To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re spotlighting AAPI-owned brands on Abound and using our platform to share their stories in their own words.
Meet Miho Watanabe of Vana Tisanes—organic herbal leaves, roots, flowers and berries hand blended together in small batch tisanes to enhance your natural abilities. Learn more about Miho’s story below, and browse Vana Tisanes on Abound. 🚀
“I’m not into the spotlight, in fact, I prefer to stay behind the scenes. I’m often found creating, crafting, and working on my business with my incredible partner and cherished team.
Even with the explosive events of the pandemic, and the movement to recognize the inequity of Black lives and people of color, as an Asian American from a generation of millennials, it was still important to me to stay quiet behind the scenes. By listening, I’ve been learning about biases and systematic oppression throughout history and how it’s all led to the current state of our establishment and American culture.
I’m still learning so much as the world continues to rumble, but lately as I watch the rise of violence against people who look like me, as well as have my own family receive hate letter last year, I’ve never felt more compelled to creep out of my cave, say Breonna Taylor’s name, and direct my voice to the young women of AAPI and BIPOC descent who are just starting to establish themselves and their careers in this current socio economic climate.
To these young women, I’d say, even when it seems like the world is against you, or you feel like you don’t belong, do your best to surround yourself with people who truly respect you and care about you and stop wasting your precious energy on people who don’t. Seeing your self worth is hard to do alone sometimes, and when you are unable, it can be difficult to focus and accomplish things. When you have someone who really sees you, beyond your skin color, physical body, or demeanor, your defenses begin to soften and you can then be more honest with where you are right now, and reflect on what you really want to do and commit to in this life. When that happens, self-love, acceptance and growth becomes more possible.
It’s taken me many years of struggling with my identity but now at the age of 33, as a business owner of 4 years, I am so grateful for the wonderful, loving and kind people in my life who never judged me for what I looked like or where my family came from. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’m saying this out loud, which is both sad but heartfelt, that even with all my struggles, I’m so proud and honored to be a woman of Japanese Asian American descent and wouldn’t trade my experience for the world. I live with gratitude for the minorities of past generations before me who paved the way for people like me. Without them, I’d never be able to establish a career, let alone be a business owner, as well as live the life I am able to live today.”
— Miho Watanabe