Artists and designers are naturally gifted with the creativity to develop original and exciting product ideas. But what kind of strategies do they need in order to transform these concepts into a thriving, lucrative small business? In this episode, Gene Marks and Tiffany Ju, Founder and Head Designer at Chunks, discuss the key factors that helped her launch two viral accessory businesses.

Key Podcast Highlights

  • What Should Artists or Designers Be Aware Of When Starting a New Business?
    • When the opportunity to create a lucrative business comes up, jump on it. You’d be amazed what you can learn as you go along.
    • Keep an eye on emerging trends because these can inspire you to create a specific product niche.
    • You don’t always need a lot of capital to start a business, especially if your merchandise doesn’t require any expensive materials or can be produced by hand.
    • If you are struggling with certain aspects of your business, whether it be bookkeeping or manufacturing, don’t be afraid to outsource it. In fact, additional support will become necessary once you expand your small business.
    • Be sure to take into account all your advertising, production, and shipping costs so that they don’t negate your profits.
    • Regardless of how much attention your small business requires, it’s still important to maintain a healthy work-life balance; otherwise, you’ll burn out.
    • Be proactive and transparent with your customers if the demand for your product exceeds your production capabilities. People can be surprisingly understanding about delays as long as you’re honest with them.
    • Once you reach a point when your business is no longer scalable, it might be best to cut your losses and end your business.
  • What Do I Need to Know About Working With Overseas Manufacturers?
    • Platforms, such as Alibaba, can serve as a valuable resource for small business owners who want to connect with affordable manufacturing companies.
    • Don’t let the amount of manufacturers overwhelm you; take the time to properly research and interview all of them before starting a working relationship.
    • Try to visit your potential manufacturers and their facilities in person to establish a strong business relationship. It also gives you an opportunity to see whether any design or production improvements need to be made.
    • Rather than attempting to micromanage the production process, have faith and trust in your manufacturers. If you have any major concerns, request a third party to conduct an audit on your behalf.
  • How Do I Build an Environmentally Friendly Business?
    • Eco-conscious business owners should speak to their manufacturers about utilizing environmentally friendly materials for both their products and their packaging.
    • Allowing your followers to observe the production process on social media is an effective way to gain their trust and build an eco-conscious brand.
    • It’s your responsibility as a business owner to be upfront with your consumers about your practices and your products so that they can make an informed decision about their purchases.
  • How Can I Promote My Small Business?
    • Take advantage of social media and online platforms for exposure and advertising.
    • Another way to build your business is by creating a podcast that allows you to have nuanced discussions about your brand’s values.



Gene: Welcome to the Small Biz Ahead Podcast. We interview great experts that offer advice and tips to help you run your business better.

Gene: Hey everybody, it’s Gene Marks, and welcome to another episode of the Hartford Small Biz Ahead Podcast. Thank you so much for joining us, watching us, listening to us. I have today the honor of speaking to Tiffany Ju, who is the founder and head designer at Chunks. First of all, Tiffany, thank you very much for being on the show. We’re really glad to have you.

Tiffany: Yeah, thank you for having me on, Gene, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Gene: I am excited for you to be here. AAPI Heritage Month, the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, so doubly happy to have you here as well.

Gene: First of all, we got a lot going on, we have a lot to talk about, about your company. I want to talk about manufacturing overseas, I want to talk about sustainability, I want to talk about your podcast, which is called The Clip Show, but before we even get to this, Tiffany, Alyssa loves these things, okay? She’s telling me there’s this clip thing. I tried using it, but I unfortunately not very successful. This is one of the products that you guys make, correct?

Tiffany: Yes. Yeah, we focus on hair accessories, specifically clips and claws.

Gene: Right. This is another one. Is this a joke that we’re having somebody on that focuses on hair accessories and I have absolutely no hair. Is this some kind of a… Okay. So you sell hair accessories for people that have hair. You sell primarily online, so you have e-commerce and also through wholesale as well. Correct?

Tiffany: Yeah.

Gene: Give us a little bit of history about the company. Tell us about what Chunks does.

