In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are spotlighting Qurate Retail Group’s efforts to highlight AAPI-owned businesses as part of their ongoing Small Business Spotlight initiative. This program supports entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups with national on-air and digital exposure, along with various other in-kind services, sourced through RangeMe.
Qurate Retail Group’s Small Business Spotlight gives these businesses the opportunity to showcase their products to a national audience through their leading retail brands including QVC, HSN, and Zulily. QVC and HSN reach a combined total of more than 90 million homes via five television networks and reach millions more via multiple streaming services, social pages, mobile apps, and websites. In the online retail space, Zulily serves millions of Moms everywhere by offering a fun, personalized shopping experience.
Read through the stories and experiences of four of the AAPI-owned businesses selected by Qurate Retail Group below.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Amy Granger’s first makeup experience was in her mid 20’s after coming to the U.S. to attend graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Getting a beauty makeover at a major department store left her feeling unrecognizable, and not in a good way. Years later, with over a decade of experience working with big-name beauty brands and a passion to make high-quality makeup accessible to everyone, she set out to create her own makeup brand, M2Ü NYC.
M2Ü NYC is a certified vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand offering skincare-infused, multi-usage makeup at super affordable prices. “I knew I could create high-quality makeup like the luxury brands, but without the heavy markup they charge,” says Granger, Co-Founder and President of M2Ü NYC. “With the launch of M2Ü, I want to empower everyone to formulate their own beauty standards. I want to give people tools to experiment, have fun, and create new routines without feeling guilty about overspending.” With the memory of her unappealing makeover, Granger explains, “I made sure all our products were lightweight and buildable, so it’s up to our customers to decide how little or how much to wear.”
Facing challenges is a given for any entrepreneur trying to fight their way into the retail space. Granger brings to light the additional challenges her immigrant background has brought her. When looking for a fulfillment center to store products, she realized vendors were not interested in a new startup without venture capital or any sales history. They instead suggested she start housing products in her own garage. Living in a one-bedroom apartment in NYC and being unable to use a family member’s garage space (since they were still in Taiwan) made her realize the lack of additional resources she had access to. Granger’s advice for AAPI entrepreneurs is to tap into their networks and don’t be shy to ask for help.
Granger has been using RangeMe for her brand since 2021. “We leverage RangeMe to submit to retailer’s specific programs. So far, we’ve been connected to the buyers at CVS and Zulily via RangeMe, and were on-air live on QVC/HSN’s Small Business Spotlight segments – all because of RangeMe!”
Buyers on RangeMe can explore M2Ü NYC’s high-quality and affordable makeup here.
Being part of their families’ bag- and luggage-making business for more than 40 years taught two sisters, Sandy and Celia Liang, the ins and outs of working with retailers. Deciding to go their own way and create bags that aligned with their personal styles, Handy Sandy was born. “Growing up in the family business, bags and transporting items are always on our mind,” says Sandy Liang. “We always look and think of ways of how to make things better. We wanted to create products that were different from the products our family business was creating,” she says. “Handy Sandy has given us a voice and allowed us to create products the way we want.”
Liang’s advice for AAPI entrepreneurs is to push through even if it’s hard to break into a business or retail. “If you are persistent and believe in yourself and your product, someone will see it too.” This advice stems from the obstacles she has faced herself as an AAPI entrepreneur. “We feel that sometimes we are considered and met for being classed as a minority-owned company but never really considered seriously,” says Sandy Liang. “We have to work harder to get our products considered. We overcome by pushing through and continuously reaching out in hopes that there will be an opportunity for our products to enter their stores.”
Handy Sandy joined RangeMe two years ago to gain interest in their products and create lasting partnerships. The Liang sisters praise RangeMe for putting its brand and products in front of buyers. “It gives us an opportunity to showcase our products to an audience we wouldn’t be able to reach on our own.”
Buyers on RangeMe can check out Handy Sandy’s everyday items here.
Realizing the lack of stylish, functional, and affordable home office products after leaving the corporate world, Julia Xu launched Multitasky. Her brand empowers female go-getters to live extraordinary professional and personal lives, believing that building an inspirational workspace can drive passion for achievements. Multitasky offers modern tech, multi-functional office, and comfort home collections to boost your productivity and bring convenience into your life. Their vertically integrated supply chain and ability to identify upcoming trends on social media allows Multitasky to launch FUNctional and aesthetic lifestyle products into the market in just two weeks.
When asked about facing additional challenges as a woman and AAPI entrepreneur, Xu responded, “I have certainly encountered instances where I needed to work harder than my white and male counterparts in order to be heard and respected.” To overcome these obstacles, she remains vigilant in her search for success and doesn’t let these circumstances deter her, no matter how frustrating they become. “I believe that representation is so important in inspiring inclusion, and to that end, I have vowed to be a loud member of the AAPI community.”
Xu’s advice for AAPI entrepreneurs looking to start their own business is to go for it head-on, “You will find success if you are giving your all and remaining focused. And while you may encounter prejudice, try to also remember the tremendous asset that being a member of the AAPI community gives you.”
RangeMe has been a great resource for Xu and Multitasky to connect with retailers and expand their distribution footprint, “We have found incredible success in this area, and have even been able to start white-labeling products for retailers using our own supply chain,” says Xu. Xu has connected with several retailers including QVC/HSN, Zulily, SnackMagic, and many more!
“Perhaps our biggest feature from RangeMe was on QVC, where we got to do a live segment for our ring lights. The incredible connection that RangeMe has to its retailers is what made this possible, and we look forward to the collaborations to come.” – Julia Xu, Founder & CEO of Multitasky
Buyers on RangeMe can browse Multitasky’s trendy and FUNctional gadgets here.
BodyKore started out as a gym solutions company designing and outfitting commercial gyms. Leo Chang, president of BodyKore, soon realized the void in the industry for space-saving, multi-functional equipment with the premium look and feel of a commercial machine. BodyKore now manufactures its own gym equipment, providing high-quality products, exceptional customer service, affordable payment plans, and space-saving designs.
For Chang, being an entrepreneur is all about overcoming obstacles. “It forces me and my team to stay ahead of the trends, be innovative, and always provide excellent customer service,” he says. His advice for entrepreneurs looking to start their own business is, “To do as much research on the market and industry as possible. Have a solid business plan with a financial forecast, and be prepared for obstacles that aren’t foreseeable.” Chang emphasizes, “Do something that you enjoy and not just something just for monetary purposes.”
BodyKore has been leveraging RangeMe since the beginning of 2022, which is how they got discovered for Qurate Retail Group’s Small Business Spotlight and met with a Sam’s Club buyer. “We are still actively looking for other retailers to supply our goods to and will continue using this great platform,” says Chang.
Buyers on RangeMe interested in BodyKore’s fitness-forward equipment can browse here.
AAPI Heritage Month may be coming to an end but our effort to raise awareness for the AAPI community and supplier diversity will not. We are honored to support Qurate Retail Group’s year-round efforts to support diverse small businesses and strive to provide new opportunities to emerging brands across the CPG industry. Brands interested in learning more about how to qualify for the Small Business Spotlight program can head here for details on eligibility, criteria, and the application process.
Click here to watch our recent panel discussion featuring five Asian American and Pacific Islander entrepreneurs who shared their stories and insights on launching and operating successful brands in the consumer packaged goods industry.