Celebrating AAPI-Owned Businesses: A Spotlight on Nimble Made’s Mission for Inclusivity and Empowerment
May is a time to celebrate and recognize the contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals in American culture and society. During this month, we have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on AAPI-owned businesses and honor their important role in creating a more inclusive society. In this blog, we feature Nimble Made, a ShipStation merchant, and their mission to create better-fitting, size-inclusive dress shirts for the AAPI community. Through this conversation with co-founder Tanya Zhang, we learn about the importance of supporting AAPI-owned businesses and building a supportive community that fosters solidarity and empowerment.
Q: How does Nimble Made embody and honor your personal background and identity?
A: I started Nimble Made, a men’s slim-fit dress shirt brand, in 2018 in New York City. My immigrant father had a hard time finding shirts that fit his slimmer figure in the United States. They were either too baggy at the waist, left too much fabric around the sleeves, chest, and back, or were too long in length. Department store after department store, we looked for a brand that had a true slim fit that could wear perfectly off-the-rack for my dad but we never had luck. He would always say, “American dress shirts don’t fit me.”
When I met my co-founder, Wesley, he echoed the same sentiment as a slimmer and shorter immigrant from Taiwan. Wesley wore a dress shirt as his daily uniform, a medium he needed to portray himself professionally at work, and the ill-fitting shirts left him frustrated with low confidence. Because when you don’t look good, you don’t feel good. Wesley was a shorter and slimmer guy who didn’t fit the mold of an average male in the U.S. so his only options were to get his shirts tailored, pay a premium for custom-made shirts, or shop junior sizes.
We’re so proud of the mission behind Nimble Made to create better slim-fit shirts without the tailor. Our unique slim fit and sizes are one-of-a-kind and cater to the needs of slim guys. Through our products and mission, we strive for more Asian representation in media and to be, first and foremost, a size-inclusive brand with our Actually Slim Fit.
Q: How important is it to support fellow merchants within a community, despite the common assumption that they are in competition with each other?
A: Supporting each other within AAPI or minority ethnic communities is crucial for several reasons. It fosters solidarity, empowerment, and a collective voice to address common challenges. By supporting one another, individuals can challenge stereotypes, discrimination, and work towards creating more inclusive environments. Collaboration and networking within the community can lead to increased visibility, business growth, and improved opportunities. Supporting AAPI or minority-owned businesses contributes to economic empowerment, job creation, and a stronger local economy. It also ensures better representation and visibility, inspiring future generations and challenging biases. Building a supportive community enhances social and emotional well-being by providing a sense of belonging and a support system to navigate obstacles and celebrate successes!
Q: How can entrepreneurs and consumers show up for AAPI merchants all year?
A: I love this question! Here are a few ways entrepreneurs and consumers can show up for AAPI merchants throughout the year:
- Choose AAPI-owned Businesses: Actively seek out and support AAPI-owned businesses when making purchasing decisions. Consider AAPI restaurants, retailers, service providers, and online businesses like Nimble Made.
- Amplify their Voices: Share positive experiences and reviews of AAPI-owned businesses on social media platforms, review sites, and local community forums. By spreading the word about exceptional products, services, and customer experiences, entrepreneurs and consumers can amplify the visibility and reputation of AAPI merchants.
- Engage in Advocacy: Entrepreneurs and consumers can engage in advocacy efforts including lobbying for policies that promote inclusivity, diversity, and equal opportunities in business or joining/supporting organizations and initiatives that advocate for AAPI business owners.
These actions are just a few ways that entrepreneurs and consumers can contribute to the long-term success, visibility, and empowerment of AAPI merchants and communities!
Nimble Made is a fantastic example of an AAPI-owned business that strives to create a more inclusive and size-inclusive brand. The conversation with co-founder Tanya Zhang sheds light on the importance of supporting AAPI-owned businesses and fostering a sense of community within minority ethnic groups. By choosing to support AAPI-owned businesses, amplifying their voices, and engaging in advocacy efforts, entrepreneurs and consumers can contribute to the long-term success, visibility, and empowerment of AAPI merchants and communities. As we move beyond this month, let us continue to show up for AAPI-owned businesses and work together towards a more diverse and inclusive business community.