Tiffany: Sure. I started Chunks in 2019, and if you want to go further back on that, I actually graduated from Parsons with a fashion design degree. And ever since I left, I really always gravitated towards this intersection of fashion and product. So accessories, I love accessories. And I started this business by happenstance, but in 2012 I started dyeing these ombre tights and I put them up on Etsy and they went super viral. So I kind of stumbled into that business having no idea what I was doing. And it was really difficult, I think, because I didn’t have that compass of knowing what I was doing or knowing what I wanted out of the business. And it was very labor-intensive, but it was definitely paying the bills and I learned a lot through throughout that chapter of my life. So that was 2012 to about 2018.

Gene: Wow. So yeah, stop for a second. So during that six-year period of time, was the business sustaining you? I mean, were you earning a livelihood from it at that point?

Tiffany: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And it definitely afforded me enough income to live, to rent a studio, to have some employees and just to figure out what I was doing.

Gene: I can’t imagine if you’re going to Parsons, sure, you were among a lot of other creative people at that time, and I’m sure many others were creating not only just stuff like this, but other things that they could sell online, but you figured out sort of a formula to actually make money off of it initially. And you’ve taken it to a different level recently. But just kind of curious, what did you know that a lot of your classmates didn’t know, or what were you doing that was so different?

Tiffany: Oh my gosh, I would not even… In hindsight, maybe I could say that, but at the time I did not see it that way. I just knew that working in the fashion industry wasn’t for me. And it was actually a really difficult period in my life because I didn’t know what to do then. If I’m not using this fashion degree to work in fashion, then what should I do? So I was at this crossroads where at that time that I was starting that business in 2012, I was actually studying for my GMATs to go back and get an MBA. And the week that I got accepted into that MBA program was also the week that I went viral with these tights that I was making. So it was-

Gene: You had a decision to make.

Tiffany:… okay, do I go to school to learn the business or do I just work and learn the business as I go? So obviously-

Gene: That a hard decision to make. So I’m assuming you made the decision to work to grow the business and not pursue the MBA, is that correct?

Tiffany: I did. I was like, well, I might as well just not put myself further in debt.

Gene: Did your family and friends think that you were absolutely crazy for doing that?

Tiffany: No, they were all really excited. I mean, they saw the dollars coming in and it looked pretty good.

Gene: During that period of time, were you making all these products yourself or were you outsourcing it?

Tiffany: Well, essentially, I was dyeing tights. So I would source these blank tights, nylon tights, like pantyhose sort of, and then I would hand dye them. But it was a very labor-intensive process because I was like, ombre dyeing them, which is a really difficult method of dyeing.

Gene: Next question, I have a million questions, I’m sorry, because it fascinates me. When you’re first starting this up, you’re doing that, did you have any employees during all this period of time or is it just you doing all this work?

Tiffany: No, it was just me. I had this random idea and I cooked them up in my kitchen and I literally didn’t even know how to ship a package. I knew how to take some pretty photos. I’m a creative, so I know how to make the thing, I know how to make it look pretty, but I didn’t know the rest of it.

Gene: So how did you figure it out? I mean, you had to set up a website, you had to sell this stuff, you had to find customers, you had to do accounting, you had to understand how to promote the brand. How did you figure this stuff out?

Tiffany: Well, yeah, I made the thing and luckily Etsy was pretty popular at the time and it’s pretty easy to set up. So it was about the amount of tech that I could do, which was great. And then I really just had to learn as I went along. I had to learn how to ship a package when I started getting the orders. And I had to learn how to do customer service when I was getting flooded with emails because I had now a four-month waiting list.

Tiffany: As far as the accounting, which is not my strength and continues to not be my strength, I was just dumping receipts in a bucket and being like, I’ll handle this later. And just asking people what to do and just going through different accountants. But that was a tricky part because I don’t know how to navigate that part of it well. So working with accountants that didn’t understand my business was part of it, and just figuring out how to do my books and realizing that I should probably hire someone to do this, because-

Gene: That’s a whole other topic, about being smart financially. And you were dyeing these pantyhose and making these products in your… Where were you living at the time? You’re in Seattle now, so was it also in Seattle and-

Tiffany: Yeah, I was in Atlanta at the time in an apartment complex and within the first week I got hundreds of orders. So by the end of the week I was able to buy a car, my old car had just died. And I was able to rent out the apartment next to mine. I made $10,000 that first week, so-

Gene: Amazing.

