We had the good fortune of connecting with Rafael Ning and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rafael, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My work-life balance is best described as an interleaving of long-term states of “flow,” frequent procrastination, occasional bouts of work, and periods of rest. By flow, I mean the term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to describe a mental state of concentration and intrinsic motivation while doing an activity—a state characterized by the feeling that time flies. Thus, I distinguish between the work in which I feel a state of flow and the work that I do only because I must, since that distinction is central to the ideal balance that I have consciously chosen to strive toward. As both a co-founder of FAYD and a computer science student at UCLA, my work-life balance certainly skews toward the work side. This has been the case even since middle school before I ever thought about the concept of work-life balance. But as much as I cherish the time I spend relaxing and recharging, I always prefer my long days and late nights of flow. Flow is when I start work on a pitch deck for my entrepreneurship class, and six hours pass by without me even standing up. Or flow is when all I think about and do for days is work on making FAYD’s website. It’s these states of flow while working that bring equilibrium to my work-life balance because, in these states of flow, I don’t feel like I’m working at all.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
FAYD aims to revolutionize beauty services booking by increasing financial accessibility for customers and by empowering stylists to maximize their potential. Our approach is set apart from the incremental improvements of other booking platforms because we seek real technological and business model change. With our upcoming app, you can use FAYD’s Freestyle Search to share your style and discover new styles of other users through a personalized Tinder-like experience. That way, it’s easier to find those special stylists that made those styles happen and who will be partners in your community, fashion, and self care. And once you find those stylists, you’ll be sure to find the price that works for you, because all stylists on FAYD have dynamically priced appointments. That means that when a stylist is less busy, you can get a great price reduction, and stylists will get more of your business more often—it’s a win-win! Arriving at this current version of FAYD has been an exciting journey of pivots. In fact, the idea of FAYD started as our wish to bring mobile salons, haircut Sprinter vans, to university campuses. After cycles of validating, pitching, and ideating, we learned to seek out failure and to fail fast. In our latest iteration, we are excited to have recently launched our pilot test in Atlanta, Georgia. As we have seen so closely while reaching out and connecting to many stylists and businesses, the pandemic has been a detriment to the livelihoods of these individuals. Frankly, the sorrow that we feel as we hear their stories cannot compare to the grief that these independent stylists feel as their hard-earned livelihoods are quickly lost. And on a lighter note, we cannot stand idly by as hairstyles go rogue during the pandemic, mine included. That’s why, even as we work to develop our app to release on a large scale, including here in LA, we have committed ourselves to prioritizing the community we are a part of in Atlanta by raising awareness, reach, and bookings for our partner stylists, while at an accessible price and with a safe experience for our customers.

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.
I’ll start with some of my favorite places to eat. Being at UCLA, Sawtelle is like heaven, with spicy ramen at Killer Noodle just a ten-minute drive away. Further south, Old Torrance is great for low-key, high-quality Japanese food. And on nights out in Ktown, I always end up at BCD Tofu House to wind down with friends. Even I can’t spend all my time eating, so I’d take my friend to some cool spots in LA. Down in San Pedro, the Korean Friendship Bell is nice part of history and offers great views of LA in all its seaside and industrialized beauty. I also love to spend hours hanging out on the rocks at RAT Beach. Of course, I would be obliged to give a tour of UCLA, too, from getting lost deep in the halls of Boelter where the engineers toil away, to exploring the sculpture garden for a refreshing bit of culture. The best part of the week, though, would be going on drives! Taking Palos Verdes Drive East down toward the coast gives such great views of the ocean, and going on a spirited ride east on Mulholland Drive from Malibu is a great way to end the week overlooking LA.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To choose just one of many people that have had a formative influence on who I am, I would like to recognize my close friend Mark Wang. I first met Mark in high school, where we became friends through loitering around boba shops, being stuck together for three weeks straight on our school’s outdoor backpacking trip, and being bad at golf together. Well, he’s pretty good, but I’m bad enough for the both of us. Although he left for Atlanta to study business at Emory University, we always reconnect during breaks over boba and now coffee, and we often find ourselves fantasizing about business ideas as we continue growing our passion for entrepreneurship together. Every time I speak with Mark, I feel that my perspective has been both widened and strengthened—we are always each other’s most ardent critics and most avid supporters. Mark truly brings out the best in me, and I have the utmost confidence that he will continue to do so as one of my three fellow co-founders of FAYD.

Website: https://www.fayd.app

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fayd_app

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@faydapp

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/fayd_app

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faydapp

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/fayd

Twitter: https://twitter.com/faydapp

Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rafaelning

Image Credits
Seth Krieger

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