We had a fantastic time talking with Emily Pan from Aroma Haven Mindful Ambiance (AH|MA). Emily is a graduate of Boston University and received her Master's at Columbia University in Tech Management. Emily shares her journey of wellness and spirituality and how she found her calling. Emily is the creator and founder of AH|MA an augmented reality experience that helps relieve stress and anxiety in waiting rooms and wellness centers. Currently, Emily and AH|MA are crowdfunding on (our favorite crowdfunding site) iFundWomen. Check out the links in the notes below to donate to this amazing resource and find some great rewards!
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Hi, everybody. Welcome back to this week's episode. We're super excited to share our guests with you. Our guest is Emily pan. She's the creator and founder of an augmented reality experience. Aroma Haven mindful ambience or AMO. Emily graduated from Boston university. She also graduated from Columbia university with her master's in tech management.
[00:00:25] She's fantastic to listen to. We loved hearing about her transition to finding out her own ways in life, to thrive with wellness and spirituality. She tells us a great story about how that came to be and how she found her colleague. Emily is now working on Ummah of platform, providing augmented reality experiences and paired with scent and music for anxiety ridden hospital waiting rooms and wellness center.
[00:00:51] It's a fantastic resource and we can't wait to share loosen gentlemen.
All right, folks. Welcome to the show. Emily pan, Emily pan is the founder and CEO of AMAA. Welcome to our show, Emily.
[00:02:37] Thank you, Emily. Did we pronounce your last name, right? Yeah, that's perfect. It's yeah, like I know, I know that I do do that a lot, but I was figuring it out. I can't miss that. You never know. We always mess up people's names. Welcome to the show. Emily. I'm super pumped to have you. I've been like waiting since like the day I.
[00:02:59] Met you, but we didn't really meet in person, but I'm got connected with you. I really was like, okay, this person's going to have to be on the podcast in one way or another. So I'm real excited that you're starting this endeavor and you get to be a guest on the show. Yeah. I'm so thankful that we had the crowd funding to talk about and bringing us together and seeing that you successful.
[00:03:20] Well, they launched your crowdfunding and gave me a lot of hope for my crowdfunding. So thanks for having me. Yeah. So let's just kick it off right from the start. Tell us a little bit about your personal side. Tell about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? Stuff like that. Your backstory.
[00:03:39] Yeah. So I was born in Taiwan and I came to the States when I was 15 months old on Thanksgiving day. And my parents thought we were only going to stay for two years and we eventually stayed for the rest of our life. And we, um, ended up going to live in California, moved to the East coast. Went back to California and went back to New Jersey, moved to Boston.
[00:04:07] Then I went to Shanghai for a little bit, then went back to Boston, lots of moving. So, um, ultimately I'm based in New York right now. So we're recording as I'm in Taiwan for the time being so. Brought your family to the States, like you said, it was only supposed to be for two years. So what was, what was their motivation to come into the States?
[00:04:32] So my dad's job had, um, hired him to come to the States and then was moving him from the West coast, East coast for his work. So we followed along and. Yeah, my upbringing was probably evolved with a lot of Montessori school. Then I went to a Jewish community center. It was like a complete crisis of identity.
[00:04:57] Sounds like art.
[00:05:01] Okay. I went into public school after that, went to fine arts. School for visual performing arts. And there, we were really taught to be well-rounded and making sure that we knew how to type properly. We knew how to have our dance classes and spent a lot of time in the libraries as well. Sounds like you had a really like well-rounded.
[00:05:25] Education, you get to see all sides of things. Yeah. And I definitely think living on the West coast and East coast makes you branch out too, because on the East coast you have Broadway shows and different kinds of theatrics. And on the West coast, it's also like the Hollywood life or the entertainment world.
[00:05:44] So I got to see what fits for me. Most, yeah, those experiences and that one year abroad in Shanghai completely blew my mind away because I wanted to see if I could acclimate in a culture that I wasn't raised in and learn if I could work they're long-term and how long you were there for a year, you said.
[00:06:10] Yeah. And I was there for an internship and I was learning Mandarin and taking business classes and trying to get my foot into a culture that just opened up from, um, to the world. I would stay about 30 years ago. That's kind of, I mean, it must, it's impressive. It must have been a lot of hard work. I mean, to learn a new language, as well as.
[00:06:38] Uh, new, you know, as well as an occupation and all of that, that's a lot to take on in a country that you're not familiar with. Right. And you really become the environment that you stay in sometimes. And they're very big at that time. Um, people were very aggressive with taxis because there were no Uber's or none of that electronic system.
[00:07:01] And so I just remember everyone was always like charging. And trying to cut each other off when there wasn't an actual line for a taxi, like similar to New York yards. Yeah. Yeah. Prepped you to for life in the city. Yeah. So what's connected you to the disabilities, special needs community. How'd you get connected into it.
[00:07:23] Yeah. So many different types of pockets of moments. The biggest one is probably when I was Brazil. And I shared this with you when we first spoke that I was in this period of deciding whether or not to go back to grad school. And I remember going into the museum of tomorrow's exhibit called, um, some sort of a special exhibit for special needs and there was.
[00:07:54] All of these innovative inventions that people have made to really make a difference in people's lives. And that's when I was really turned on into the world of making sensory technology for people that really had a huge impact. And what I saw was doctors making fish grafts. For victims of, um, burn victims.
[00:08:19] And I saw people making solar lights in their towns in Brazil, where they became like the Thomas Edison of the town, because they didn't have solar lights and having installed. Solar lights change. These people's lives yeah. Of how they worked, how they slept, how they lived. And, um, it really brought me to a place of just crying.
