WOMEN MAKING WAVES: Kieryn Wang
Women Making Waves is a bi-monthly series by The Women Wave that spotlights badass women who are playing active roles in making waves in their communities.
Tricia cannot wait for this next #WomenMakingWaves feature, starring Kieryn Wang. Kieryn is one of the most outspoken, badass, supportive women on the face of the planet. For her “day job”, she runs a consulting agency (Almost Consulting) that helps cannabis brands reach women in a meaningful way. She’s also a podcast host (AlmostChill), advocate, and a refreshingly unapologetic voice on social media and beyond.
What’s most important to know about Kieryn is that she doesn’t just call out bias, injustice, and privilege when she sees it, which she is known to do. She also takes it a step further by creating and sharing meaningful and educational resources. Take, for example, the Almost Consulting PoC Cannabis Directory that she created after a friend asked for suggestions for Black-owned CBD companies. Or her carefully researched podcast episode recounting the history of oppression for Asians and Asian Americans in the U.S. Kieryn’s willingness to do the work is a constant reminder that we could all do a little more.
Kieryn joins us to answer a few questions on entrepreneurship as an Asian woman, representation, accountability, and more. We hope you learn something from her answers like we did. And if her answers make you uncomfortable, we invite you to sit in that and reflect on your reaction.
1. When did you decide it was time to create your own business and why?
When I realized how easy it was for white men not to listen to women of color. I was working at a woman-owned company that got bought out by a male-owned company as a marketing scheme to be able to claim they had a women-focused brand under their fold. They treated the women unwilling to cater to men at the company like shit and I had enough, so I bounced.
I focus on helping brands reach women in their customer base, because at the end of the day women know how to market to women better than men do. Sorry not sorry, men, you can't do it all.
2. What's the most honest, candid advice you can give to a woman considering entrepreneurship?
Be prepared to deal with bullshit. Bullshit from men, especially. I think because of my age and the fact that I'm an Asian woman, men don't want to listen to what I have to say. So I make them listen. It's hard, but you have to be assertive in some ways that you may not have had to before. And be prepared to roll your eyes and keep on moving. Unfortunately, the reality is that you're going to have a harder go at it than men typically do. It's harder to get money, it's harder to set boundaries, it's harder to be taken seriously. But make it happen and establish those boundaries sooner rather than later. And believe in yourself first. That's the best foundation you can lay out for continued success.
3. You speak a lot about the importance of representation in media and business. Why do you think it's so important?
It makes such a difference seeing someone that looks like you being amplified or in a position of leadership when traditionally you haven't seen that. How many minority kids would have been motivated to pursue those bigger dreams if they had seen people that looked like them when they were growing up doing those bigger things? All we see is white people. White stories, white experiences, white representatives. Enough is enough. I'm sick of seeing white people everywhere, honestly. Seeing Crazy Rich Asians on the big screen for the first time legitimately made me cry. It felt so powerful to see my culture that I grew up in finally represented on a larger scale. I connected with the story in a very different way, especially since it wasn't about the token Asian character centered around the white story. It was an Asian story. It made a difference. Most recently, I've been so inspired watching Andrew Yang run for president. I don't have a lot of opinions yet about 2020, but seeing an Asian man really going for the presidency has me feeling a lot of feelings. I can't even imagine what having an Asian president in the White House would feel like, but I know it would be unforgettable.
4. We love your #WhitePeopleWednesday series on IGLive, where you and your podcast partner create space for, as the name suggests, white people to ask questions about race and privilege that they may otherwise be ashamed to ask. Why did you and your podcast partner decide to do this?
I am not one to shy away from confrontation. And I think it's high time that white people confront the history that their ancestors have created for them. It's time for accountability. We can't keep going around pretending like things are that much better than they were in the mid-1900s or before, because in some ways they're legitimately not. On Almostchill, we definitely come at it from an Asian (American) perspective, because we are Asian women so we'd rather speak from our lived experiences. But we know that other PoC and underrepresented groups can relate to what we're talking about. White people, you have historically been oppressors. Time to face the music.
5. What do you do when you're feeling uninspired?
WEED. Hahahahahahahaha I love smoking to feel inspired. Get a good strain and get the creative juices flowing. I also like to get into nature, preferably out on the coast because I'm a water sign and water truly energizes me. But when I can't get out into nature, I typically head to dance class to get some movement in my body and get some choreography in my head and that will unlock some inspiration without fail.
You can follow Kieryn on Instagram at @almostconsulting.