Post StartSomeGood UPDATE!

Yikes! It’s been nearly a month since our fund raising campaign has ended — time is going by much too quickly! Finally a long overdue update on our results and what we’ve been up to.

Results of our campaign!

At the end of our 45 day campaign on StartSomeGood.com; we raised a total of $5,660 from 95 contributors!! I can’t say enough how humbled I am by the entire experience. As I’ve said before, I had no idea what to expect when launching this campaign and I am pleased to say that the outcome was a great success not only because we were able to raise some seed funds but because we we able to get some people thinking — a bit differently. At least this is my hope. All in all, the campaign exceeded my expectations and the biggest lesson I learned is simply to keep sharing and giving (genuinely, without any expectations) — you’ll be surprised how much you will receive in return.

Soon, I will be participating in an interview with StartSomeGood.com about the details of our campaign, stay tuned!

In the mean time, I’ve put together a little slideshow with all the photos I could find of the people who donated — (without names). I wanted to make this to show the diversity among our contributors. Our campaign reached various regions throughout the world — we had contributions from Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. It’s been a pleasure to receive support from such a diverse range of people; many of whom I met during very different stages of my life (school, work, social gatherings and travels). I even had a donation from a friend I used to copy homework from throughout elementary school, which I found so ironic! haha (you know who you are πŸ˜›).Β  Also from friends’ parents and families, people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years, a sweet gal whose blog I used to stalk for travel inspiration has somehow found my blog and even made a donation —

times like these throughout the campaign made it so worthwhile.

I made an effort to not mass market my campaign and push it upon anyone; rather, I had many nice conversations with people not just about my campaign but life in general and that was by far the most rewarding part of this experience. It’s unfortunate that many of us have hundreds or even thousands of friends on our various social media networks but just a handful are people we really “know.” For me, this campaign gave me a reason to reach out to many people on a more human level; allowing me to share something I’m passionate about and getting to “know” some of my friends and family as well! πŸ™‚ Thank you all for the love & support.

Many have asked if they can still donate or support since we did not reach our total goal of $8,100 — YES!!

we are still raising funds and your help will allow us not only to get our business going but for us to focus our time and efforts solely to our start-up. Click the photo for more details on how you can help! We still have rewards to give away as well!


I have yet to make any purchases towards our business as I am very cautious about spending the funds!

For the most part, the tasks which I think I can learn — I do it. It’s a lot more time consuming and often frustrating but I know it’s important for me to learn and understand all aspects of starting a business. In the past four weeks since our campaign has ended, the next step was to get our shop up and running. So, I’ve been working on our e-commerce site, learning about eco-packaging, designing our own packaging and promotional materials (tags, business cards), teaching myself (via online tutorials) illustrator and photo shop so that I can learn how to design our own promo material, website, look book and line sheet for buyers, working with my suppliers on our orders, planning another trip to visit the artisan villages AND to top it off…….my tourist Visa is going to expire in December which means I’ve been “planning” my trip home to the states.

Needless to say — I’ve had quite a bit of work to do and very thankful for all your support which is allowing me to do all of this.

Here is a glimpse into some of the things I’ve been up to (the prettier side of things) πŸ˜‰

Learning about sustainable packaging.


Pretending that I know how to design….because I’d rather not pay for a designer; it’s the Chinese in me. Read more about the status and ideas of our packaging here.


Learning how to create a line sheet using illustrator. I now have even MORE respect and appreciation for those who has helped us in creating our fliers and minor photo edits until now. However, I do love the fact that I can now say I (kinda) know how to use illustrator πŸ˜›

What is this for? I hope to have retailers carrying our goodies; so I’ve thrown this together for buyers. We’re already getting inquiries and I can’t wait to send this baby out πŸ˜‰


As promised — I try to squeeze in a little time each day to write our thank you letters and figuring out the best way to distribute our rewards. We’re very excited to send our gifts out!


Looking through pretty fabric swatches for some Oimei Co. accessories to be made. All naturally dyed — Aren’t the colors beautiful!