[00:08:44] Like I was watching Titanic and. Seeing all of these influential changes that were happening in the world. And I was just thinking about, I'm an adult and finding about this now, how can we instill it into children's lives earlier? And having them see the impact that they can make in this world too? Well, what an inspiration to, to see.
[00:09:07] See a community, a country embracing technology and using it in an innovative way like that. Right? Exactly. And a bunch of people that came together with all these very neat projects. And then I went to Taiwan often and I would see the compassion that they have here. For instance, the people with, um, visual impairments.
[00:09:34] They would get support by the front desk at a subway stop and they press a button and an assistant actually comes and walks them to the subway stop. And when they get to the door, they sit them down and. Stop that they're supposed to get off. Another assistant will be there waiting to pick the visually impaired person up and walk them to the gate so that they can swipe out.
[00:10:04] And I also saw that with public transportation, they would walk them onto the subway stops like the amount of people that I see who are independent. Yeah. On these rides. It's just incredible. And so when I got back to New York, I was thinking about this app called Citymapper, which is a fantastic app. It, and they have global, um, transportation.
[00:10:33] Yeah. Yeah. We used it in Boston for the transit. Isn't it cute. It has a little red Sox hat on, does it? Yeah, it does. New York Yankees one. Oh my goodness. It's just so it's adorable. Right? There's um, a section that says teleportation, like they're, they're just a funny, they're a funny group and I just emailed them and I said to them, look, can you add a disability section for the moms?
[00:11:03] Who have strollers and are looking for the escalators and elevators or people who are coming out of the airport and they want to jump back on and fly and get home, but they have two big suitcases. Like, can you help us out? And especially those who have disabilities, like how can you make your app more accessible?
[00:11:24] And they listened. By just the power of one email and they upgraded their beta system for New York, I believe, or DC area. And then they were testing it out. And I think that is just one small step that people can take to really start thinking about inclusive designs for different products and services.
[00:11:46] 100%. I can't tell you how many times, like when Annabella was a baby, we went to Boston a couple of years in a row with like our whole family. And so she was just in a stroller and this was before we had Eddie and we couldn't even find a restroom that would have a changing table. I mean, we probably went to like four or five different businesses, just looking for a restroom with a changing table.
[00:12:08] And we've said this, like, we take Eddie to Boston for certain different things. And we think about walking around for the day. And then I'm like, well, we couldn't find a restroom with a changing table. What are the odds? We'll find a accessible place that a wheelchair and. Oh, it's not very wheelchair friendly in Boston because a lot of the, the stores and restaurants and buildings are all historic.
[00:12:30] So they're kind of grandfathered in and they don't have to follow ADA. And it just makes it really difficult. Everything's cobblestone. And obviously don't want to change the landscape of the city. It's beautiful, but a little bit more accessibility as far as even bathrooms. And when you're walking and spending a day as a tourist in a city, It's such a huge thing to know that there's an accessible area somewhere.
[00:12:56] Do how many times have you seen the koala care changing diaper in the men's room? And that's, that's another thing that I was going to bring up is you never see it in the dudes, like in the men's room. Yeah, it is kind of a thing where, I mean, occasionally I'll see it, but it's, it's very few and far between when you think about like mostly every women's room in those public places have one that's like provided, but yeah.
[00:13:22] Well, and that's the tough thing, like, especially now that Eddie's a little older, he'll say. Like, I, I usually will take him into the bathroom. It's just, it's always a larger space. It's just got, you know, there's a trash barrel in the stall. If we needed it to throw something, you know, if we wanted to throw a catheter away or a diaper, so he doesn't have to walk, you know, we don't have to walk through other people that will see that.
[00:13:46] And that's not ha that's not available in the men's room. So when he comes in with me and then he's old enough now where he's like, I don't want to go in the girl's room. Like I'm a boy. I mean, most boys, his age or. Independently going into the bathroom. They're not going in with her mom. And so I totally get his like apprehension, but it's just not accessible the same way in the men's room than it is in the women's room.
[00:14:07] Right? Yeah, definitely. And being in Taiwan right now, I have been seeing. All of the changes that they have here for parents with young children. For instance, there are restaurants that have catered to parents with young children or strollers. And before you sit down and you've had a reservation, they set your table up with children's plates and then you with crayons.
[00:14:32] And there's a little place section for these kids. Um, In this particular restaurant, I was just amazed because we were meeting someone with a newborn and it just fit for the family to be able to go out to dine. Then a lot of times in restrooms, even in public settings, there are little areas where there are, um, many toilets for young children.
[00:15:01] That's adorable. Yeah. In the, the wheelchair accessible bathrooms or the mother, like family bathrooms, there's always a tiny toilet. And then the tiny sink. So you can teach your children the hygienes of yeah. Rather than pick them up and try to wash them in the adult. Well, you know, and I think it's like, I think the best part of that is the fact that I don't think people realize or patrons realize that.
[00:15:29] If you don't have children, it's so easy to go. Oh, those kids are acting up for those kids are rowdy or whatever. But when kids go to a restaurant with adults, there's nothing there. That's on their level to keep them occupied, to keep them. And how great, if there's something, keeping them occupied. Now parents can relax.
[00:15:48] So they're not maybe reacting the same way. They're not short with their children. Children are occupied. They're not loud. They're not rowdy because they're, you know, in their own little. Space with all their own little things. I mean, here in America, you just get a package of crayons and a piece of paper that is just not like little Eddie is not interested in coloring ever.
