Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m originally from Beijing and came to the United States by myself for the first time at the age of 14 for boarding school in Connecticut. I just graduated cum laude from Boston University Questrom School of Business in 2017 where I majored in finance. I currently live in SoHo, New York but always travel around Asia, America, and Europe. Right now, I work full time for a home products and interior design company while developing Spirit Spritz on the side. I worked on the concept for a few months before officially launching it in early February 2018.
What exactly is Spirit Spritz?
Spirit Spritz is an online platform that features interviews (all conducted by me in person or via Skype) with global entrepreneurs in the creative industry on how they build their business. All the interviews are broken down into different business topics and focus on how they take their first steps. Through Spirit Spritz, I aim to empower and provide actual helpful resources to aspiring creative entrepreneurs.
The set up and the content of Spirit Spritz is what makes it so different from so many other entrepreneurship-related websites out there.
What inspired you to start Spirit Spritz?
I knew I wanted to start my own company at some point but didn’t have a concrete business idea. I have always been interested in the creative space and had background in fashion, art, media, etc., so I knew I would do something in these fields. While trying to brainstorm what company I wanted to start and how I could start it, I became really frustrated by existing resources. The online media is not particularly useful either, especially since I have to spent a lot of time filtering the over-saturated information. For example, if I want to learn how someone started a fashion company but is not a designer, most of the profiles are on industry-related publications such as Vogue and focus primarily on the products and brand. At the same time, websites such as Entrepreneur.com do provide a lot of articles, but most of them is tailored towards tech entrepreneurs, and I have to spend a lot of time filtering the over-saturated information, such as “15 traits of an entrepreneur,” which is not truly useful. Nowadays too much what we see out there paints a picture of someone pitching an idea to investors, getting funding and guidance from them, and hoping to become the next Uber and AirBnB. As someone in the creative industry, I know so many entrepreneurs under the spotlight who have amazing companies and really just started with their savings and figured out the process step by step. I also love networking and learning from people’s stories. Even way before Spirit Spritz was born, I would email people in successful positions and ask for their career path and advice. I was thinking: this is a something I genuinely want to know more, and I’m already a networking veteran, so why not formally interview them and share their stories with other people who need this information but don’t have access?
How did you come up with the name?
I dedicated a day at home and gave myself a deadline to come up with a name that day. At first I was thinking a name that could reflect what I do. Some of the names I thought of at first are “Diagonal” or “Radius” since my website essentially takes people from one point to another in an expedited way, but these names are already taken by different types of companies. Eventually, I decided to try a different angle that’s completely unrelated to what my website is, which allows me to expand my offerings in the future as well. I wanted a fun and positive name and randomly started thinking about what food I like. I immediately thought about (Aperol) Spritz because it is my favorite drink, and Spirit Spritz came about 5 seconds later. I like how spirit and Spritz have similar spellings, and spirit can be the entrepreneurial spirit. It just feels very uplifting and rolls out easily. Then the logo and the orange theme came about immediately after that. I just loved it so much and was so happy and bought the domain on that day.
How do you secure your interviews with high profile names?
I started with people already in my network. For example, I worked for Alexandra Senes, founder of Kilometre. Paris, and Oliver Mak, co-founder of Bodega, so I knew they would say yes. Then I attended conferences and events featuring entrepreneurs as speakers, and I just introduced myself afterwards and asked if they were interested. It’s easier to make an impression in person and harder for people to say no to your face compared to emails. Once I had a few confirmed high profile names, I started cold emailing people and including these names in the emails. Having a good concept and being able to articulate that well is the foundation. There isn’t another platform like Spirit Spritz, and as creative entrepreneurs themselves, they know exactly the problems I am facing and want to support my mission. But besides that, knowing how to write a good email is so important! I made sure to start by stating exactly what I want from the person, followed by a short paragraph of what Spirit Spritz is, and conclude with a meeting proposal with a specific time. Nobody has time to read a huge block of texts from an unknown brand, so I need to have a concise structure and clear agenda. If someone doesn’t reply, follow up. I keep track of everything on a spreadsheet.
What is your favorite part about running Spirit Spritz?
I get to meet so many amazing people and always learn something new! Everyone I interviewed has been incredibly supportive, and a lot of people have been telling me how glad I started this and how helpful they found the website is. This is exactly what pushed me to keep going when I felt stressed. The whole process is a huge learning curve for me as well. For example, I never used Photoshop or Illustrator before, and I watched online videos and taught myself the skills, since I had to edit a lot of images and create graphic assets. I also experienced different advertising models such as Facebook Ads and Google Adwords and learned different analytics tools.
What is your least favorite part about running Spirit Spritz?
It’s so hard to do everything on my own, and sometimes it’s definitely frustrating when I didn’t see results right away and didn’t know what I should do. But I guess that’s part of the process right?
What is on the rise for Spirit Spritz?
I have so many exciting plans in the work that I can’t wait to introduce them. First, there will be events such as panel discussions and workshops. I’m also looking to do a few brand partnerships and provide consulting services. Eventually I want Spirit Spritz to become THE platform for people in the creative industry and build a strong community around it.
How do you spread the word about your company?
At first it was through promoting it on my own social media and spreading the words among friends. The people I interviewed also tell their circles and share on their social media as well, which helped drive traffic to their interviews. I also just talk to everyone about it anywhere I go. You meet people all the time whether it’s at a social setting with your friends and friends of friends or at a coffee where you can engage in a conversation with a stranger sitting next to you.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Don’t be scared and discouraged because of you age or experience. Believe in what you are doing, and that confidence would come across as assertive and convincing. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people just because they appear to be more successful. Nobody knows everything, not even the CEOs of big conglomerates. You always have something to offer, and it’s a two-way street too: people learn from you as much as you learn from them.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I always welcome feedback and love to connect with more people. Please feel free to email/DM me anytime! It would also mean the world to me if you could sign up for the email newsletter and follow Spirit Spritz on social media to stay updated on upcoming interviews and events.
Instagram: @spiritspritz Instagram.com/spiritspritz
Twitter: @spiritspritz Twitter.com/spiritspritz