Meet Tu-Hien Le
Tell us a Little about yourself, your family and your business.
My name is Tu-Hien Le, Founder, and CEO of BeauGen. My husband Chris Chang is the Co-Founder and COO of BeauGen. We are a husband and wife team that created a soft and stretchy breast pump nipple cushion that moms can use while they pump. The nipple cushions are designed to add more comfort during each pumping session so moms can reach their breastfeeding goals. My daughter was the inspiration for everything I did. I wanted to show that you should never let fear keep you from stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. So that is exactly what I did. I experienced a lot of pain from being an exclusive pumper so I wanted to bring something to the market that could help moms from experiencing the same. My husband and I both left our full-time jobs to focus on our startup and bring the best solution to pumping moms. We've dedicated the past 1.5 years to helping pumping moms provide breast milk for their babies and hope have made a positive impact on their breastfeeding journey.
What did you do before starting Beaugen LLC?
Before starting BeauGen, I was working full-time in finance in the banking industry in Hong Kong. We were living the exciting jet-setting life of working hard and playing hard, traveling to exotic cities and countries like Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, etc. in Asia and Australia every few weeks. We explored different cultures and met many amazing friends along the way. Eventually, my husband and I decided to move back to New York City because we wanted to think about starting our family. I made the decision not to go back to work full-time after we moved back to the states because I got pregnant and wanted to enjoy and focus on my pregnancy and baby.
How did you come up with your company name and why?
BeauGen is an ode to my husband's grandmother and part of the inspiration behind the company.
What inspired you to start your own business and how did you start it?
Since nursing did not work out for me as I had planned, I made the choice to exclusively pump. This in itself brought another set of challenges to overcome. I remember times where I would be crying from my sore, cracked, and swollen nipples wanting to quit. However what kept me going was the deep unwavering love mothers have for their babies. I knew I was not the only woman who felt this discomfort from pumping so I wanted to help other moms have a better pumping experience too. So with the help of my husband, we prototyped over 40 version of nipple cushions and tested them with a small group of 60 pumping moms. We collected all their feedback to eventually come up with the best solution that is now our breast pump nipple cushions for pumping moms. We launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in November 2015 to raise funds and build out our product. After we successfully funded our project, we worked around the close to delivering our breast pump nipple cushions to our early supporters and are now continuing to spread the word on our product.
Is there a specific tool you use that makes managing a business easier?
Shopify for my online store, Shipstation to track shipments, UpTo calendar, Evernote to jot down thoughts and to-dos, Crisp as a chat function added to my website so customers can receive immediate support, PayPal to manage my transactions when working with bloggers and smaller marketing companies
What Were some of the learning curves of just starting out?
I had to go through many learnings. I implemented the lean startup method where I would deploy different solutions whether it was our prototype to marketing/advertising strategies, or sales techniques quickly so I could learn what worked and what did not. My mindset was always fail quickly so you can succeed quicker. In almost every aspect of my business, I used this strategy to hone in on what resonated best with my customers. Failing quickly helped me waste less time and money on unproductive activities and helped me focus my resources and efforts on what would help me convert and grow my business.
What's it like being a business owner and mom, how do you schedule both?
Being a business owner and mom is both challenging and rewarding. I admit I do have guilt whenever I am away from my daughter while going on sales trips or networking events. However, I have a very supportive husband that helps care for our daughter while I am away so I can focus on the task at hand. When I am with my daughter I do cherish the times even more. I know my family understands that I am out hustling to grow the business for the family and support all my efforts.
What has been your greatest lesson in business and motherhood?
The greatest lessons is that nobody has the "right" answer and that you must keep putting forth your best effort. The hard work, determination, and dedication will pay off both personally and professionally as long as you stay focused on your end goal.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and mothers?
Don't be scared to fail, but always learn and get right back up. Fail fast so you can succeed faster. As a mother, don't be too hard on yourself when things are not perfect. Don't compare yourself to other moms who seem to have their "shit" together when we really don't know what is going on behind the scenes. Every situation is different and we moms must keep supporting each other while we do what's right for our family and company.
What does a “normal” day in your home look like?
There is no normal day as a mom of a 2-year-old and entrepreneur. My daughter takes up most of my time during the day with play time, reading, singing, dancing, eating, and nap time. When I am lucky to get a few hours of quiet time, I am constantly working different sales channels and establishing new business connections. What I have learned from this venture is that you cannot do it alone. Finding partnerships and collaborations are a must for increasing brand awareness and building relationships within the industry.
Besides business and your family, do you have any hobbies you love to enjoy (when you have the time)?
I have been into martial arts since my late teen years. I practice kung fu for 8 years while living in New York City. When I moved to Hong Kong I picked up Muay Thai, boxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Now that my time for hobbies is so limited I exclusively train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where I compete in various tournaments as a blue belt. I am quite proud of my accomplishments and progress and want to continue improving my skills. Again I want to be an example for my daughter not to be afraid of challenging yourself no matter at what age. When you step outside your comfort zone is when you learn the most about yourself and grow as a person.
I can't start my day without coffee. What's that one thing you need every day to kickstart yourself?
I am a novice coffee drinker who only likes black coffee :-)
Who has been your greatest inspiration to you in your life and why?
My daughter and my husband are my daily inspiration. They inspire me to be a better person in everything I do and to never give up.
If you could travel anywhere or do anything in the world what would that be?
I have traveled extensively with my husband but now we want to take our daughter around the world with us. I would love to show her all the places we have been in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
If your children learn one thing from you what would you wish that to be?
Don't let fear keep you from trying. It's ok to fail at first as long as you learn from your mistakes and try again.