Breaking Out: How I Created A Company Against My Mother's Wishes


I consider my mom one of my best friends. I used to have an irrational fear of losing her because of how close we are. At five years old, my parents divorced, leaving my mother as a single mom to raise my older brother and me. I think that really shaped me as a child and more importantly as a woman. Seeing how hard she worked, raising us without any child support from my father, it set a profound precedent in my life. She worked multiple jobs to get us the tutoring, piano, clarinet, art, Taekwondo, swimming, and any lesson you can think of. My brother is eight years older, but by the time I was ten he was out of the house and off to college so more often than not, it has always been just mom and me.

My mom and I have very similar personality. Ever since I was a baby, she’d indoctrinate me like any other stereotypical Asian mom, to become either a doctor or a lawyer. When I enrolled at UCSD, she realized that neither math nor science was my forte, so she was set on me going to law school. She had convinced me as well, so I ended up taking LSAT courses after my second year of college. That’s when I couldn’t stop daydreaming about my true passion: my own clothing line and swimwear. When I told her about this dream, she scoffed at me and told me that it was a fantasy – that there would be no way to make a career out of selling “underwear”.

All my mom ever wanted for my brother and I was financial security so that we would never have to suffer like she did working multiple jobs such as a bank teller, caregiver, and paralegal. The perspective of an immigrant is different from first generation. My mom did most of the hard work, changing her lifestyle completely, moving to a foreign country, and learning a new language. To my mom, the only pathway to success is getting more licenses by going to graduate school.

Being the stubborn person that I am, I argued with her, that I wanted to pursue my dream. I told her if this clothing brand did not work out then I could go back for more schooling. She finally succumbed and we made a promise that I would only get one year to see how it would go. She felt a little more at ease because I graduated college within three years, and I told her to think of this as my “fourth year”.

I’m not going to lie, the path to starting a brand is not easy. It’s challenging and there were many tears along the road. I cried whenever things got tough. I didn’t know how to create clothes or what the process was to start it. I cried from loneliness when I went to Bali, Indonesia to find manufacturers alone.

I cried when retailers went bankrupt and couldn’t pay me back for my merchandise. All these times that I was sad and expressed these challenges to my mom, she took these moments to persuade me “Sophia, just go back to school. Become a nurse or go to law school.. Stop suffering. It hurts me to see you suffer.”

But that’s life. You will go through challenges no matter which path you take – whether it is law school, nursing school, or trying to start your own business. Even after having two successful years of Siempre Golden, where the revenue multiplied each year, my mom convinced me to go to community college and take a class that would be required for nursing school. I agreed to take the class to appease her—anything to get her off my back. She used to call me a “baby CEO” because she thought I wasn’t making enough money. It was very difficult the first two years of the business – I felt conflicted. I wanted to be an obedient daughter and make my mom proud. I wanted to provide for her how she did for my brother and me but the way she wanted me to did not align with my dreams.

However, things gradually changed. By 2017, my mom stopped mentioning graduate school and stopped calling me a “baby CEO”. She realized that after my second year, I was doing great revenue wise, and that my products were selling. Being my mother, she was hard on me, she simply assumed that a brand should blow up within the first year, but these things take time. Although, she wasn’t fully on board with this idea, now she’s happy to see me doing what I love. From this experience, I taught her that it’s possible to pursue something you love. Lastly, Siempre Golden allows me to work remotely; I’m not restricted to one area, so this gives me more time to be with my mom – who lives in Northern California. Now we are on the same page, and she hopes that I grow this business bigger each year. Almost three years later, she fully supports Siempre Golden and doesn’t question my passion.

Siempre Golden is more than just a brand. It’s a state of mind that you choose to live by, to constantly pursue golden moments or “goals” in order to live your best – golden life. When women wear my collection, I want them to feel empowered to be able to do whatever they dream of. If there is a will, there is a way. If I could persevere and persuade my stubborn, traditional Korean mother, anyone is capable of pursuing his or her dream as well.

3 Min Read

Tempted To Dial Your Ex: 5 Ways To Know Whether Or Not You Should Contact An Old Flame

Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.

It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.

At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.

So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.

Before You Dial The Ex...

First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.

What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?

You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.

Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.

Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.

Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.

If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:

  • Do: exercise ⁠— taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
  • Don't: be a couch potato.
  • Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
  • Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?