put all of our investment into. So it took a lot for us to start from scratch and we actually ended up taking a small loan out from a friend. I think it was $10,000 at the time. And we were , we are just going to scrap everything. We’re going to start from scratch, see where that small loan takes us. And it was really just, I think that’s why I really appreciated that as best friends, we could also be business partners because definitely the two of us kept each other in check, and we always encouraged each other. And I think just seeing what others do. Brands are out there, always inspiring us.
[00:10:11] Social media is really such an amazing tool because it’s not really just to grow our own business, but we get so much inspiration and motivation from seeing other people’s posts. So I think that’s what really drove us, and we knew we couldn’t give up. Because that was something we really wanted us to do and make successful.
[00:10:27] Maggie Chui: That’s so amazing. For a lot of swimwear brands and companies, I feel they go through this hurdle of what should we do in the wintertime? Because it’s obviously a seasonal product, more people buy more swimwear during the summer. When they’re going on vacation and to beaches and everything like that.
[00:10:43] So did you ever go through this time where you kind of questioned, What should I do during the winter? Am I seeing results in sales and in the winter? As much as I am in the summer? What’s your marketing strategy like in the winter to make sure that you stay relevant throughout the whole year?
[00:10:58] Linda Chiou: Yeah. Obviously, summer is our peak season, but you’d be surprised. A lot of people in the winter are planning getaways. They’re still planning vacations. So people are still shopping for swimwear. But, we did notice the different traffic during winter. So our goal is always to start reaching out to Australia, the UK, Asia, places, where it is summer during our wintertime.
[00:11:21] So we did actually end up working with a digital marketing agency who helps us run our Facebook ads, our Instagram ads. And I definitely noticed that helped to start engagement, especially because to be honest, we didn’t even do any paid advertising until probably two years ago. So a lot of it was really just organic Instagram traffic. And we ‘ve reached a point where we’ve really just exhausted that and I think we did probably start digital advertising way too late.
[00:11:51] Bryan Pham: That’s amazing. I think that’s a really good tip that you bring up too. I think that including us, and a lot of other Asian businesses that we talked to on the podcast, there’s always this resistance to pay ads at the beginning where it’s like, when you find a good and you’re like, I should have done this earlier because the convergence is amazing.
[00:12:06] So I think that’s really good that you brought it up too. I think that’s really smart of you to strategically target places around the world, because essentially your product is very global. Maybe winter here but summer there. I think a lot of us tend to just focus on our target niche where our market is just Canada or the United States. And we don’t really think about that. The world is actually much bigger than we think it is.
[00:12:26] Linda Chiou: Yeah, exactly. And that’s even when we first started, I think our priority was to design petite swimwear for Asian bodies. And, especially ourselves, because we found it was really difficult to find somewhere that fit petite bodies. Over the years, we’ve had to expand on that too just to grow the brand. So we’re delving into other categories now, which is exciting, but I think sometimes people are so stuck on their niche that they don’t want to think outside of the box, out of that. And you have to do that in order to innovate and keep up with the trends.
[00:13:02] Bryan Pham: Definitely. I definitely agree with that statement a lot. And that’s just the best thing I really like in entrepreneurship, is the way that you could control your product based upon your own beliefs, your own style and your own personality, because that’s very reflective throughout the product. And we noticed early on that, you’re probably one of the first person they’ve ever saw on social media, five, six years ago to actually put on events that are not like Victoria Secret or other big, large collaborative brands that where it’s receiving the power to smaller business owners, the power to smaller creators. And I want to talk about that too.
[00:13:38] What was the best thing about creating Ivy Swimwear from an entrepreneur standpoint, in terms of wow, we could do this. We can create events. We can create pageant shows. We can create fashion shows. What was that point where it’s like, we have the power to do anything? And we’re only limited by our own imagination. I’m curious about it.
