✨ Nadya Okamoto is the co-founder and CEO of August, a lifestyle brand working to reimagine periods. The company, which has received $1.95M in seed funding since 2020, sells biodegradable and tax-free feminine hygiene products. Alongside her roles as the former Chief Brand Officer of JUV Consulting, a published author (Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement), podcast host (Tigress), organizer, Adidas model, and youngest Asian-American to run for public office (19!), Okamoto has also been recognized by Forbes 30 and 30, The Bloomberg 50 “Ones to Watch” and People Magazine’s Women Changing the World. Nadya graduated from Harvard in 2021 with a degree in sociology.
In this week’s issue, Nadya Okamoto shares with us her views on prioritization, motivation, identity, and being an entrepreneur:
☀️ Day in the life: Lots of Zoom meetings and TikToks! I usually wake up around 8:30am to get ready. I also like to get some activity in my day, whether that’s going to Solidcore classes or taking a yoga break.
📆 Prioritizing time: I didn’t have the typical college life of lots of socializing and studying abroad opportunities. Work always came first — and I have the privilege of being able to prioritize my entrepreneurial passion. That means I had to accept not really having a college social life. I had to quit a lot of the clubs that I just didn’t have time for.
🎯 Staying motivated: Sometimes I get discouraged because chipping away at the period stigma is a long and slow process. The one thing that motivates me is seeing firsthand the impact that August has made. I receive thousands of comments on my social media telling us how we’ve changed their perspective on periods or the way they approach their period care. I believe in what I do, and I’m inspired by the opportunities to work with incredible people who push me to think bolder and hold me accountable to the intentions of what we are building.
📣 How did you build August’s brand and community? Everything about August was really shaped by our community, a group of passionate, bold, and curious young people whose identities are reflected in our branding. Gender inclusivity is also a huge component. Our community has become a space where we can talk about anything, and so politics and how we can reimagine periods are very common topics that our members discuss.
📈 How do you reach the Gen Z market? Harnessing the power of virality and social media. I post a lot of content daily on TikTok because there’s been such a high conversion on our sales. (Nadya has scaled her TikTok to 2.9M followers in <1 year)
👩🏻 On cultural/racial identity and personal success: Growing up, I felt a strong cultural disconnect due to the discrimination and bullying I experienced in school for being Asian. Even though I was rather disconnected from my grandparents who immigrated from Japan and China, it was very clear that periods and mental health are taboo topics in Asian culture. I get a lot of pushback online about posting periods and period blood, and a lot of it is actually from followers who are also Asian-American.
There’s also an added layer of people stereotyping me as an Asian woman — for being quiet and submissive. I’m not that at all, and I even take it to the extreme when posting my period blood publicly and talking openly about trauma. But I think that’s the responsibility I have, as an AAPI person with a platform. I want to encourage the AAPI and other marginalized communities to talk about their experiences and take action on matters they are passionate about.
❗️ Best piece of advice? Take the risk, and don’t get discouraged when things don’t work. At the same time, make sure to keep finding time for yourself to check in about your boundaries and aspirations.
tl;dr Don’t be afraid to take risks, make sacrifices, and be fearlessly bold. A brand is more than a product: who is your community? What is your impact?
Shop August here: itsaugust.co/
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