Hatch Tribe Hero | Tanya Zhang
What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
I love being my own boss and dedicating the time to invest in my business, my career path and, most importantly, myself.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
I started Nimble Made with my co-founder Wesley Kang because we want to increase inclusion in sizing within the clothing industry. The dress shirt industry standardizes and averages out men of a slimmer stature who can’t wear the "Slim Fit" at Brooks Brothers or JCrew because they’re still too big. I’ve seen this first hand when shopping with my dad at Macy’s and not being able to find him a good-fitting dress shirt. Nimble Made is a men's actually slim dress shirt brand that has a trimmed shirt length, sleeve length, and back/shoulder measurements for an actually slim fit, inspired by and for Asian men. Using the brand as a platform, we want to change sizing standards in the industry but also to open dialogue around representation in others. Men’s fashion can blend into topics like what masculinity, vulnerability, and confidence mean for the modern Asian man.
How is it running a business that purposefully caters to the Asian American & other AAPI market?
We’re a very early stage startup but have gotten great feedback from the AAPI community (and outside the community as well!) Everyone has been excited to support, contribute and are eager to stay updated with what we’re working on. On the business side, it helps to have a specific niche to target when it comes to marketing. As Asian American founders, our story really comes from our cultural upbringing and we love being able to pay it forward and give it back to our community.
Can you tell us a bit about choosing to start Nimble Made with a co-founder rather than solo?
Wesley and I knew we wanted to work together because of our complementary skill sets and good team dynamic (Surprise! We’re also dating). We actually conceived the idea of Nimble Made together. It’s been really great working with a co-founder who shares the same vision and is equally passionate about it. They hold you accountable, validate your ideas and brainstorm solutions with you.
In one word characterize your life as an entrepreneur. #TallOrder
What is the best advice you’ve ever received
Maximize your strengths; minimize your weaknesses.
What sacrifices have you made to be a successful entrepreneur?
I’ve had to sacrifice stable income, 401k match, subsidized health insurance, a predictable career path and everything else that comes with a corporate job in order to attempt to be a successful entrepreneur. I wouldn’t say I’m successful yet at this stage but have no regrets in taking this leap of faith. I haven’t looked back!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to believe and have more confidence at an earlier age. There were so many times where I doubted my skill set and abilities to achieve or associated achievements with luck. It’s really such a disservice when you don't give yourself the credit you deserve.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in hearing other people’s stories. I love connecting and talking to friends, friends of friends or even strangers and listening to what makes them excited. I love working with like-minded individuals who are passionate about their work and hustle to get what they want.
What would you do with one extra hour in the day?
Read. My 2019 goal is to read 60 books before the year ends. That’s about 1.15 books per week! It’s mid-Feb and I’m on book #10 so I’m on track (and a little ahead) for now. I’ve been reading alot of business books and memoirs of successful entrepreneurs.
When you’re not working, what is your favorite way to spend your free time?
I’m from LA and moved to NYC about 3 years ago. I really miss the sunshine and being outdoors. So whenever it’s a beautiful day out, I’ll be outside walking from uptown Manhattan to downtown. That or I’ll be at museums like the Met or Whitney Museum.
What is your big goal for the next phase of your business?
The next big goal is brand awareness. We’re reaching out to blogs, publications, podcasts, any platform who’ll have us to talk about Nimble Made, how we built it and what we’re working towards! We also want to work closer to the Asian American community and partner on events, workshops, and collaborations. If anyone’s reading this and are interested in chatting, please reach out!
About Tanya Zhang:
Born and raised in LA, Tanya have STEM education in Interdisciplinary Computing & the Arts from UC San Diego. She started in my career as an art director in advertising, working on integrated campaigns at TBWA\CHIAT\DAY New York. She transitioned into the start-up space, leading the art direction and branding for fin-tech startup Better. She has advised as a UX/UI consultant, specializing in user-centric interaction design and experience at Ernst & Young LLP.
In addition to growing The Cosmos as Head of Community, She founded Nimble Made, an actually-slim dress shirt brand, inspired by and created for slim Asian men.
To connect with Tanya Zhang and Nimble Made:
all photos courtesy of Tanya Zhang