We had the good fortune of connecting with Grace Cheng and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Grace, are you self-funded or investor funded? If you could start over, would you make the same choice?
Mylk Labs is 100% self-funded. I was scouted to become a model when I was 17 years old and have been stashing away my earnings for that special future project. Ever since I was young, I always knew I wanted to start my own company. The only thing I didn’t know was the who, what, when, where, why. I guess the saying “when you know, you know” is true! Throughout college, I had invested some money into an intelligence portfolio and it grew a good amount over 3 years. Now, I am working with a broker to lend my extra cash for hard money loans. This is something my family did for years so when I finally had enough to lend, I also wanted to join in on it! In a nutshell, hard money loans are short term (6-mo average) and have high-interest rates (9-12%). Currently, I am still working as a model while running Mylk Labs full time. Modeling has become part-time for me now, but it still helps to fund/grow the company! If I had to go back, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. For some companies, raising capital, angel investors and/or VC funding is the way to go. I’m kind of selfish and like full autonomy of things and things are working out well!
What should our readers know about your business?
Mylk Labs is an LA-based health food company that makes vegan, gluten-free oatmeal cups. Our values are flavor, nutrition and convenience and hope to serve our community so that no one has to sacrifice one of the 3 values while living a busy, on-the-go lifestyle. Getting to where we are today took a lot of long workdays, persistence, and most importantly, passion for what we share. Nothing is easy, but the challenge is what’s fun and rewarding. To learn a little more about the brand: https://www.mylklabs.com/pages/our-story To read our founder’s story: https://www.mylklabs.com/pages/a-word-from-our-founder
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love supporting local businesses and LA is the place to be for cute hang out spots! I’d most likely visit one of the many cool coffee shops like Demitasse, Cognoscenti, or The Palm Coffee Bar (there are so many more amazing cafes but these are the ones that popped into my head first). BONUS, they all carry Mylk Labs oatmeal. 🙂 Next, we’d probably go to brunch at somewhere delicious like Cafe Gratitude (vegan eats) or Sqirl (amazing toast). Will definitely need to walk off the food so a little sightseeing or head to the beach then finish the date with some ice cream from Salt & Straw!! Can you tell I’m a total foodie?
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My dad! I would not have gotten to where I am today without his guidance, help and support throughout the 2 years Mylk Labs has been alive. At first, I asked him things like shipping advice and how to price my products right. Now, we oftentimes vent to one another about work problems or tell stories. It’s fun to see that as I grew up, he became one of my best friends that I can talk to about anything! Right now, we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and I’m so impressed that he restructured his business to produce face masks for our community. He owns/operates a clothing manufacturing company out of Los Angeles (this year is his 33rd anniversary). He’s been in charge of production/sales to his own clients while I spearheaded the donation/giving back initiative of this project. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together!