[00:16:08] And so like, we'll bring the iPad and we get, these looks like how dare you have a electronic device at dinner? And I'm like, Well it's that, or he's jumping on the chairs because he can't keep his body still. Cause he's a little boy who shouldn't keep his body still. So I love the idea of like a play place inside of a restaurant and something for them to do.
[00:16:28] And I think that's fantastic. Yeah. And all the other kids gather around in that area. And it was one of the first times I've ever seen anything like that. And. Just because they had that sort of system set up, it made me want to support them. You go back, even though I don't have kids. Yeah. I just love the compassion that they've thought through.
[00:16:52] And in the city, anywhere you walk, there's a mix of forestry and city life. They've done that very intentionally and they've. Put mantras all around the city so that you can still get connected to inner wisdom, for lack of a better word. And with the construction sites outside of each construction site, they have, um, flower.
[00:17:20] What is that called? Do you know? Like the wall, like the planters, like the little flower boxes? Yeah. So it's a wall of planters that they put up. And they always make sure to either do that or draw on like lilies or flowers on the walls. And if we think about what we see in the city life, it's usually this like dark blue metal gate with do not enter like the thought that if we can make intentional changes in subconscious ways, Really changes me as a business person, as well as a friend, as like, you know, a family member who, when we're thinking about designing things, how can we make sure that we create something with intention?
[00:18:13] And we think about how we had air conditioners and heaters. Come into our lives. And before that people had to make sure that their body temperatures were regulated and often enough that would have some sort of an impact of how long people can stay in a certain area to do certain work. And as people transitioned into industrialized periods, we were able to start working in offices more, not to say like the woman's.
[00:18:44] Still deal with being quite low, but there's a step up about thinking of how do we create optimal temperature for humans to progress in optimal levels? Yeah, well, and I think that, you know, even subconsciously it's created a way to say, you know, well now people can work nine, 10, 11, 12 hour days. Like you're saying, because it, the environment suits that they're comfortable.
[00:19:14] Hey, and you see that right now with the transition of working at home where a lot of, you know, a lot of employers are saying or expecting their employees to just work, whatever. Eight o'clock at night, six o'clock in the morning. Just answer the phone or answer or do something because it's accessible.
[00:19:34] Their work is right there in front of them, but it, and I think even employees have a tendency to like, switch that I've done it myself, where I don't shut down at five o'clock or I don't shut up. You know, I don't, I I'll shut down later. I keep checking my email instead of being intentional and saying, okay, my Workday is done.
[00:19:51] Let me reset my brain for the rest of my life, you know, for everything else going on in my world, my husband, my children. So I think, you know, we see that shift here too, where we see that shift here too, where, you know, something's changed to make things more accessible, but at the same time it's made us.
[00:20:11] B as it's made us less aware of what's going on in our surroundings. Hmm. Yeah, definitely. And I think that really made me think about where I was in my life because I was in a corporate world with the corporate benefits and. You think about what else you want to do to contribute in this lifetime and what to share with people and just having the exposure of going into a school that I could study three technology design really made all the difference in the world.
[00:20:52] And I believe I shared with you as well, Kristin, that. I was in this standstill of do I go back to get my PhD and specialize in this field? Do I follow my intuition more or do I, um, go work for the visually impaired because I'm interested. In creating technology or wearable technology for it, the disability, the community.
[00:21:17] And I remember reading this book called the light between us and she was saying that you can create signs with the universe. And I was like, all right, I'll give this a shot. So I wrote it down one, if I'm supposed to listen to my intuition, show me media Wars. Too, if I'm supposed to be working with IBM Watson, show me red hats because they just acquired a company called red hat and three, if I'm supposed to be working with the blind, show me a blind person and that will help them kind of seated as well.
[00:21:52] Thank you universe for showing me these signs and crazy enough, I wrote that down and I wrote it on the plane coming back from Florida. And I was woken up by the mom and daughter next to me who bickered throughout the entire flight. And I was like, okay. Practicing my son after vacation,
[00:22:15] just for lack of a better word, complaining about everything wrong in their life. And I was just like, Whoa, flaw of attraction. Like if that's what you want to bring in. Yeah. And I was just thinking, um, I just looked to my right and I saw this dad walking a little toddler and he had a onesy with a bunch of media Wars on it.
[00:22:34] And I was like, Whoa, that was really quick. And then I got off the flight and I was saying, wow, I really wish that, um, I didn't have to go pick up my luggage because they made me check in my carry on. And I was again, post vacation, practicing my zone. I was like, yeah. And I'm going down the escalators. And I see.
[00:23:00] An empty row of luggage belts apart from three men who stood in front of me with red hats on and they were monks. And I was just like blown away that I saw that. And I, again, did not believe that the universe was like, you have a sense of humor. You're playing tricks on me. And I get my luggage and I'm saying, okay, if I'm supposed to be seeing these signs, you're going to show me more red hats.
[00:23:28] And you're going to have me get to the car by 1111. And at that time my mom was in town. So she was able to pick me up and drive me back to my apartment. And when I got to the car, I looked at my cell phone and it turned 11, 11, like, mom, you can't believe what just happened on this plane. Right? Everything is so Sarah and he.
[00:23:55] Got in the car. She's like, okay, let's look for red hat. And literally, as soon as we said it, we turned a corner and we saw someone with another red hat on. And that was just like, ha ha. This is just not real. I couldn't believe it. And then at night, when I was about to go to bed, my Chrome pass stick has these screensavers that come on and the screensaver is constantly changed, but this screensaver was a meteoric again.
