We had the good fortune of connecting with Frances Tang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Frances, how do you think about risk?
I spent a lot of time getting advice and it slowed me down! I was also hesitant to take risks prior to validation. At a certain point, I had invested so much that it was time to just jump!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What sets Awkward Essentials apart is that we aren’t afraid to bring to light issues many are too embarrassed to talk about. We are totally candid, unashamed and empowering, which I am extremely proud of. While it wasn’t something easy to do, being authentically me and bringing that authenticism to my brand has been so rewarding. Once I pushed the haters aside and focused on my personal journey, I realized that my ideas were valuable and I knew many people could benefit from them. I want the world to know that no matter what other people may think, especially in the beginning, if you’re passionate about something — go for it! I could have easily let the initial skepticism surrounding Awkward Essentials take me down, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if that had been the case.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First we’d visit El Toro Bravo for a styrofoam plateful of nachos for breakfast that we’ll eat on the beach — might pick up Sidecar donuts because breakfast must always have salty and sweet. Then, we’d hit up Los Reyes de Elote for bomb ass street corn while we walk around downtown Santa Ana, grab a paleta, and check out the barcade. We could stop by The Camp to see the ultimate hipster lifestyle in action and to have an affogato at Vitaly. In the evening, I’d recommend we drop by The Blind Rabbit in Anaheim Packing House for a cocktail and to do some serious people watching. We’d have to find a way to stop by Bear Flag for the best poke in town before checking out Balboa Island in Newport Beach. In an alternate universe, I’d say we could drop by Disneyland, but fortunately, Downtown Disney is free and has lots of fun shenanigans to get into.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This might surprise some people because of the products I sell, but my dad has been one of my biggest supporters. A founder himself (in a totally different industry), my dad has been a source of mentorship and advice — and occasionally a push when I need it.
Almost a decade ago, I’d been planning my first business — a pop-up date night event — for a few months. I told my dad about my plans, and I distinctly remember him interrupting me and telling me I was all talk. My heart dropped as I tried to explain why I needed to continue planning, but deep down I knew he was right. I was scared to actually start. After that night, I made the decision to truly act and only pay attention to things that would move me forward. Within a month, the event happened. Ever since then, I’ve made a more conscious effort to execute before I feel ready because, like many founders, I could plan forever.
In addition to my dad, my friends and even strangers have motivated me through their support for my ideas, encouragement and kind words.