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”.
My current company is TUSHY, the modern bidet brand for people who poop.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
There are so so many. Right now I would have to say:
“Things are always impossible right up until they’re not.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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