Attended a handicraft fair here in Bangkok. The fair had various booths representing different artisans and their crafts throughout Thailand. Always a great place for some inspiration πŸ™‚ Below is a pillow case made by traditional Batik dying method.


In case you have not heard — much of Thailand is currently facing terrible flooding and is expected to hit Bangkok in the next few days. I’ve spent some time with a few friends raising funds for this….and since this is making things a bit slower for us to have our requests processed; I’m headed to Hanoi then on a train to Ha Giang, Vietnam where I’ve discovered there is a weaving co-operative that employs women who have been victims of human trafficking. I’ve always wanted to work with people of my own heritage and am very excited to share what I learn during this trip!

To wrap up this post — I’d like to say again that as things progress — it keeps getting scarier than ever and I’m really beginning to see that entrepreneurship is like swimming upstream. Not only am I faced with the obstacles of starting a small business for the first time with limited funds and knowledge. But I am constantly bombarded with questions about what’s to come next (and sometimes I just want to shout “I DON’T KNOW but I’M TRYING!!”) — especially from my mother who thinks her baby daughter has gone completely bonkers. All this, combined with the various life’s decisions we’re all faced with is……..freakishly overwhelming!

Most people don’t “believe” until they see money Β — to put it blatantly. And, this is what I find frustrating but it’s also what motivates me. I know that the concept of building a socially conscience business is still quite new but this is what drives me. I’ve never had this much determination in anything else — I’m often up until the crack of dawn everyday and will continue to work or think about work until late night because I think about the bigger picture. I firmly believe that true success and fulfillment can not be achieved by pursuing money alone.

What keeps me going is reminding myself to take things one at a time. And that no decision is really permanent because at any moment I am able to change or alter my direction and my thinking.

Most importantly, the people who inspired this from the very beginning — the people living in the rural poor. They remind me how fortunate I am to have access to so many resources and the choice to do something I am passionate about even if it means a few failures. They remind me how lucky I am to not just “want” to help others but that I have the capability to do so…even if it means starting small. And of course, the wonderful people who have supported my little initiative! You all give me a HUGE reason to keep making progress! This is what helps me re-focus when the road ahead gets blurry.

Before I get back to work, here is a quote from the late Steve Jobs that resonates with me very much at this moment. Enjoy! and…Happy Monday πŸ™‚

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” -Steve Jobs

One week left: What’s next for Oimei Co.?

With just one week left to reach our fund raising goal on StartSomeGood.com; many people have been asking me what’s next for Oimei Co.?

Currently, we’ve raised just over 50% towards our goal with the support of 66 backers!!

A total of $4,210 so far! Our goal is $8,100 to fully implement the project.

  1. So what happens if I don’t reach my goal?
    I can still get things started! And will continue to search/apply for grants and other fund raising methods. Any suggestions? πŸ˜›
  2. What are we going to do with the money raised so far?
    The amount raised thus far will cover start up and pre-revenue costs listed on our campaign page. Here.

    I have been very fortunate with FREE help ranging from advice, logo design, media footage such as my campaign pitch, promo material for my campaign (fliers etc.) and even free food & beer from my dear friends who think I’ve gone mad. Though none of them expect anything in return, I’d love to reimburse them with a bit of cash or a nice home cooked meal!

    Aside from all the wonderful help; I’ve been doing everything else alone and it’s about time I get some expert help to pick up the speed! With the funds raised so far, I’ll be hiring someone for web development to get the site fully functioning properly. I will be visiting the artisan villages again (this time with some money) in the North of Thailand to gather more stories, footage and of course; pillows! There, I will also figure out the logistics and all that fun stuff which includes the cost of getting the goodies to the west (distribution). I will get some packaging and promotional material printed to get us started. Ultimately, many steps closer to getting our shop up!Not to worry, I will be keeping you updated each step of the way πŸ˜‰

    All of this talk is getting me very excited to finally dive into what’s been months in planning and spreading the word. It will definitely be a lot of work BUTI’d like to announce that I’ve got myself a partner!I am very excited to have some extra hands and a friend alongside the journey. Soon, I will write a post introducing her and our plans for Oimei Co!