[00:13:57] Linda Chiou: Yeah. I think the biggest blessing and what I’m thankful for most throughout this journey is just all the amazing people we’ve met through our start of the company who supported us, whether it’s models, photographers, influencers, designers, publishers.
[00:14:13] We’ve really been blessed to meet such amazing people. And I know influencer marketing is so big right now, building these communities around you that really support the brand and the brand message. That’s definitely been the most rewarding for myself is just creating that hub of loyal followers and people who really see your vision and believe in the brand.
[00:14:35] Being able to achieve my goal of going to Miami Swim Week, that’s really fulfilling. And I think that’s a check off the bucket list, but being able to really build out this network of people who believe in my vision, I think that’s the most rewarding part of this whole process.
[00:14:52] Maggie Chui: That’s amazing. And it is so amazing just seeing the community that you’ve built. And I love the way that you portray your brand and yourself as it’s not only just Ivy Swimwear. You talk about your personal life, you show your community your friends. And I think that’s what resonates with a lot of, not only girls, but guys who are interested in your journey as well.
[00:15:13] Cause you’re really showing that you’re a hustler and it’s so important to have close friends around you and community members. And I think that’s why people are always like, I want to have friends like this, or I want to have a community like this. So, it’s just amazing like the image that you portray, because it’s just so honest and authentic.
[00:15:31] I want to know. After creating Ivy Swimwear, I’m sure there are a lot of lessons that you have learned along the way. And this was your first, big company that you had built. And then after that you started Lovelle Beauty Academy. And I kind of want to know, like, what were the lessons that you applied to Lovelle that you learned from Ivy Swimwear? When was it that you decided this is the time for me to start a new company and how I’m going to go about it? I want to know what was going through your mind at that time.
[00:16:00] Honestly, Lovelle Beauty Academy kind of fell into my lap because we did actually a photoshoot for Ivy Swimwear and my sister had introduced me to a makeup artist at the time. She actually is one of my closest friends now, her name’s Erica. And I ended up partnering with her to create Lovelle Beauty Academy.
[00:16:22] Linda Chiou: Probably shortly after meeting, because she just had so many ideas and so much talent, but she didn’t know how to really turn that into a viable business. And I saw it as something that we could really have a lot of success building together too. Because I had success with Ivy Swimwear with Linda, a lot of people had told me, you know, I don’t think you should do business with friends. I completely disagreed because we did have success in that. And we worked well together. So, Lovelle Beauty Academy was just born naturally ,when me and Erica started brainstorming business ideas. And that just is such an incredible journey for me because we’ve really managed to branch this business out from coast to coast.
[00:17:06] We have classes in Vancouver, Calgary, and New York now, and it’s just been such an amazing time being able to travel and find other talented instructors out there. So that’s really been such an incredible journey and to be honest, I didn’t build the confidence to quit my nine to five corporate job until I had two stable side hustles. For me, that was just my path and my comfort level. I wasn’t as big of a risk taker in that sense. And I didn’t want to risk it all per se. I went to university all these years to get my corporate job, and it was hard for me to let go, even though I’ve always been so entrepreneurial.
[00:17:44] So it wasn’t until I guess two years into two, three years into building Ivy and a year into building Lovelle that I actually quit my corporate job. So I stayed in my corporate job for almost four years while doing my side hustles.
[00:18:00] Maggie Chui: Oh my goodness.
[00:18:01] Bryan Pham: Oh my god. That is crazy.
[00:18:03] Maggie Chui: That’s crazy. I didn’t know that. I thought that you were just working on Ivy and it became so successful so I thought you must be so busy already that you wouldn’t even have time for a nine to five.
[00:18:16] Linda Chiou: I literally had no life for the first four years that I lived in Toronto. And to be honest, I probably had no friends after moving. From Vancouver to Toronto, either maybe just two friends, which maybe it was a good thing at that time. Cause that was just fully engulfed in my business. But at the same time, both of my businesses were my passions with my friends. So to me, working was hanging out with my friends and that’s just what I love to do.
