Miki Agrawal Highlights The Importance Of Authenticity in Business by@mikiagrawal

Miki Agrawal Highlights The Importance Of Authenticity in Business

Miki Agrawal is a social entrepreneur and the founder of several companies. Her newest venture, TUSHY, is an innovative bidet brand that aims to elevate the antiquated bathroom hygiene realm. She was named ‘Fast Company’s Most Creative People’, “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum and INC’s “Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs”. She is also the best-selling author of “[Do Cool Sh\*t” and “Disrupt-Her”
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Miki Agrawal

Miki Agrawal is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and the Founder/CEO of various innovative companies.

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Miki Agrawal Highlights The Importance Of Authenticity in Business

Miki Agrawal is a social entrepreneur and the founder of several companies. Her newest venture, TUSHY, is an innovative bidet brand that aims to elevate the antiquated bathroom hygiene realm. Often recognized as an industry disruptor, Miki Agrawal brings fresh perspectives and solutions to modern problems, often in what are still considered “taboo” industries.

In addition to spearheading industry-disrupting businesses, Miki Agrawal is also the best-selling author of “Do Cool Sh*t” and “Disrupt-Her”. Agrawal has earned various professional accolades throughout her fifteen-year entrepreneurial journey, and was named “Fast Company’s Most Creative People”, “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum and INC’s “Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs”.

What is TUSHY all about?

My current company is TUSHY, the modern bidet brand for people who poop.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?

I’ve been obsessed with bidets since I was very young. I’m half Japanese, half Indian-and bidets are normal in both of those cultures. I never really thought about owning one when I was younger because they were so expensive! I was also renting different apartments in New York City, so it was just never an option for me. But in 2014, I developed an intense hyperthyroid condition and one of the effects was pooping (a lot!). It was so painful to go to the bathroom and to use toilet paper each time. My skin was raw! I had to jump in the shower every time to ease the pain. My boyfriend at the time (now husband) found a bidet from Asia that completely changed my life and I made a vow to bring it to America. I wanted to make the best-in-class, sleek, modern bidet and, of course, make it relevant to American culture.

What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and why?

  • Questioning things: Questioning the way things are done has been ingrained in me since I was a kid. The questioning philosophy showed up in my entrepreneurial career as I looked to enter categories that have been “set for a long time” with little to no innovation, like the period and poop spaces. I recognized that these categories were “taboo”, and since nobody was talking about these topics out loud, nobody was innovating in them, either. Yet, every single being poops and every female has a period! That was a big ah-ha moment for me because I knew that I could harness creativity and innovation and disrupt tired old categories that sorely needed elevating.
  • Taking risks: At TUSHY, we are taking bigger creative risks as our company grows and that feels really good. Most companies become less and less creative as they grow, because they have more to lose so keep things more even (aka boring), or they stagnate and get stuck in a vibe. Our team has the opposite philosophy. The bigger we get, the bigger the splash of weirdness we can make and the more we “go where we/people/brands haven’t gone before”.
  • Surrounding yourself with the right people: Each of us has our own unique zone of genius. I’m lit up when I get to be creative and ideate new directions for my brands, but I’m not always the person who wants to get caught up in operations. That’s the reason why one of the first things I did with TUSHY was hired my CFO and CEO, who perfectly balanced out my creativity with their understanding of the technical.

What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?

TUSHY’s big-picture goal is really to become the household bidet brand in America. Most companies, as they grow bigger, start to lose the creative spark that made them big in the first place. They feel like they have to play it safe in order to keep their customers. My big goal for TUSHY is that the bigger we get, the more creative we’re going to get. We’re going to continue talking to customers with accessible, relatable language and using humor to break down barriers. We’re going to continue creating wild, exciting, and beautiful creative campaigns. We know that’s what defines our brand and what attracts people to us.

How have the pandemic and Lockdown affected you or your new business?

The pandemic has been such an interesting time for us! When COVID first began, our sales actually skyrocketed because of the toilet paper shortage. At the same time, our team was also adjusting to working remotely and operating with new technologies across many different time zones. But, they truly crushed that adjustment, and I feel so fortunate that every single one of our employees is like a Swiss Army knife, capable of adapting and performing so many different functions in our business all at once. The pandemic really showed us that no matter what gets thrown our way, we’re able to adapt and make it work for us.

How do you separate yourself from your competitors?

We do our best to keep away from just being a “toilet” brand. I think our creativity and innovation is the thing that really sets us apart. Our humor, our ridiculous marketing campaigns, and our beautiful artwork are what draw people to us.

What were the top three mistakes you made starting your business, and what did you learn from them?

  • Not wanting to look “bad” or make a fool of myself. I had to learn and accept that it’s impossible not to sometimes, and that’s okay. When I was 22, I was working in investment banking, hating my job, and then 9/11 happened. It was my wake-up call and I wrote down what I wanted to do with my life if I died tomorrow. Playing professional soccer was one of them. I found out that the NY Magic was holding tryouts and I said screw it, I was going to try even if I made a fool out of myself. So I snuck out of my job twice a week, got to Brooklyn for the tryouts, and would go and try out against over a hundred Division 1 soccer players. I felt like an imposter as a banker and also as a wannabe player, but I went for it anyway and did the thing even though I thought I looked stupid.
  • Being too harsh on myself. After going through so many wild times in my businesses and life over the years, trusting and being kind to myself has become paramount. Taking the time to trust myself and listen intently to my inner knowing has become the most important work in my life. I took 2 months right before COVID and it was the first time in my whole adult life that I finally listened to my body’s needs. Now, I check in with myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m human and there are going to be times when I am tempted to take on more than I can handle, but those moments of recalibration are so important to reset.
  • Realizing that I don’t need to take on everything to be successful. This is probably the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in my entrepreneurial career. When I first started WILD, I spent 7 years, 7 days a week, working 16-18 hour days, struggling to keep everything afloat and do everything myself. I finally came across the right operating partner and after bringing him on, our numbers tripled in a month. Go figure. Surrounding myself with people who have their own zones of genius frees up my time and helps everything run more smoothly.