[00:24:22] And it showed up a second time, that same evening. And I normally don't see the same screen saver, right. Twice in a row in like two hours. They don't really do that. And I believe it was the next day I was writing the stuff. Subway uptown to class at Columbia. And we have about like a hundred streets to go up.
[00:24:46] So it was quite a long ride. And I was sitting, being in the subway and all of a sudden, a visually impaired man walks in and he looks like a veteran because he had his eyes some shut. Oh, It freaks me out a bit because I was thinking, Oh my gosh, I'm seeing my third sign and now I have to help him. But I'm scared of him.
[00:25:07] Why am I scared of him? He stops. And then we get stuck underground for five minutes. Stalling. I helped him sit down and find a seat. And then I was just praying. Like, I hope he doesn't get off my stop because I can't help him anymore. Like I got to go and I got off that train thinking, wow, universe, what have you done?
[00:25:31] Like you gave me all three of my sons. What am I supposed to do now? And I went right upstairs and I went to this professor who has been tenured since. Her twenties. Uh, I mean, she has been at Columbia since her twenties and she is visually impaired and is one of the superstars at the business school.
[00:25:54] And I was just wondering what. Type of mindset would take someone to that point in their life of having a MacArthur foundation, uh, backing them up for her, her research, which is quite hard to get. And I couldn't believe that she had the best sense of humor too. Like I walked into her office and she was saying, don't you just love my desk and the way it looks.
[00:26:24] Lily. She is, she had great self-deprecation and, um, she was like, okay, let's see how we can get involved. But there was so many moments of my mindset of doubting myself to get myself to that door, to just introduce myself to her and feeling deserving. Um, so rather long, but I ended up booking a flight to Stockholm and finding out like how to use my miles, how I emailed them to see I'm a student.
[00:26:57] I love to see if there's a discount for a ticket. And they helped me to go to this $3,600, um, conference. And it was all of a worldwide disability conference. And I said, if I can't figure out what I want by just going here and putting myself in more exposure, then. I would regret it. Yeah. When I got there, they said to me, um, you will not have heard our keynote speaker.
[00:27:31] And the beautiful thing is that when you hear her talk, you will never forget who she is and she want an up on the. And she started to talk about her journey as a visually impaired person and designing technology at IBM and the patents that she's done, and this AI luggage that she's made for. Those with visual impairments and the research that she started in this world.
[00:28:02] And I was so moved. Like I had a physical feeling of this is it. This is more of the field and the sphere that I wanted to work in. And the last day of the conference. I happened to be seated next to her. There were maybe 2000 people at this conference and there was one in DC and she was there with her translator.
[00:28:25] And when I sat down, we just started to talk and I shared my interest. I shared my background and then she offered me a job of someone that I was looking for, who would give me access to stuff. Seeing if I want PhD research, if I wanted to work with a blind person, and if I wanted to work with IBM and I got all three and one person and just sharing this again, and it brings chills down my body because it's one of those pinch me moments.
[00:28:59] That you would have never expected. And I ended up spending time with her at Carnegie Mellon working on IBM project Mitsubishi, Shibuya zoo. Um, she was Japanese, so she had a lot of her grants come in from some of these corporations and people loved her so much that they gave the crafts. Individually to her, not to IBM present.
[00:29:25] She had like, she could do what she wanted with that creative freedom, but it seems like the unit, like, you know, when you say like you get what you, you get what you're putting in to the universe, you know, you, you put a call to your words and you had an open mind and you were just really, I feel like aware and ready and willing to take what the universe had for you.
[00:29:44] And it looks like, you know, it. Rewarded you for that. You know what I mean? I feel like we say this a lot. Me and Eddie, like, we'll say we've said it, even in our first podcast back this season, like we are going to make goals and intentions. We're not going to set resolutions. It's going to be goals and intentions for what we want.
[00:30:03] And yeah. We, and we don't just say, one day, we're going to do something it's like, by this date, we're going to make sure this happens and it hasn't failed us yet. And I think it's kind of 90% of the time, but if it has it's, if it's failed it's because it just wasn't the right fit for us. And then we ended up finding something that works even better.
[00:30:24] You know, I just feel like, because it was trying to be positive in the situation and look at the. The way something can happen and say, it's going to happen. I'm going to make this happen. I just need to figure out the steps to do that. Yeah. Yeah. And especially in the community where you get all these setbacks and challenges of mental health or physical health, it's very hard to have those messagings all the time.
[00:30:48] Right. You might have shame about thinking, Oh, I'm having a hard day. Not only do these circumstances, teach the people that goes through the experience, but those that the loved ones that surround them too, of how to show up for themselves with love. For sure. So now all of this work you've done in tech as well as in the community.
[00:31:13] And, you know, I feel like all of that together. Is that kind of what created, or it got you to AMO? Yes, because I was in this personal development class. Around the same time where I'm like, where am I going with my life? And I feel like I say that every like six months we got to re-evaluate and yeah, I would love to, um, know before I share my, I would love to hear what your intentions and goals were set for this year.
[00:31:48] So, Oh, so our biggest school, a lot of them were career. Oriented. Um, we, Eddie started a new business at the middle of 2020. Okay. I should, I, should I say we started to visit it's really Eddy. Um, and so a lot of our goals and intentions for this year are. Based around growing that business and how that can help our family and get us into a position to, you know, just where we want to be.