[00:18:43] Bryan Pham: Damn, I don’t even know what to say. That’s amazing. Cause I’m totally the opposite whenever I feel like, oh my God, we have something, I just jump and I just leave my job. And that’s just me and for you, we always consider you as a top tier entrepreneur in our book where it’s oh we need to go talk to Linda. She’s definitely very hard on her list. To have you in the podcast and to hear that you have faced your internal struggles. Letting go of that job, it’s so relatable to a lot of us, especially Asian Hustle Network. How side hustle is that, maybe it gets my Asian beliefs, Asian culture, to leave this for uncertainty, right? Because whether we like it or not that Asian value that our parents instilled in us of having a safe job of having a safe career, not wasting your career? It’s always going to be in a backroom.
[00:19:25] And huge congratulations on taking the jump into becoming a full-time entrepreneur. But everything you showed us during this podcast is step-by-step and nothing happens overnight. And when we look at you from the associate perspective, wow, she definitely has it altogether. She’s well put together. She must have some sort of superpower. And this is what’s scary about this podcast. Can we to uncover that and discover more about yourself and particularly, I’m curious too, because I know we’ve mentioned earlier before the podcast that we did look into each other’s background a little bit more, and I looked into your husband’s background and I’m , wow, this guy’s a real estate developer. And you guys marry each other in some ways where you’re focused on your business. He’s focused on his business, but you guys know how to have fun as a couple.
[00:20:10] Linda Chiou: I think what’s really important is just that work-life balance. As much as we hustle, we always want to make sure that we have that time to just get away, enjoy life, and spend quality time together. That way we can come back to our work and our goals, refreshed. And that’s what life is all about. It’s about balance. You can’t do too much work all the time. You can’t have too much fun and play all the time. And for me, I think also that’s why it was so important for me to build that passive income and having multiple streams of income.
[00:20:43] And my husband has really been able to teach me that too. I’ve learned a lot from him and I’m diving into real estate now and I’m getting my real estate license. So I feel I’m always learning and growing. When people come to me for advice on starting their own businesses. I always tell them , go for it, take the risks, whether it fails or succeeds, the best thing you can say is at least you tried and then you can start to try to build those multiple streams of revenue for yourself.
[00:21:09] Maggie Chui: That’s amazing. I always see pictures of you and your husband. And it’s so inspiring to see because whenever he gets featured in a magazine or something, you would amplify it and elevate him and lift him up and everything like that. And then he does the same for you.
[00:21:24] And I think that’s such a healthy balance and you guys definitely portray that it’s really important to have fun while working hard and you guys are just the ultimate power couple. It’s just really amazing to see that.
[00:21:34] Bryan Pham: You guys are my idol.
[00:21:35] Linda Chiou: Thank you.
[00:21:35] Maggie Chui: And I can see that you’re getting into real estate too. You’re posting on Airbnb. It’s just so amazing.
[00:21:44] Linda Chiou: I feel like in life, people go through stages, your passions change, your priorities change. So you have to always tap into those ,you know, thoughts in the back of your mind and just go for it. Life is about happiness. It’s not all about money, so you gotta do what makes you happy and what fuels your passions.
[00:22:04] Bryan Pham: Definitely. You can tell already, we’re obviously very huge fans of you. We’ve been following you for a very long time now. Hopefully, it’s not as scary as we’re talking about this, but the next topic I want to talk about is mental health because this is just a huge topic nowadays because of the pandemic. We’re putting a lot more emphasis on mental health and you’ve been in the social media game for so long now. How have you been taking care of yourself? Because we know from our perspective, we see someone’s Instagram or social media as a highlight reel, and what feels ignored is those times when you’re crying. Those times where you’re struggling. Those times where you feel like you can’t do this, and we want to talk about that and bring more light to that.
[00:22:44] Can you talk about some of your lowest moments of doing your business, where it’s I don’t know if I can do this, how can I overcome it and how did you manage to push yourself through it during these darkest times?
