Wesley Kang and Tanya Zhang are the co-founders of Nimble Made, an e-commerce clothing brand that makes “actually slim” dress shirts.
Before taking the leap to work full-time on their business, they worked in the corporate world in New York City. As first-generation Asian-Americans, they had achieved “success” – good jobs, and good salaries. They were on their way. However, deep down both wanted something a little more. Some of Tanya’s challenges working as a freelance graphic designer on the side convinced them they should try to think a little deeper about building a brand and a business, instead of just helping other people.
Wesley never felt right in the corporate world and knew he had to make a change:
After 3 years of working there, I realized there wasn’t much more I could learn and I grew tired of the put-your-ass-in-a-chair-and-get-promoted-every-2-or-3-years environment. It felt like a constant race to see who could sit the longest. We weren’t particularly smart or had particularly unique skills, despite what people may think about banking and finance. I felt a strong desire for change that grew day by day.
Tanya always had that “entrepreneurial spirit” but never really thought it was a “valid” career path for her. While moving to a number of jobs early in her career she continued to find out that perhaps her path wasn’t the corporate world. “Yearning for a bit more and searching for something bigger”
As they found themselves thinking about the business all day at their full-time jobs and coming home ready to work on it, they realized they finally had to go all-in. Over the past year they have worked on the business and are starting to find some traction. As they’ve dealt with the challenges of running a business, they have also had to constantly reflect on how to manage a relationship both as committed partners and co-founders.
What we talked about:
- Expectations on them as Asian-Americans
- What “success” means in today’s world
- Taking the leap to entrepreneurship
- How they handle being in a relationship as well as co-founders
- How Tanya’s freelance work led them to think about starting a brand
- What convinced them to leave their corporate jobs
- How their lives are different now compared to working full-time
- The uncertainty and challenges of entrepreneurship
- Fostering a dog and reclaiming their “daytime”
- How they are thinking about building a life around their work
- How they created a new sizing system for their shirts
- How “average” sizing and approaches to live don’t work for anyone
Interested in their shirts? Check out more at Nimble Made. For their past reflections check out Wesley’s guest post on entrepreneurship and Tanya’s post on how her father inspired her to start the company.