[00:32:21] Um, I think we've had goals and intentions also around our marriage and how we communicate and things like that because, you know, she could just stop hitting me. Stop it Jesus. Oh my goodness. Joke. That was like terrible. Oh my gosh. I'm going to, if I would hit you now, we weren't recording. No, but yeah, I mean, as a marriage, I think that it's important for everyone to kind of reevaluate every once in a while and say, okay, where are we?
[00:32:56] Where do we need to work on? Where do we need to be? I mean, we've. I, I know someone who we met actually through our disability community. Karen was so amazing. And she, I hope she was listening, but she wants, said to me, she said to me, Oh, I get, I think it was like every five-year. She said, me and my husband get remarried.
[00:33:18] And I was like, what do you mean? And she said, we don't just renew our vows. We literally make a commitment to each other every five years. And we ha and we've said to each other, if that day comes and you're like, okay, this isn't working for me anymore. Then it's, there's no questions asked. It's just, okay, we're done now go our separate ways.
[00:33:38] And she said, but you have to come to the table with new intentions for our marriage and new goal in like what you're going to work on in yourself that didn't work for the past five years and what I'm and what you'd like to see for me. And they, they say those like, like vows and they vowed to each other.
[00:33:53] Okay. Now this year, you know, in these next five years, I'm going to work on this. And I promise this to you, and I promise this to you. And I was like, that's so inspirational. And it's probably why their marriage works so well because they continuously work at their marriage. And they're intentional about what choices they're making.
[00:34:10] And so we've tried to do that this year. That's kind of, some of our goals is to really like work on some things that we know haven't been working in the past and not create cycles and keep doing the same thing over and over again. Yeah,
[00:34:30] that's part of my, you know, Oh, commitment, right there is just agree. That's our new way of doing things. I'm still working on it and I'm doing my best over here. Yeah, I think it's so important to what you shared because apart from the dynamic of taking care of children, taking care of children with disability, taking care of your own health and the issues that may come up with caregiving, um, how can you tend to.
[00:35:01] Your love and your career as well, and different parts that make you who you are as a person, as a mother, as a wife. Yeah, exactly. I mean, you know, another thing we had mentioned in our first episode back was that, you know, we're well aware and I think that's what really gave us an idea to be like, okay, we need to be more conscious of our communication.
[00:35:22] Is because when we, you know, this past year, there's been so many ups and downs and difficult times, and we realized that when things are quiet and calm, we don't do well together. We just are our marriage. Isn't great. But when there's chaos and when there's problems, or if there's, you know, something going on with one of the kids or even in the world or in our careers, All of a sudden we band together and we're like superhero, Eddie and Kristen.
[00:35:52] And we do our marriages. Yeah. We're at war. A couple of that. We say like, we do great in war and we don't do well. It, yeah, peace time. No, we were looking for somebody to fight for something to fight and we fight well together. But when there's no one to fight as a common ground, then we fight each other.
[00:36:08] Like, it's just how it works. So we're working on not fighting each other and finding some clauses to fight. So we're not fighting each other. Yeah. If we share an enemy, we gang up on that person or that thing. So that's been our goal. That's our special about special was boring. I just really loved when I first talked to you about it, that it was something that you did with your husband.
[00:36:33] Yeah, no, I was never actually part of the plan. She was doing everything she could to make sure that originally she was like, I got to find another co-host another mom, um, somebody who can relate to all of her stuff. And I was like, but that's the beautiful thing is like me being outside the box. Like, I feel like that adds a great element.
[00:36:53] Like opposites attract. You know, and you have this dynamics why, since he was going to be boring, I was like, you guys are going to be boring. That's not what you said. What you said was I'll be the good, the face and the humor and you can be everything else. And I was like, you're not that funny. Yeah. Well then edit now I edit as well.
[00:37:14] No one can see that face and you're not as funny as you think you are. But they hear my voice.
[00:37:23] Oh goodness. So I tell us what Alma stands for. Cause I don't think we got into that a little bit and I think, you know it. Yeah. So almost stands for aroma Haven, mindful ambiance. And it's also named after my homage, my grandmother, and just thinking about what got me started in this was really. Um, seeing how much time my parents spent at hospitals caregiving.
[00:37:55] It was around the same year that my grandfather got dementia. My grandmother broke her hip and my mom's mom ended up with cancer and going through her treatment. And my mom's mom is the one that I call on them. And he passed away at 74, which is quite young for a grandmother, I'd say. And she was a beautiful woman with such grace.
[00:38:29] Um, she taught so much forgiveness. She could talk so much about inner peace and. She was someone that went through a lot in her life and went through the decades of women being married for worth and just things that we can't believe that it was just a couple of years ago. Yeah. Um, societal norms were happening.
[00:38:59] And on top of that, there was pressure in the Asian culture of birthing male children, right. To pass on whatever generations of wealth that they've had or the name to carry the name. And, um, I. I was feeling really lonely because my parents were trying to not feel lonely either and survive. And my mom was living in the hospital often enough.
[00:39:30] So I thought, who is caregiving the caregivers and what can we do to bring love and joy and love and ease and connection to those in. Um, the waiting rooms at the hospitals. And I had this background with a flavors and fragrance house that I worked with for five years, and I really wanted to do something with sensory IMPAQ.
[00:39:58] Um, so I started to create Alma because I wanted an innovative way for people to be enjoying their time at. These hospitals. So we create sensory and playfulness, um, in these waiting rooms, through augmented reality experiences, paired with scent and music. Scent is such a big thing nowadays, especially like, you know, essential oils and things like that.