[00:22:54] Linda Chiou: Especially being so present and putting myself out there on social media. Getting that daily criticism and negative feedback or people just trying to bring you down. That’s something that’s almost on a daily basis. I’ve learned to not really even go through my DMS anymore because. At the same time, I just want to stay focused, have tunnel vision.
[00:23:16] And there’s always going to be haters or people who are not truly happy for you. Especially when I started Ivy Swimwear in the beginning, there was so much criticism and we were taking photos of ourselves. Because obviously we didn’t have the budget to shoot models and people would make fun of that.
[00:23:34] On one, one end people would be , wow, great job for shooting yourself and putting yourself out there on the other end, people would be , you’re not a model. Why are you doing that? It doesn’t look good. So I’ve gotten comments from both spectrums and over the years, the most important thing for me is my mental health, my internal happiness.
[00:23:52] So I literally just turned that off, a switch. Like if I see a negative comment, I will just block and delete it, and I’ve always been such a positive person. I think it’s so important to just focus on yourself, focus on your own vision and just know that if you do have haters or negative comments, it’s because you’re doing something right.
[00:24:13] So just to keep staying positive. And it’s just unfortunate that the younger generation, I think, is going to be really impacted by social media, because that’s really how everyone’s growing up now. And they put so much emphasis on having to look good on social media, having to be loved on social media.
[00:24:30] It’s really how it shouldn’t be. I do want my content to be more authentic. I try to post stories on the daily just to show what my daily life is like, ups and downs. And it’s just I get it though, staying truly authentic to your audience, it’s not always possible because people want to post the best that they can show. They want to talk about their successes and not necessarily their failures. So that’s tough. And I know people are talking about that more and trying to be more aware of that, Instagram is hiding “likes” just for people’s mental health. So I do think these topics around mental health are important.
[00:25:09] Maggie Chui: Yeah, absolutely. And I just want to say that you’re so mentally strong, I think it’s very easy to be indulged in these comments. And especially like you mentioned, the new generation or the next generation, all they know is social media. So they looked at social media a lot. But no matter what you do, whether you are successful or not, you’re just trying. You’re bound to get hateful comments. Every time people see you trying to do something, you’re going to get criticism. So it was just amazing to hear you know what your boundaries are and to know when to block out comments when you don’t want to read them.
[00:25:40] Bryan Pham: And you’re a lot stronger than me, to be honest, I think I get some negative comments once in a while. I’ll be like, ouch, I don’t want to do anything anymore. You guys hurt my feelings. I’m just kidding. I’m not kidding, but I meant in a way where I do get kind of hurt, I’m just , wow, where’s all these hate coming from. I’m trying to do something good here.
[00:25:58] But yeah, I’m kind of curious too. Do you have any routines that you practice on a daily basis? To keep yourself going when you wake up, you look at yourself in the mirror and you’re like, Linda, I got this. Linda, I want to smile every day no matter what. Because you mentioned earlier that you are a very positive person, right?
[00:26:12] But as human beings, you’re not always positive all the time. And sometimes you wake up, I don’t want to do shit. You know, I just want to relax. I don’t want to do anything. The things that were really admired with you is how consistent you are. And it comes to the show how much you want it.
[00:26:26] But at the same time, it’s like, even if it wasn’t bad enough, you get discouraged and you just stop. But the thing is that you keep going, no matter what. You continuously post, almost on a daily basis, almost every day, a story posts, whatever.
[00:26:40] I just want to learn more about that willpower that you have inside. How do you teach yourself to become so consistent? Because I think that compared to other social media influencers that are coming out with your TikTok right now, you are the one going to feel that it’s very undefined at the time. And for you to make an undefined field and be consistent about it. I want to know what was the thought power, the willpower that you had, the internal voices in your head to tell you to keep on moving.
