A Woman Who Does: Joyce Tang of Bathing Beauteas
This feature is a part of our "Women Who Do" Series. We are constantly seeking inspiration from the amazing women around us who are using their specific influence to break the mold, make a difference, or shake up their industries for the better. Over the next few months we will be sharing our interviews with a handful of amazing women. We hope that you will be as inspired by them as we are.
Queen of puns (are you kitten me right meow?), Chinese flute connoisseur, previous member of the only traditional Chinese Orchestra in the Pacific Northwest (um how cool is that?), and social entrepreneur babe, Joyce Tang, truly embodies a woman who does.
While Joyce was born in Mississippi to immigrant parents from China, she grew up in Seattle, Washington, where she currently lives. It’s here in this coffee-veined, vitamin D-craved, fleece-adorned city where Joyce and I met at a college social justice team.
From the get-go, you can tell Joyce is one of those sunshine sort of people. The kind who always leaves you feeling utterly inspired, just because of who they are. Her passion, kindness, and energy draws so many people around her, whether she’s the house manager of a house for international students, the intercultural coordinator for a college ministry, or the co-founder of a company empowering women, called Bathing Beauteas. Not to mention, she spent a year interning at an ethical clothing company in New York after graduating from the University of Washington international business and entrepreneurship degree. (Fun fact – she lived in 9 NYC apartments in 11 months!)
So, what inspired Joyce’s passion for business and social entrepreneurship? Well, it all began in Kenya. During her senior year of high school, Joyce volunteered in Kenya. This life-changing time in Kenya taught her the basics for social entrepreneurship. In particular, she discovered the importance of looking at problems holistically. With such widespread issues, Joyce mentioned she originally felt a bit hopeless facing issues that initially appeared impossible to solve. However, working with at least 20 different organizations and meeting so many inspiring people brought her the hopeful realization that “everyone’s efforts added together is what’s making a difference.” What is more, this trip additionally showed her the importance of empowering and partnering with local individuals within the context of their culture rather than asserting a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
Her trip to Kenya additionally showed her the importance of empowering and partnering with local individuals within the context of their culture rather than asserting a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
After her trip to Kenya, Joyce knew she wanted to create social impact through business. Though, she never imagined she’d delve into the world of entrepreneurship.
She mentioned, “I never saw myself as an entrepreneur because I thought entrepreneurs had to be well-spoken, super good with people, and confident all the time, and when I first started college, I was like, 'that’s not me; I don’t think I could do it.' But the truth of the matter is – if the leaders of the company don’t care about social impact, it’s not going to happen. So I just realized, I have to do it; I have to make my own company.”
Enter: Bathing Beauteas. In 2015, Joyce and five other women entrepreneurs began Bathing Beauteas as a passion project “to promote wellness, natural beauty, and female-focused social change.” Joined together by an undergraduate entrepreneurship course and a common purpose to empower women, these six women met up regularly over many cups of tea (yes, please!). During this time, they reinvented a historical beauty remedy centered around bathing in tea. It took 47 heavenly scented trials to create three, unique tea bath blends crafted from local Seattle ingredients. Each tea bath became inspired by a bathing tradition from around the globe and was named after influential women from that culture: Cleopatra Chamomile, Geisha Green Tea, and Persephone Pomegranate. “Like these women before us, Bathing Beauteas empowers women to live a story worth making history.”
It took 47 heavenly scented trials to create three, unique tea bath blends crafted from local Seattle ingredients. Each tea bath became inspired by a bathing tradition from around the globe and was named after influential women from that culture
As part of empowering women to live their story, Bathing Beauteas also partners with local nonprofits, including Powerful Voices, an organization empowering young women in social justice. For every purchase, Bathing Beauteas donates a portion to their nonprofit partners. In addition, Joyce connected with a friend to collaborate with UnBound, an anti-trafficking organization that helps restore survivors of sex trafficking. From 2015-2017, UnBound operated an aftercare home, called the Hope House, for sex trafficking survivors. Each month for about a year, the survivors handcrafted tea baths with a Bathing Beauteas team. The Bathing Beauteas team also led these survivors in job skills training and calligraphy workshops. While Bathing Beauteas is transitioning partnerships, Joyce said they fully intend to continue partnering with anti-trafficking organizations in the near future.
The Bathing Beauteas team also led these survivors in job skills training and calligraphy workshops.
Presently, Joyce and one other woman run Bathing Beauteas, and they love dreaming more about this company’s future. “In 5 years, we see our product lines expanded from bath products to shower products, home fragrances, stationary, and even our own digital/print publication. More than that, we want to see Bathing Beauteas play an active part in the community to spark dialogue, spread creativity,* and speak inspiration. Hopefully, by then you’ll also find us selling internationally!”
I can tell you from personal experience these tea baths are pretty much as blissful as they sound. Not only is a whole bath tub of chamomile, mint, or green tea incredibly refreshing, but it all supports the empowerment and restoration of women! How tea-rrific (couldn’t help it) is that?
Joyce concluded, “I think it’s really important in life that as we make big decisions, we see them as experiments. Don’t avoid taking risks just because it might lead down the wrong path; everything we do teaches us something that leads to our next step. If we view each of our big decisions as a temporary thing – even if it’s a commitment – I think it helps us to make decisions that inspire and change our lives more.”
If one woman’s determination to take risks, pursue her goals, and create social change leads to this much impact already, imagine what each of us could do?
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About the Author
Lauren Farris is a recent graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in Creative Writing and Sociology, and she's excited to partner with Dressember in the fight to end slavery. She also adores corgis, messy paint, mud, hiking in wildflowers, reading, traveling, and a good Lord of the Rings marathon.