[00:40:27] I mean, we're finding, and you're seeing it everywhere that not only is it being utilized as scent, but essential oils are being utilized on, you know, yourself. Skin or, you know, different ways that you can ingest them and things like that because it, you know, especially when they're quality, you're finding it's really, it really is making a calming difference or an energetic difference, or, you know, it can scent can create moods.
[00:40:55] And it's just such a, it's something that you think like, why didn't someone think about this sooner, you know, even in a different sense, like, I don't think you ever hear about you go into a doctor's office or you go into a waiting room and there's a scent or essential oils to help address the energy or the anxiety in the room.
[00:41:16] And it's such an important. Thing. I mean, I say it all the time to Eddie between my own health issues and our, you know, our son's health issues and all the amount of appointments that it's so easy to get burnout or PTSD, it causes you anxiety because you're thinking, okay, now I have to go in again and I have to explain his whole medical history and you're really reliving any trauma you might have at that point.
[00:41:40] And something like this, a device or, or, you know, how you're creating, this is such an important way to help combat that feeling. I just can't wait for something for this to come out. Cause it's like so exciting to see, see that Kristen was explaining it to me. I was thinking of the same thing that you'd probably be like the perfect candidate for something like that, but it is a constant issue, you know, with Kristen when it comes to those doctor appointments, they're just leading up.
[00:42:06] To these appointments with these specialists, right? It's the time where you're just waiting there. Hasn't been, you know, you haven't even seen the person, you don't know what's going to be said, but it's just that anticipation that just causes this high-end, uh, anxiety, which is insane. And she'll just have panic attacks and stuff.
[00:42:25] So I'm very interested to see how this would be developed. Cause she, you got great, uh, So, how do you see it being used? I know it's kind of still in the beginning stages, but how do you, how do you see it being used? Yes. So we're thinking about if people can get the essential oil through like a vending machine concept, and basically the vending machine will be unlocked through your personalized devices and you'll be able to access different categories.
[00:42:55] Stories that come up with people that have overcome setbacks and challenges. So let's say we have a story about a cancer survivor who, um, becomes a dentist afterwards and she did not let her disease, um, stop her from achieving any of the dreams that she wanted to achieve. And while I know that not everybody can.
[00:43:24] Get to that point of having maybe what we call a second chance or a blessing of really thinking intentionally of how we want to live our lives, um, where you want to share those stories. So when you're sitting there and you feel so alone, you have some expansion for you to think about. This can happen for me too.
[00:43:46] Um, even those who have gone through struggles and came to the office. Or the healthcare facilities over and over again, there's something to look forward to. It's how I set up my mindset and, um, attitude. And for every story that we create, we're going to give back to the community of whichever, um, Cause that they're a part of.
[00:44:16] So let's say we're talking about a story of a woman who has, um, eating disorders and overcame that then will donate to a nonprofit that supports women who love their body image. Oh, that's awesome. So with that being said, like, who would you be? Are you selling these to healthcare facilities, to private practices?
[00:44:42] What are your, what are your plans with something like that? We are currently, um, selling to the private facilities and the hospital. So providers in the clinician's office, and we're hoping that the users will be those that are coming through the office and there'll be interested in the sense that we create as well.
[00:45:06] And eventually when we get to a point where we are able to do this, Well sell the sense that come out of the vending machines and larger batches. Oh, I think that's so cool. I mean, I think that even on a secondary level, you know, it's a mind heals the body. If your mind is in the right mindset. It's, I mean, it's proven that like your body will heal differently, versus if you're in a negative mindset, your body doesn't heal as well.
[00:45:32] So I think even. Setting that right from the start in the waiting room. And then they're going to see the doctor. They might express things different. They might communicate different to the physician, you know, and then maybe they're more open to feedback from a physician. And they're hearing things differently than if you're walking in with anxiety or, or negativity.
[00:45:51] You, you might miss information or you're not communicating everything cause you're just kind of all over the place in your head. Exactly. So, um, I think, you know, there's on top of just the experience, there's a secondary level of taking care of someone's health in a different way, and being more, like you said, intentional about it, right?
[00:46:13] And it's almost like onboarding someone into a new job. You want to take care of them the first 90 days. So we're trying to help hospitals improve patient satisfaction rates too. And. Relate to that one location as a competitive advantage of, wow. I want to go back to that hospital because I feel like I'm in good hands with these people from my step in.
[00:46:37] And when we walk in these days, we're also familiar with how the news could be writing and you're like, I really don't want to be watching this right now. Sometimes if you're lucky, right. The volume is muted. There isn't a TV screen. There's like old crumply newspapers or magazines to a level of, um, design that they create are not to S it's not to serve those who are coming to a spa.
[00:47:05] Yeah. Really. Um, well, I think I meant, sorry. I think I mentioned it last time we talked that it, because it was so recent that I was taking Eddie to physical therapy and it's always a little bit anxiety ridden for me because it's harder for him to focus there and everything's all over the place. And we were sitting in the waiting room, which.
[00:47:25] Also with COVID, there's another level of anxiety, right? Because you have to sit in a certain way and you have to get your temperature taken and your it to be used all the sanitizer. And it's just like, so anxiety ridden when you have a nine year old with you and I am sitting with him on my lap in a chair, cause there's only one chair in each section and I look up and the TV's on with the volume and they're playing the cap.
