A Nepalese drawing reminds her to think about the impact her business has on the world.
3 min read
I am the daughter of a very successful Chinese businessman, and growing up I was taught that if you work hard, success will follow. So in 2008, at 24 years old, I founded a clothing company called Iconix China. It grew to include 12 brands with more than 1,000 stores.
I sold Iconix in 2015 and found myself at a crossroads. I wanted my own success to be defined by more than the success of the company I’d built, but I wasn’t sure what that might look like. I went in search of clarity and traveled to Nepal to explore, reflect, and connect with nature. My days were spent hiking, doing yoga, and meditating. One day, near a local temple, I stumbled upon a monk drawing a geometric design. I was captivated by its intricacy and symmetry, and the commotion of the touristy street fell away.
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The drawing was called a mandala. And it would help me find a new career path.
I learned that mandalas represent the harmony of the world and the interconnectedness of all things. I bought 10 of them, gave most away as gifts, and kept three for myself. Every time I’d look at them, their interlocking circles would make me think of living a better, more circular life — one that generates less waste and takes care of the planet we all share.
I soon got to thinking about my former career in fashion. The clothing industry is incredibly wasteful, and I knew there could be a better way. So in 2019, inspired by the mandala, I founded a carbon neutral women’s clothing brand called Everybody & Everyone. Everything we make uses sustainable components or recycled materials, as well as nontoxic dyes, and we created a take-back program aimed at creating a fully circular product.
Now I’m raising twin boys and running my business, and among the noise and bustle of our lives, my three mandalas remind me to find moments of calm, to nurture my ideas, and to find a clear path toward my goals. It helps me trust my gut when things get tough — and building a responsible company can certainly get tough. But I understand that my business decisions have a larger impact, and that good things are born from focus, dedication, and concentration.