Journey to Tayvada

The inspiration for Tayvada is deeply personal to me. Tayvada translates to 'angel' in the Cambodian language, the language of my ancestors. The brand embodies that which watches over us and protects us. It is nourishing, nurturing self-care; personified. I have witnessed first-hand the resonance this concept has with customers, friends and loved ones, especially during a time where the world is upside down and so many feel deep personal, health, economic and social anxieties. I truly believe that self-care has never been more important and I'm proud to share this passion and inspire others to take care of themselves.

The path to Tayvada has been a long one, but it has been a humbling one, forcing me to confront my past and ultimately becoming incredibly rewarding.

The Hustle Runs Deep

As a young girl, I have vivid memories of my parent's restaurant. I recall seeing my father in the kitchen, the exhilarating feeling of being able to order anything I wanted on the menu and my eyes inevitably being drawn to the Crab Rangoon and Kung Pao Chicken every time… And the fortune cookie. Always the fortune cookie! Having studied in Shanghai, China in college and getting the opportunity to explore different cultures made me realize this was definitely “American” Chinese, though in my youthful bliss I would never have known the difference at the time.

Twist and Turns

My life turned upside down at seven years old. My parents had a messy divorce, my father was suddenly and completely out of the picture, and my mother (abruptly made a single mom) was rarely home as she worked to support her two girls. Forced into a desperate situation, my mom sent me to spend time with my great aunt, often at her South East Asian grocery store, where I would salivate over pickled mangos, grapes and gooseberries. I’d walk around the store imagining being the owner and in charge. My great aunt also invited me on their family vacations to Orlando, Washington DC, NYC, Boston and even across the border to Canada. I didn't realize then the gift that she had given me - this taste of entrepreneurialism and travel - that would come back to drive and define me later in life.

The Life Changing Event

I did what typical kids my age did. I went to school, studied, graduated and got a degree from college. I worked hard, eventually going on to a successful corporate career. Life was good, if not a little crazy and manic! But I felt confident and that I was on the right path, living in NYC with a loving husband by my side and two fur babies (my dogs Roxy and Bella) for company.

One day, a routine checkup for minor chest pain turned my life upside down when I discovered that my right lung had almost completely collapsed. I'll never forget the mania in the emergency room, the frantic emails from my hospital bed to my colleagues and management staff as I told them I wouldn't be at the office, my husband glued to the side, the distress at the suddenness of it all. And I can't possibly describe the debilitating grief when just 12 weeks later (just as I was seemingly recovering), it happened a second time and doctors were at a complete loss as to why. This was the most traumatic part of it all - not knowing if it would happen again and the crushing feeling of vulnerability. But through it all I was able to confront the reality of what really mattered.

I realized at that point that the frantic rollercoaster my life had been wasn't my true calling. I needed to look within, care for my mind and body, nurture my health and my relationships, and learn to love myself and my loved ones more deeply than I ever had before. I was on a mission! I wanted to try everything that would heal me - I started with yoga, meditation, face masks, saunas, spas... I started reading self-help books and did a lot of float therapy. And perhaps most importantly, I learned to revisit my inner child and heal trauma from my past. I knew what I had to do.

Taking Action

I started throwing myself head first into opportunities to learn and grow. I went to conferences about entrepreneurship, signed up for courses, read books, joined retreats. I did it all. I even signed up for a life changing trip to Greece where I connected with seven other female digital nomads and soaked it all up. I met some of the most fierce and courageous women that taught me that I could live a life of passion and fulfillment. And that I could share this with the world and inspire others to do the same. So when I got home, I knew that I was going to make this happen as soon as possible.

Empowering Eco-Conscious, Self-Care

I knew I wanted to start a business in self-care because I learned first-hand the importance of taking care of our minds and bodies before our bodies start to show us signs. I wanted to help empower other women to take care of themselves and to be the best versions of themselves. It was also at this point that I had travelled quite significantly and realized the impact this was having on the environment and how my consumption habits in general were impacting our planet. I started taking baby steps to be a more conscious consumer (but, to be honest, and I'm still learning every single day)!

With any new shift in behavior, I truly believe that we need to take small steps in order to make them stick. I started thinking about my own beauty habits and how I was using a lot of disposable cottons pads to take my makeup off and I was using makeup wipes when I traveled. I started looking for a less wasteful alternative and found some on the market that weren't effective or low quality. I realized that this was also a waste because I was continuously buying new products only to find that most weren't very effective.

Enter: Tayvada Reusable Makeup Remover Pads - our first product was born. I decided to create a product that was earth friendly, durable, effective and functional.


Origins of The Brand Name


As I was thinking about the brand name, we came up with a few ideas that would fit this idea of high quality, eco-conscious, self-care products. None of them felt right but we ultimately came to a name and started designing our logo. About a week or so later, it was Cambodian New Year and my Aunt had posted on social media. In her caption, she mentioned "Tayvada". I had forgotten what that meant in the Cambodian language but asked my mom who told me it was "Angel".
The post read -
"May the New Year bring each and everyone love, luck and happiness along with good health, wealth and be blessed abundantly by the new Tayvada. Wishing every day of the New Year to be filled with success and prosperity. Remember kind people are the best kind of people".


It was in that moment, I knew immediately that it would be our new brand name. This was the beginning of this beautiful, new journey.

A Moment of Reflection

Looking back, I am humbled by all that Tayvada has accomplished this past year. I am humbled by the overwhelming support from others who are discovering the same passion and calling. And as I continue on this path of discovery, I think of my younger self - that seven year old girl with big dreams walking down the aisles of her great aunt’s grocery store, and the life she imagined she would create.


I realized for the first time ever, the value of the quote:
“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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