[00:47:46] But all the riots at the Capitol. And it was just so like, I mean, literally like almost had tears in my eyes cause you're watching this thing go down and all, uh, the news is running and there's just the energy in the room. You could feel every, you could just feel everybody's energy in the room, feeling more heightened.
[00:48:03] And that's just not the way you want to walk into an appointment. Yeah. You want to walk in with a positive, not like a dread feeling. And so, you know, it sounds, you know, I think that's a good point. You see a newspaper sitting there and it's. Got you, no negative connotation or whatever, or, or, you know, even a magazine, that's just like one of those, you know, celebrity gossip, magazines, and Brad, Pitt's an alien.
[00:48:30] He is, that was why he's so cute. But yeah, I mean, I think it's a great way to kind of change the design of everything and it can only benefit the provider. Right. And how can we get more conscious of what we put into our subconscious. Right. Yes. Yes. We have to look and ask ourselves why we aren't paying attention to some of these design elements.
[00:48:58] And we have to really be considerate about how to lower these levels of anxiety, because we weren't prepared for when COVID started. And we don't really have a clear idea of when it will end yet. So how can we help hospitals today and clinical offices to prepare to reintegrate people back into the medical systems?
[00:49:25] Because there's such high levels of anxiety right now of just going to the doctor, especially if you're. Older and you don't want to catch this. Like I've had two friends grandfather's passed from COVID and the level of anxiety now for going to the doctors is much higher than we've ever expected. And.
[00:49:54] Even for me going on to a 15 hour plane ride and knowing that I would be quarantining in a country that had under 800 cases and seven deaths, I still was having panic attacks for like the first two hours. I was trying to calm down and I put essential oil on like the lavender and it helped extremely.
[00:50:19] And I just think that the mindset that you can spiral into a very dark place, especially when you're talking about our personal health, we're talking about our personal health matters or our loved ones. Um, it could really take a toll on us. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, there's not, I don't think that there's a, I think now is the time and there isn't a better time to have something like this enter into our, our, into our healthcare system, into our providers, because like you said, there's so much anxiety around, I mean, emergency rooms right now are having like record lows of people coming in.
[00:51:00] For anything other than COVID, because they're afraid to go to the emergency room, but that's also going to cause somebody who should be going to the emergency room not to go because of this, of this fear that's going on. And so at some point there is going to have to be a way to kind of. Ease back in and let people know that something safe and comfortable, and this is a good environment.
[00:51:20] And so it's a perfect time to kind of get these providers on board to say our space as a safe space, you know? So no, no that we're a safe space. Please come here. I think that's a great guy and we don't have to go into details about all of the. Complications that happen within the U S medical system.
[00:51:41] Right. Because we're also familiar with some of the setbacks and challenges, especially if you're a foreigner and you're coming to this country as well. Um, and we just want to make sure that we have something that keeps people at Bay. Right when they step into the doctor's office. And I understand some offices are lucky enough to have beautiful ambience, but what if we could take it a step further and bring more beauty to those where side we may look all fine, but on the inside, we might be panicking or anxious about whatever visits to come and how can we just design these products?
[00:52:27] To bring this ambience to them on a personalized level. And that's really how Emma was born. I mean, it's amazing and everyone should be supporting it. So tell us, I mean, obviously me and Eddie know how crowdfunding works because we've been a part of it. Tell us, um, how you're, you're working with iFundWomen right.
[00:52:49] Just the same crowdfunding site we worked with and they're amazing. They give you. All of the tools that you need, I worked with, but how is your crowdfunding working? What are some of the rewards? If somebody does donate, where's the money going and how is it working? All of that. Tell us how your crowdfunding is kind of, so, yeah, so it's such a blessing because we found different elements to fund our business.
[00:53:14] Which are from grants and from the crowdfunding right now. And we basically have made sure to, um, push it out where with our families and friends right now, and we have over $4,000 and we would love to keep going because we'll. Be able to expand on our beta testing and our product development. And with that amount, we have been able to, um, start with the engineers to build out the prototypes already.
[00:53:48] And they've been testing it out and having. That relief of, okay. I have some kind of funding for them to be paid for and for them to do a great job at designing a product that people will love and would want to buy. And some of the cool rewards that we have are all wellness related. Or self-care related.
[00:54:12] There are, um, self-care junkie kids. There are nutritional coaching that and yoga classes. There is the class by Taryn Toomey, a workout class that they've donated where you get a month free of working out. And then there are books signed books by authors from brave, not perfect with rush motions. So Johnny with the light between us and signs from Laura Lynne Jackson and the woman that I spoke of who, um, taught the universe signs.
[00:54:51] Yep. And the third book is. About Reiki. So there is a healer who just introduces Reiki on a very basic level for people who are interested. And the fun fact about Reiki is that Dr. Oz, his wife is a master Reiki healer. So on some form of a level, there are more and more shares out there in the world where, um, Energetics and different kinds of homeopathics pair really well with the Scientifics.
[00:55:24] Um, the measures that we take and get prescribed, um, all because a lot of the elements come from mindset. We created, um, these really fun astrologer readings and the systematic kinesiology sessions where they just help you go into your subconscious and work things out. And these people have. All been so kind to donate a lot of their products and items on we've had a lot of woman owned businesses as well, who have donated, even in this time of, um, this year that we've had.
[00:56:08] And you just read, I really realized how much people want to support this cause. And I'm so grateful for it. Um, one of them is. A spa gift card, $150 gift card that you can order stuff on their online shop or go in person for a massage. And another is just these beautiful crystals and the sense. That people have put together to really, to really, um, care and love the community and share more beauty wealth.