    For now; visit us on Facebook for a brief introduction of US.

  3. I’ve also been planning…yes, planning. As scatter brained as I am. I’ve been planning for the future; 6 mos. 1 year, 5 years?!? Many ideas in mind but the ultimate goal is getting the business to a point where it is self-sustainable so that we can support more artisans and their craft. Our hope is to gradually add more artisan partners and their beautiful goods to our shop. We will be updating frequently as we learn and grow. I hope this gives you a better idea of what’s next for Oimei Co!

Now, we have ONE WEEK left to reach our goal and

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!

Please visit our Campaign page. Learn about our initiative. Donate and help us spread the word!

For other ways you can help: (click below)

A Chinese proverb to sum up thoughts for this post,

The journey is the reward.

So true. I will speak specifically about the journey ofΒ  this project which has been quite hazy from the very beginning. When I decided to start this project, I was totally lost in my mind not knowing what I should do next with my life; if I should go home, continue traveling or stay in Thailand. I was not able to work here due to my student visa so I was jobless and nearly out of money. A big part of me has been missing home, family and friends but somehow going home and searching for a job didn’t sit well with me.

When this idea came to mind, I have never felt so passionately and excited about anything else before. You hear this all the time; people telling you to do what you love and you’ll do well. It always seems like a load of crap right? Well, I’ve found something that has given me a purpose and something I enjoy. I know the chances of failing are high but I’ll keep trying.

This journey has and still is very confusing, scary and overwhelming at times. But it’s been nothing but beautiful. I’ve given up a lot of the “things” that used to keep me comfortable, I’ve opened myself up and embraced vulnerability and I try to share everything that I can…me. In return I’ve received so much support in this endeavor and I can not express how thankful I am for those of you who believe in me and this initiative.

Though the destination is unclear; the journey has definitely been a HUGE reward. Thanks to you πŸ™‚

Thank you for all the LOVE.

Oh pity me

Just Kidding! Please, don’t.

Today I should be writing an update about my fund raising campaign because I have 9 days left to reach my goal but instead I’d like to address a huge misconception of my purpose in starting a social enterprise to help the rural poor. And that is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

Empathy is having the ability to understand and share feelings with another person which is an essential step to then being compassionate.
Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone else’s misfortune. Pitying them.

This comes to mind because I’ve been receiving endless messages (in relation to my project) similar to these; “Oh Aimi, you are such a GOOD person. You’re like Mother Theresa. You are doing such a great thing” You’re out there, saving the world!” and so on.

So, I should be flattered right? No. In fact, it frightens me.

Why? Because we live in a world full cynicism and sarcasm which makes it difficult for young people to cultivate ideas for greater good. How do I know? Because since I’ve begun this journey I’m constantly battling with these life sucking cynics who pity my idealism. Then, on the other spectrum I get so much praise that I don’t feel deserving of because in retrospect; this is a small initiative. There are so many amazing people doing things with greater impact but this is my start. Such praise tells me that more young people need to think about change making too!

Secondly, I am no different than the average twenty four year old gal. I just graduated college, needed to do something with my life but wanted to do something different. I still (kinda) have a social life, I go out, I party, I hang with friends, I have hobbies and enjoy most of the same things as anyone else my age. But ever since I launched my campaign and shed some light onto social entrepreneurship and the lives of the rural poor; Ive been getting these very thoughtful but absurd messages of me being this heroic person.

Yes, I am fascinated about social enterprise so I wanted to start one; to learn.
Yes, I feel good being able to help someone else along the way; don’t you?
Yes, I am generally an optimistic person; because it’s much more enjoyable to be around uplifting spirits, ya?
Yes, I like to be good and I like to be honest; I think you do too.

I think some people have a misunderstanding of my business, maybe even you. You see that I am trying to help rural artisans and naturally feel sympathetic towards these “poor” (maybe even helpless) people. But I want to clarify that I do not see them this way which is why I stress the importance of telling their stories. Most people living in poverty want nothing more but to pull themselves out; with dignity. They are often very intelligent, charismatic and hard working people who want to work in order to provide for their families and communities.