[00:27:06] Linda Chiou: I mean from the beginning, I think it’s just become a way of life for me. I don’t know, it’s almost a habit. I want to share, I want to keep adding to my feed. I want people to follow my journey, but at the same time, even though it does feel like I post a lot, I do have days off ,weeks off, where I just need that mental break. And I think that’s healthy. Sometimes I don’t even check in, I might post something, but I won’t even check in to the comments or anything. I’ll post it. And then put my phone away and I think I’ve gotten better at that recently because I do think that my brain is just going in so many directions that sometimes it’s, I just need that mental break from Instagram.
[00:27:47] And, I like to clear my mind. I like to do yoga. I like to do pilates.. We really took the time to set up our home gym just to give me time, self care. And in the mornings. I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself all the time to be like, I have to get this, and this done.
[00:28:04] But at the beginning of a month, I will write down these are my few goals this month, but I’ll do it on my own timeline throughout the month, and obviously that goes back to us, liking to have playtime too, because working all the time, it’s just so stressful. So I think it’s important to just make time for yourself, time to recharge.
[00:28:24] And I think that’s just how I stay so consistent with my social media, because to me it’s not all about social media, it benefits my business and it’s healthy for me to stay in touch with my friends in that sense, but I don’t live and breathe and have to read every comment, on my social media, because that would just be I think unhealthy.
[00:28:46] Maggie Chui: Oh yeah, for sure. I love that you have that perfect balance and it’s so important to make sure that you’re having fun in that process. I think especially with this whole hustle culture, we always think about work hard, work hard, work hard. And we’re always talking about working hard and we never think about making sure that we have fun or have a balance. So I love that you found your balance and you’re reemphasizing that to your community.
[00:29:09] We also know that you had spoken at Ted Talk recently.
[00:29:12] Bryan Pham: Congratulations.
[00:29:13] Maggie Chui: Yeah. Congratulations. What was that like and what was going through your mind at that time? I’m sure that was such a big accomplishment for you, and it was so amazing for you to share with the audience of cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.
[00:29:26] Obviously you’ve already dropped so much good stuff on this podcast and I’m sure that Ted Talk was amazing as well. What was your thought process like when you were asked to speak at Ted Talk?
[00:29:36] Bryan Pham: And that was the first time.
[00:29:39] Maggie Chui: That’s amazing.
[00:29:41] Bryan Pham: You’re such a natural,
[00:29:42] Linda Chiou: I was so nervous. I think I got really lucky cause I did have a coach. He helped me through, just my body language. You know, he helped me with what I wanted to say. So I could really verbally portray what I wanted to say in a proper way that Ted has a lot of guidelines too, where your speech can’t necessarily flow in a certain way.
[00:30:04] So I did get a lot of guidance and support and I’m not sure if you could tell from the video, but there was actually no live audience.
[00:30:12] So that was definitely out of my comfort zone. And I don’t know if I would’ve done it if there was a live audience, but apparently that was the last filming during COVID where they would do it without an audience. You know, because of COVID restrictions.
[00:30:30] And it was actually really random. One of my close friends from university had reached out to me in Vancouver and she actually became a Ted organizer. We lost touch for almost 10 years, I would say. One day, she just reached out to me and we reconnected and I think, and that’s really what I love so much about social media is that it just connects people from around the world and you can touch base with people who’ve, you’ve lost touch with for years, and she’s just been such a great friend to me in the past.
[00:31:02] And I love that she has the full mentality of supporting women, providing women with these opportunities to go on stage and tell their stories. So I felt so honored when she reached out to me.
[00:31:13] I planned my trip, everything. I had to fly back to Vancouver, get my vaccination just for this trip and everything. So it was really exciting and putting all of the wheels and action and actually seeing myself on a Ted stage, it was definitely nerve-wracking.