Tell us a little bit about your marketing process, what has been the most successful form of marketing for you?

There are two huge things that we always implement in our marketing. First is accessible, relatable language. People don’t want to be marketed to. They want to feel like they’re engaging with the content they actually enjoy. Making all your copy sound like you’re talking to your best friend is the best way to do this. Break down barriers and use language that your customer would use in their everyday life.

Second, make sure your visual design is always on point. Be it font size, spacing, etc., it matters! Those things matter. My challenge to my team is to ask for every design that they make, is it fridge-worthy? AKA is this piece of art so beautiful that someone would want to put it on their fridge? If someone else would want to display it in their home, then you know you’ve done your job.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

One of my biggest challenges has been coming to terms with the bumps in the road that have come up while creating my businesses. But, I recognize now that each and every painful and difficult experience I have encountered is just one more beautiful teaching moment in life. One of the biggest misconceptions about finding joy and happiness is that in order to find them you have to remove sorrow from your life. I actually think it’s quite the opposite. Only in experiencing suffering do we truly know joy. As Khalil Gibran puts it: joy and sorrow “are inseparable”.

What was your first business idea and what did you do with it?

One of my very first business ideas was Wild, New York City’s first farm-to-table gluten-free pizza concept, which I started back in 2005. At the time, I realized that all of the food I was consuming was making me feel horrible. I wasn’t fueling my body with the nutrients it needed. People don’t tend to think of pizza as healthy food, but it has all of the major food groups that your body needs to function. When done properly and with the best, most organic ingredients, it’s actually one of the most amazing foods you can put into your body.

What are you learning now? Why is that important?

I’m learning how to be more vulnerable. Last year, I attended the Hoffman Institute and one of the teachers said that when people are asked “how are you?” and the response is “good” or “fine”, those are “fast food words” which don’t create a vulnerable opening for what is true and real. In turn, this loses all power in connecting deeper and getting to a more profound understanding of the self and others. Avoidance in all forms does the same. The more vulnerable we are, the more powerful we actually are because we are in full authentic truth. That authenticity has the power to not only transform our personal lives but how we operate in our business and creative mindsets as well.

If you started your business again, what things would you do differently?

I really wouldn’t change a thing about any part of my journey. Each bump in the road is a learning opportunity and has helped me grow and reach the point that I’m at today.

What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?

There are truly so many amazing tools that exist right now, but I am especially loving Figma. It has completely transformed our design process. We used to operate strictly out of Photoshop and Dropbox, but Figma opens up the design process to make it collaborative. Now our marketers and designers can be working on projects simultaneously and that has been a game-changer.

Outside of Figma, we also use Monday and Slack, which are both absolutely necessary for quick communication and organization.

What’s a productivity tip you swear by?

Figure out how you access your flow state. Constantly focusing on the need to be great makes it difficult to actually achieve that greatness. The way I enter my flow state is through meditation, morning pages, moving my body, sitting in nature, or doing routine things where I can be fully away from any social media like showering or driving or biking, or outdoorsy things like kayaking/paddleboarding/hiking. I come up with most of my best ideas in these ways. Find what habits get you into your personal flow state!

Can you recommend one book, one podcast, and one online course for entrepreneurs?

I really love The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It has a workbook that has completely expanded my creativity and helped me access my flow state.

If you only had $1000 dollars to start a new business, knowing everything you know now, how would you spend it?

Start with purchasing your domain name and website and locking down your business name on every social platform. Your brand is one of the most important aspects of your new business. If you have some funds left over, you can also get a designer to help out with your brand guide or designing your pitch decks. All of these things will form the building blocks of your future marketing campaigns. It’s also likely the first impression people will have when they encounter your new business.

What helps you stay driven and motivated to keep going in your business?

All of my companies excite me! Before I start a new business I always check in with myself and ask if the topic is something that I know I can live and breathe for years on end. If the answer is yes, then I know I can stay driven and motivated, even when things are trying.

What is your favorite quote?

There are so so many. Right now I would have to say:

“Things are always impossible right up until they’re not.”

Quincy Jones

What valuable advice would you give new entrepreneurs starting out?

Do it. Do whatever has been on your mind. Do what you feel excited and passionate and lit up about. So many people get stuck in the planning/talking about it phase. Don’t worry about things being messy or making mistakes. Just start.

Who should we interview next and why?

My amazing identical twin sister Radha! She’s spreading so much joy and love through her company, Daybreaker. She knows how to build meaningful communities and inspire genuine human connection.

What is your definition of success?

To me, success is all about finding our LIT path, or the thing that we’re so passionate and excited about, and following it. It sounds cliché at this point, but doing what you love is truly the only thing that matters.

How do you personally overcome fear?

When I think of fearlessness, I don’t think of the absence of fear, but rather taking action in the face of fear. Sometimes we just need to turn off the part of our brain that likes to ask all of the scary “what ifs” and just walk headfirst into something, learning along the way.

How can readers get in touch with you?

You can contact me through my website mikiagrawal.com or visit any of my social media profiles. I’m @mikiagrawal on Instagram!

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by Miki Agrawal @mikiagrawal.Miki Agrawal is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and the Founder/CEO of various innovative companies.

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