Just like you and I; they want a purpose in life.

Sure, they may not have some of the luxuries such as nice cars, clothes and other unnecessary “things” we may possess but that’s not what they want. They want to put food on the table for their families, they want to give their children an education, they want to feel safe in their homes, have access to clean water, light and resources to better their living standards.

In my case; as the social entrepreneur I saw that I can try to help a small amount of people who live in developing communities by bringing their products to the wider world. In return, I get to fulfill my aspirations of being an entrepreneur. They get to have consistent work producing textiles to raise their standard of living. And for the consumer, they get unique, handmade products that are high quality.

So, everyone benefits. There is no pity involved.

It’s important for me to make this clear because as humans, no one truly enjoys sympathy. We don’t want anyone to feel sorry for us right? Okay, so there are some people that sulk in self-pity but really, it doesn’t do any good. However, most of us know that sympathy does not feel good. When times are hard, we want empathy; we want someone who can listen, share their understanding and compassionately help us if they can. Well for the people who live in extreme poverty, they are no different; they don’t want your pity and they don’t want your money. They want to learn how to pull themselves out of poverty and be self reliant. So, let’s help them!

Oh, and for you cynics who probably didn’t get offended by my comment above; I want to say that I am young, I am sometimes naive and I am not entirely against cynicism but I believe there needs to be a balance in the society as a whole in order to nurture young minds and their ideas to do good!

A suiting quote to leave you with.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pillows for Peace!

For those of you who have yet to see my video campaign, here it is. HUGE thanks to my dear friend Josh who helped me put this together!

For more details & to support: Click here!

On the campaign page you will see the same video campaign (above). The left column gives a full description of how much funds we need to raise and how it will be allocated. On the right hand side are the rewards offered based on contribution amounts. To donate, a paypal account is required and you will not be charged until the campaign ends πŸ™‚

WHY PILLOWS? :Β I had the initial idea of supporting “peace building” initiatives by re-investing a percent of net profits earned through the business. So, Pillows for Peace came to mind as I was brainstorming and it stuck! After many visits to the artisan villages, I discovered bright and beautiful pillow cases being produced but mostly to be sold locally within their communities. I knew we had to get their products to the wider world! I’ve always loved ethnic textiles and found them to be so unique and playful. I think pillows are a great way to liven up any room; adding color, texture and with these pillows also comes a story! As the business model becomes self-sustainable in the future; we hope to carry more fair trade, textile goods, beyond pillows!

MY PERSONAL MISSION WITH THIS PROJECT:

  • I think Social entrepreneurship is immensely fascinating. What better way to learn & raise awareness than doing it myself? With this first project, I will share each step of the way as I continue to learn and grow. I wanted to experience first-hand; how to use business strategies as a means to help developing communities at the grass root level. With this project, we will be creating a channel of distribution for rural artisans producing fair trade textiles. Which in turn increases their income and overall standard of living.
  • Fair trade NEEDS to be mainstream. In recent years, the fair trade movement has been growing rapidly but is yet to be mainstream. We will do our part in supporting the movement by carrying textile goods that meets fair trade standards. Here is a great animation about fair trade: learn more…
  • Support hand woven textiles. A beautiful craft that is deeply rooted in many cultures and a sustainable method of producing ethnic textiles. To learn more about the importance of weaving: Watch this! (I am a visual learner, so I like videos & animations πŸ˜›) Our goal is to support the artisans not only by helping them gain access to new markets but to share their stories with YOU! When I I had the opportunity to visit these villages, it feels very surreal! I know this may sound silly but I am so humbled by their lives. They live in very small communities where the emphasis on family and relationships is above everything else. They are genuinely sincere and will welcome you into their homes without any hesitation. They will share everything they have even if it’s not much AND they expect nothing from you. By simply supporting them with their craft, it enables them to flourish in their own communities & make a living with dignity.When our web site is fully running, we will feature the artisans and their stories so you can SEE how this small effort makes a huge impact in their lives.
  • Crowd funding! I have seen/heard too many people overlook their ideas because they don’t have money to get it started. When I discovered crowd funding, I wanted more people to know about it! And learn how they can turn a small idea into a reality! I think crowd funding is a wonderful way to not only get your idea off the ground but to get others involved in your project, to learn & get inspired. Again, what better way to spread the good than by doing it. So, I’m giving it a shot! So far, so good.
  • People who make a living doing what they love. Living life, their way. I have always been so inspired (and envious) of people who have been able to make a living doing what they love. For example, I’ve always been & still am obsessed with crafty blogs which are mostly created by women who make a living by blogging about their crafts & then selling it. Or, food blogs! photography blogs! travel blogs!…I can go on and on. I would sit at my day job answering phones and filing while drooling over their lives; never imagining that I can possibly make a living doing what I love. Well here I am; giving it my all.
  • Inspire others to think. This project is very very small (compared to all the amazing projects I’ve seen by other entrepreneurs) BUT it’s a starting point for me. If I can choose one motivating factor in pursuing this project; it was all the stories I’ve read about other “change makers” who ultimately got me thinking differently. I believe the greatest gift you can ever give to someone is that little nudge to get them thinking differently. I also believe that the biggest complement you can ever receive is that you’ve inspired someone to think differently. For me, I am always moved by real stories. Real challenges, discoveries, journeys. REAL lives.I love when people share their stories in a way that I can relate to them. Stories where they share the good, the bad and the ugly. This is what we need more of; young people telling their stories, their passions and future aspirations. Frankly, I think we are bombarded with just the “surface” of peoples lives such as we see on Facebook. We are taught to believe that sharing our lives challenges make us weak but I beg to differ. As a part of this project, my intention is to embrace transparency not only in the business aspect but in my personal journey as the entrepreneur. My successes, challenges and failures. Why? Because I think this is what what gets people thinking.

I NEED YOUR HELP!

because it’s the ONLY way I can make this a reality.

YOUR CONTRIBUTION: The money donated to the project will go directly towards funding this initiative. You can see how the funds will be utilized by visiting our campaign page.

Our Goal is $8,100 to fully implement the project. So far, we have raised $2,885 !!! Thanks to YOU!!

I’ve had several people ask me if they can just mail me a check or transfer funds due to hassle with paypal etc. I appreciate the gesture but the whole purpose of crowd funding (to me) beyond the money; is to show how you CAN turn an idea into a reality if you can get others to see and believe in you.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?:

  • REWARDS!!I love hand written letters. Hand made things. Beautiful Photos & of course our unique pillows from the artisan villages! SO, this is what’s being offered as a “thank you” for your contribution. Here is how it works:
    • For $10: you get an honorable mention on “our supporters” section of our website.
    • For $25: A hand written card from me! (& the above)
    • For $50: A Hand Woven Key chain from the tribal artisans in the North of Thailand. (& all of the above)
    • For $100: A hand carved wooden frame from Thailand with a printed photo that I’ve taken during my travels. (& all of the above)
    • For $250: One of our hand woven pillow cases from our collection. Tell us your favorite color or style preference and we’ll surprise you!
    • For $500: One of our favorite (new) hard cover books about Thailand which will showcase beautiful photography. And a hand woven blanket/throw to compliment your pillow. (& All of the above)
    • For $1000: You will get all of the above and if you are ever in Thailand; you’ll get a personal tour to the tribal villages in Chiang Mai (northern Thailand). Here you can visit the artisans, learn about the craft and SEE how you’ve helped their lives.

    AND you get to be a part of the journey! I will consistently update my blogs (here & my tumblr) with updates including written and media content so you can SEE how you’ve helped make this a reality.

The following are faces of some of our wonderful contributors thus far! Thank you so much for your support!

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WE HAVE 19 DAYS LEFT TO REACH OUR GOAL.

& every bit of support helps!

Please help me make this project a reality by supporting, donating and spreading the word!Β 

thanks for the LOVE!