[00:31:28] Bryan Pham: No, you did great. And we’re happy to hear that too.. We couldn’t even tell that there’s no audience, couldn’t tell you’re nervous in any way. I think you got your points across really well. So huge congratulations. And what surprised us was that we saw a post saying that this is our first time speaking at something. You’re such a boss at everything you do, you’re just vibe, just complete boss, you got it under control.
[00:31:49] And that kinda leads me down, a segment too where it’s like, I think at this point, your career, I can honestly say that you’re very successful. You have two businesses that are doing really well. Your house in upstate New York is amazingly beautiful.
[00:32:00] What I’m really curious about is I feel like with entrepreneurship, when you reach a certain point where you have okay, things are going really well, you tend to feel a bit unfulfilled, you can tend to feel a bit unhappy because you’re always asking yourself, especially with entrepreneurs, what is next? So how do you deal with that chase, where it’s that feeling where I’m not happy anymore because I’m seeking a challenge. And how do you know when is enough? When should I be happy? Cause I’m curious to hear more.
[00:32:27] That’s a tough question, because I think as an entrepreneur, we’re just such go-getters and it’s always going on to the next. I don’t think of it in a negative way though. I like to think of it as I’m always learning and growing and I want to try new things, but of course there is a limit.
[00:32:44] I can only do so much in a day. And if I’m putting all of my efforts in this direction, I’m neglecting these other businesses. So my goal has always been just to make sure I can get a business self-sufficient, self running and then move on to the next adventure. But definitely throughout the years, I still have a long way to grow and a lot of goals that I want to accomplish in my own businesses, but I think something that I’ve just discovered along the way that I feel really great about is really being able to help other people achieve their goals too. So that’s been really fulfilling and that’s something that’s always going to be ongoing for me. So I think, just this year doing the Ted Talk and you guys are my very first podcast. I definitely want to do more things like this and really just be able to spread the message and whether it’s encouraging, inspiring other people to chase their dreams.
[00:33:38] This is really new and scary to me, but I’m definitely going to keep putting myself out there.
[00:33:41] Maggie Chui: So amazing. I still can’t believe this is your first podcast because just when you’re speaking, you’re so natural. I remember when Brian and I were talking about bringing you into the podcast, I was trying to find interviews from you and Linda and I couldn’t find any. There was probably like one video that I found where I saw you guys talking. But other than that, we couldn’t really find any. And it’s just so surprising because you’re just so natural and you know exactly what you’re talking about and you’re just very comfortable in your own skin. So I was just amazed by that.
[00:34:14] Linda Chiou: Thank you. You guys are amazing. I feel you’re giving me a lot of confidence right now.
[00:34:20] Bryan Pham: They’re not complimentary. We are just being honest.
[00:34:23] Maggie Chui: But just hearing about your journey and all of the experience that you’ve had and how much you have grown I want to know, how you have seen yourself grow, obviously with starting Ivy Swimwear since the first day of starting that company, while you were still working your nine to five, there were probably a lot of things that you have learned.
[00:34:43] And maybe that came with imposter syndrome or anything like that. So how have you seen yourself grow in a more mentally and emotionally kind of way?
[00:34:52] Linda Chiou: Yeah. When I look back to that day where I really decided to quit my corporate job and go full force into the entrepreneurial world, I was so scared.
[00:35:03] And at that time I just got out of the long-term relationship. I already had so many failed businesses prior to that. So it was a huge step for me. If I could talk to my previous self, I would definitely. Just tell myself, one step at a time don’t put so much expectation on yourself because life is not built out in cookie-cutter.
[00:35:28] Everyone has their own timeline. Don’t compare yourself to other people, just focus on yourself and that’s what’s going to lead you to ultimate happiness. And when I look back now, I’m so grateful for all the decisions that I made and just putting myself out there. Quitting my nine to five, taking that leap of faith, because if I didn’t, I don’t even know how my life would have turned out.