Tiffany: Yeah. So I just quickly pulled stuff together. I hired some ladies in my neighborhood to help me dye these tights and it was just like, whatever I could scrape together.

Gene: Your neighbors must have loved you, right?

Tiffany: Oh, oh. Because I had these big boiler pots on the ground. They would hear-

Gene: I’m sure they must have been so excited.

Tiffany: Oh, they thought I was making drugs or something. They would daily knock on my door and be like, “What is this noise?”

Gene: That is amazing. Okay, so you’re doing all of that, and this is all in Atlanta during this period of time. And again, originally it’s a very low… It sounds like you started this up with very little capital as well. So it’s just your brains and a few bits of material to buy. And by the way, I do have to go back to something that you said before you made $10,000, you got all these orders and I just want to make sure, because I’m the accountant here, you didn’t make $10,000 yet, okay? You got paid $10,000, now you still have to go and actually deliver all the products.

Tiffany: Right, right. Well, I had $10,000 in the account, that’s the sales that I got that first week, right?

Gene: Fair enough, fair enough. Okay. Just to make sure that we are clear, just because there are other business owners watching this, and I want to be clear, if your customers buy the $10,000 worth of stuff, you still have to make sure you come through and-

Tiffany: Yes.

Gene:… and deliver.

Tiffany: That’s a great clarification.

Gene: And it does take some money to do that. This is awesome. So you were saying about this, 2012 to 2018, so this is where your life was. And one other question, during that six year period of time, did you eat at all? Did you watch a TV show? Did you see sunlight? Was there any of that or was it just all slaving over the pots of boiling pantyhose?

Tiffany: It was rough. It was rough to balance all that out because I would just isolate myself and work for weeks. And then, obviously, there was a breaking point with that, and I also met my husband shortly, my now husband, while-

Gene: You met him during this period?

Tiffany: Yeah, a couple of months after. So I was still in the thick of it, and then shortly after we started dating, he got a job in Seattle.

Gene: Nice.

Tiffany: So I picked up and-

Gene: That’s why you moved.

Tiffany: Yeah, I moved. That’s why I’m here.

Gene: I find that interesting. You met your husband while you were working all these hours making… Was he your postman or something? How do you actually meet somebody with all the work that you were doing?

Tiffany: I mean, I did have employees to help. But one thing is I can work really hard, but I still really need that balance in my life. I can’t completely go off the deep end working, because I know it’s not sustainable for me. So I tried to balance-

Gene: You have to have balance. No matter how hard you’re working, even in a startup situation, you have to be able to balance, because otherwise, I mean, it’s not good for your own mental health. You have to have that balance. Okay. So then you moved to Seattle, it’s around 2018, you still got the business going. What happens next?

Tiffany: So I moved to Seattle in 2013, so this all happened fast. We rented a studio. I found some employees and just kept moving with the business. And still at that point, I had orders lined up for probably three or four years, I think.

Gene: Wow.

Tiffany: I still just didn’t really have to do any marketing, it was just still coming in.

Gene: All the people found you on Etsy, so I guess this was word of mouth.

Tiffany: Originally it started going viral on Tumblr. I don’t know if you remember what Tumblr was, but it was kind of a blogging platform. And then it also popped up on Pinterest. So that’s usually where people would find me and then they would come to my Etsy store.

Gene: Amazing. And that just all happened organically. So you got lucky. I mean, a lot of skill involved, but there’s a little bit of luck involved that you managed to get found. And you were saying did literally have a four-year backlog for orders? Did I get-

Tiffany: Pretty much, yeah.

