Tell us about yourself (where are you from, hobbies, etc)
I’m not the typical founder/CEO that one would expect behind the brand, Dirty Pop Cards. Hi everyone, I’m Thao, I’m a first generation Vietnamese American, born and raised in Arizona. I received my Bachelor’s in accounting at the Arizona State University, but none of my jobs have been in my field of study, ha, that’s no surprise! I’ve only had 1 real job in my life where I worked for someone (JCPenney) and I have now started 3 businesses in 3 different fields, business, retail, and e-commerce. In my spare time, I love to spend time with my fiancé and our 2 fur babies (May & Butters), whether it’s at home or out exploring the outdoors together.
What was your inspiration behind Dirty Pop Cards?
My husband and I started our 1st greeting card company 4 years ago, Heartspace Cards. It is 100% wholesome and our company’s motto was to, “Be the reason someone smiles today!” 2020 was unexpected as a vicious virus seeped its way into our world and turned everything gray. We even noticed our small circle of friends and family arguing over silly things. Light blub moment! Why not help bring people together through laughter. And that’s how Dirty Pop Cards was born, “Be the reason someone laughs today!” Not our company motto, but that’s the true inspiration behind the brand.
How did your family and friends react when you told them your idea?
It depends. My family has been extremely supportive, even more so than I expected. My parents even gifted our most raunchy design to their friends. While the support from my family has been positive, my friends are in between. While some of them love the idea, a few others have blocked me on social media. My takeaway, don’t change yourself to win someone over, stay true and you’ll find people that like you for being you and those are your true fans.
What makes you unique?
I’m unique because I’m myself! This wasn’t always the case for me, but as I’ve matured, I learned that being myself makes life easy.
What would you like to be known for?
Helping people is my true passion, whether it’s helping people create special moments through our greeting cards or volunteering to help those in need. I want to be known for always giving and thinking of others.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about helping others. My fiancé and I have a goal to one day start our own nonprofit.
What obstacles have you had to overcome and how did you overcome them?
Before I started Dirty Pop Cards, I thought leaving my partnership of 12 years was my biggest hurdle. How can I leave something so comfortable and stable for an idea I had. Dirty Pop Cards is now 7 months old and I can tell you, new obstacles will arise, and they will be more difficult than the last. What I’ve discovered is to not get comfortable and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The only thing that’s constant is change, embrace it!
How did you get to where you are now?
You can’t become who you want to be because you’re too attached to who you’ve been. I don’t remember where I got this from, but it definitely stood out to me. My fear of leaving a comfortable job, my fear of change, my fear in failure if I went on my own, these were all thoughts that were holding me back. In hindsight, these aren’t even hurdles, what goes through my mind now is, what took me so long? Why was I so afraid? So, I got to where I am today by not letting fear get in the way of doing something I’m truly passionate about.
I’m also very lucky to have the support from my family and friends. My parents are my mentors in business and in life. It’s reassuring to have someone that is always willing to listen and give honest feedback.
What would you tell someone who wants to start their own business but are afraid or don’t know where to start?
Don’t let your fears or the unknown scare you from starting something new. The feeling of being afraid is normal! If you’re not afraid to try something new, you are an anomaly. Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to share your ideas to others. You’ll be surprise by how much knowledge is around you, just waiting to be learned.