[00:35:50] I was so unhappy at the time in my corporate job. And that’s something that I knew was a hundred percent. I just really took that leap of faith. And I think that if someone isn’t fulfilled in their life, they really need to reflect, do some self reflection and try to understand what it is that makes themselves truly happy.
[00:36:09] Cause at the end of the day you spend and I’m probably exaggerating, but 80% of your life working. So if your job is something that’s not making you happy, then you really have to reanalyze. Focus on what your true goals are in life.
[00:36:25] Bryan Pham: Absolutely agree with that statement. This is also realignment with your goals and your values of who you are. That’s how you stay happy if you’re outside of that alignment is oh man, where’s my life going? And what am I doing? So it’s great that you’re bringing up a really important point too, is that reflection is a big part of growth, reflection’s a big part of being an entrepreneur and making sure that you’re going in the right direction.
[00:36:44] Then I can tell that you had a lot of practice too, because I realized in this podcast, even though it’s your first podcast, you almost didn’t say “uhms”
[00:36:51] Linda Chiou: Oh I don’t?
[00:36:53] Maggie Chui: I probably even said more “uhms” than Linda has.
[00:37:02] I love it. Linda, what’s next for you? What do you see happening for you in the next 5 to 10 years?
[00:37:08] Linda Chiou: I think I’ve really found a newfound passion in real estate. I really want to go full force in that. I love interior design and decorating, and it’s a whole new world for me.
[00:37:19] I think with my beauty academy, my fashion business, and real estate, I’m going to be fully engulfed. So business venture wise, I don’t think I’m going to think of anything else outside of that time, but in the next 10 years, I think it’s just a lot of big life changes for me, my wedding is happening and I’ve really settled life into here.
[00:37:40] I do want things to start slowing down a little bit and we’re talking about having kids and the next two years. So I think it’s really just after hustling, hustling, hustling so much, I really just want to slow down, enjoy life. It’s the little things that matter and just really sit back and focus on family and quality time.
[00:37:59] Maggie Chui: I love it. If anyone watches Linda’s Instagram stories or interior design skills are amazing and watching the progress of your herbs, little herbs growing
[00:38:08] Linda Chiou: That’s a newfound passion of mine too. I’m turning into a housewife. I am like the Asian Martha Stewart. I love decorating, cooking, and finding new recipes. This stuff really brings me so much joy. Just cooking dinner, making the pillows on my couch with beautiful falls. It’s definitely new Linda.
[00:38:33] Maggie Chui: I love it . Linda, we have one last question for you, and that is if you could give one advice to an aspiring entrepreneur. What is that advice?
[00:38:45] The most important thing is just to believe in yourself. Don’t listen to what other people say. Again, there’s always going to be people who are negative people who are trying to bring you down.
[00:38:57] You’re the only person that sees your vision. And if you don’t put 110% into it, then no one else is going to do it for you. So be a hundred percent be fully committed, have that dedication and persistence. And build that life that you can dream of. So it’s all up to you.
[00:39:15] Bryan Pham: I love that. I love that a lot. Believing yourself goes a long way, especially. When you’re just starting out. People can’t see what you’re trying to do. And it’s a process, they doubt you and then they believe in you, and now they want to be you. And that’s where you are right now.
[00:39:30] So Linda, how can our listeners find out more about you and reach out to you online?
[00:39:34] Linda Chiou: Definitely Instagram, I’m always there. I’m going to continue to be consistent. Throughout all my life changes, I’ve just enjoyed sharing my life on social media. So I leave Snap for now. I’ll definitely be always on Instagram and people can still send me DMs and I do filter through and reply to ones that have genuine inquiries. So definitely Instagram.
[00:39:59] Bryan Pham: Definitely. And we’ll leave all that in show notes. But Linda, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. We’re so honored to be your first podcast ever. We hope to continue to see you on more podcasts in the future.
[00:40:12] Linda Chiou: Thank you guys for having me. This is so much fun.
[00:40:15] Maggie Chui: Thank you, Linda. We had such a great time interviewing you.