[00:56:43] I mean, and it's awesome because a lot of these rewards, you don't have to be like, cause I know some are like New York city specific, but they're not all, so anyone can donate and find a reward that probably that speaks to them or that would work best for them. Um, which is great. Cause I think that a lot of times there's crowdfunding and there's like one or two rewards and then you're not, and people want to donate.
[00:57:06] I mean, yeah. And I, in an ideal world, you want people to just donate, but having a reward really encourages people to understand that, like you're not in it just to. To get something out of it, you're in it to also give something, um, which I think is awesome. Right? The amounts of thought we put into our rewards is the amount of thought we put into the stories that we'll bring on the platform for Alma.
[00:57:29] And we've even partnered with Lauren from sweet Loren's cookies, where she herself was, um, debilitating. Battling her health. And she had to quarantine herself for a year while everyone was going off to college. When she was spending that time at home, she started to try to figure out how to make a gluten-free cookie before gluten-free was ever a thing.
[00:57:55] And she, today is a survivor and she has created the number one cookie. In retail in the United States. So she's offered to also share her cookies with the community on my crowdfunding platform as well. Sorry. Yes, they are gluten free. And she also partnered with us. So that if people fill out a survey and share with us, like what kind of sense would you like to use?
[00:58:28] What would, what kind of elements are we not thinking about that we should be considering that you are eligible to win a box full of gluten-free cookies that will send to your house? That's like my dream. Anytime I can get a gluten-free sweet. I am happy. So what's that like a survey a day we can fill out.
[00:58:47] Is there a limit? Um, we've we started those services. Kristen can fill it out. You can fill it out the dog, unfortunately cannot fill it out. Two kids as they count and stuff right up your chances. And I would love to hear what your daughter would have to say about this. Honestly, she's probably like even a better candidate than me because she's so not only is she like, so in her head sometimes, but she also articulates things so well, so she's like the perfect candidate because she can, she articulates her emotions better than anyone I've ever met.
[00:59:22] Sometimes I'm like blown away. I'm like, I wish I could say what you say. So, so good at it. So, what we ask all of our guests is if you had a moment to speak to our community, what type of advice would you give them?
[00:59:42] I would say the friend, your shadows and your ego, because anything you do in life, whether you show up. As a partner, a spouse, um, in your work in the morning, you got to know yourself, the more you can know how to serve and show up. And the more you're able to talk to like, okay, I'm having a bad moment here and be able to articulate it the way your 13 year old daughter has done.
[01:00:12] And we can learn a lot from her. Um, and just doing that for myself these past couple of years have really helped me be a better leader and be a better person overall to show up and be able to do the work that I do and be able to bet on myself. So I think that's great advice. I mean, it's it, it.
[01:00:39] Definitely is something that everybody could work on. There's nobody that can say, Oh no, I don't need to work on that. Or I don't need to be more mindful in that way. And I think that that's great advice, like just really be aware of it. Yeah. Yeah. So where can everyone find the crowdfunding? Where can everyone sign AMA?
[01:00:59] What's the best way for, to find you guys so they can go on iPhone women's website. Uh, and it is if you Google, just I fund a woman UMMA, H M a it'll pop up. Perfect. It's also linked in our Instagram handle for our link tree. There are a bunch of links out there to our crowd funding platform, to a lot more tools.
[01:01:24] Um, and you can find me at insight of Emily. I N S I T H T insight of Emily. Perfect. So we'll link the crowdfunding site for sure. In all of our show notes and everything. So if anyone's looking and they, you know, don't have they're in a car or something and all my pen and paper, they can go right to the links in our show notes.
[01:01:46] Um, check out the crowdfunding site and I encourage everybody to donate because this is a, I know we've done this like a million times where I see a resource that I'm like, Oh, I really liked that. And then I don't purchase the resource or I don't encourage you for it. And then you kind of see that resource Peter out.
[01:02:03] And I definitely don't want that to happen with this. So I encourage everyone to go check it out. If this is a resource that you think you could use or someone else in your family or. Circle could use, you know, make a donation. It can be bigger, small. I know, I know from personal experience that every little bit helps, um, and it makes a difference and share it.
[01:02:23] That's always huge. Like share it with people. Yeah. Please follow us. Follow us.
[01:02:34] Also have another Instagram for work called Aman dot. See, hear, smell. So feel free to follow us there. And our website is AMA doc NYC. Perfect. So we'll link everything. Well, Emily, it was really awesome having you on I'm super pumped that we were able to connect after many, many reschedules. So I'm super excited.
[01:02:55] What do you mean? We nailed it. This is the first time what we know there's. Yeah. It's our first time. Nobody has a net live. Thanks for joining us. We really appreciate it. Yeah. And people don't forget to fill out the survey for Oh yeah, no, it will be in your show notes. I'll give you the link to it. We're working on trying to put it on the website and, um, yeah, there's also, I forgot to mention I'm so sorry that there are raffles.
[01:03:26] So if you can't really afford some of the bigger packages, you could put $5 and you could get raffled off to really, really cool stuff. So yeah, you give everybody an opportunity in any way to kind of participate and be a part of creating AMA. Yes, really. Cool. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you, Emily.
[01:03:44] That was awesome. Well, thank you so much for listening. We really hope you enjoyed this episode as always. Please make sure you share with a friend and leave a review. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode, on our Facebook or Instagram on, at special about special. Thanks again. And we'll see you soon.