Gene: So somebody would have the foresight to order pantyhose four years in advance? Usually, I would think if you have an online business and you order something online in this day and age, you expect to get it this afternoon, not four years from now. So how did you balance that?

Tiffany: Well, so I continued to get orders for about four years. I didn’t hit zero in the queue for four years, but the waiting period for each customer, I think the longest it got was four months right at the beginning. But I tried to keep it to, I don’t know, a month or two or something.

Tiffany: But how I handled that was great communication, because what really I think frustrates a customer is when they don’t hear anything and then they have to reach out to you. So I would be really proactive with that and communicate, “Listen, this is what happened.” And as long as I was being really transparent about where I was and they knew that I was working as hard as I could, they became really supportive of me.

Gene: People will be more understandable than you think, as long as you are transparent with them and you’re communicating with them and you find most people are good and it’s not as if they’re waiting for something that has an expiration date or whatever. It’s obviously a sort of novelty or specialty type of item, and so they’re willing to wait for it because it’s good stuff. And by the way, this communication, were you personally doing all of this or did you have a marketing person or a customer service person, somebody to help you out with that communication?

Tiffany: I was personally doing it for a long time. I think at some point, maybe one of my employees shared it with me. But I really felt the need to communicate with my customers one-on-one in that business because it was such a personal thing that was happening and I felt very responsible for that experience. So I did a lot of it myself.

Gene: We all hit that point of… We do love our customers and then you’re communicating with them, and then, as we’re going to get into, as you grow, it’s harder and harder to do that. And it’s hard to break from that. You really, even today, I’m sure you wish you could be personally communicating with all of your customers, but it’s just impossible to do. And that’s why companies grapple with that all the time. So at some point you had to get manufacturing help. I mean, there are only so many pots you can boil these materials in. You had to send this out somewhere. And my understanding is that you have a lot of manufacturing done in China now. Is that correct?

Tiffany: Okay. So we haven’t even gotten to Chunks, right?

Gene: Yeah, okay. So this is not fun. This is all previous stuff.

Tiffany: Oh, yeah, this is my previous business.

Tiffany: Starting from 2016, I was trying to figure out my next thing because I knew this wasn’t a sustainable business because it wasn’t scalable. I couldn’t outsource it was just too difficult. So I spent a couple of years trying to really figure out what I was going to do next. I knew I wanted to stay in some sort of accessories world because that’s what I love and that’s what I know. So it took a lot of trial and error. I tried jewelry, I tried clothing, I tried other types of soft good accessories. And then 2018, I really felt like it was time to just end that business. And I actually just took a year off and made art, I think-

Gene: Wow.

Tiffany: Before I am an entrepreneur, I am an artist. And just using that time to reset and get back to just clarity in what I even like, what I want to do, how I want to spend my time. So that was a really clarifying year for me. All pressure was off for a bit.

Gene: Did you find it difficult? I mean, you put your heart and soul into this business for a good five years. You built up a brand, you built up a customer base. I mean, how difficult was it for you to just walk away from it? I mean, it’s a tough thing for a lot of people to do.

Tiffany: Yeah, I mean, it honestly wasn’t that difficult. I knew I still could go back to it if I wanted to, but I really didn’t want to. I was just ready. I was really ready to move on.

Gene: I asked that I that because a lot of my clients, a lot of people, they stick with businesses or product lines, they have an emotional attachment to it, or “Oh, this is my baby,” or “This is how I was doing this for so many whatever,” and every business has a lifespan, you know? You got to the end of this one, you said it wasn’t scalable, so you basically said, “A business is a business. I got to move on to something else,” which seems like that was the right decision.

Gene: So you took that year off, you got your head together, you did some art, you chilled for a little bit, and then what happened next?

Tiffany: So in about 2018, the idea just really dawned on me because I personally, hair clips is a staple of every woman’s dresser, and it’s just this one product that we use daily. It’s not cute. And at least in 2018, you couldn’t really find cute ones. You bought them at the drugstore. They were cheap and brown and ugly.

Tiffany: I was like, hmm, there is an opportunity here. Especially because I know that one of my strengths is I can see a trend. I can spot a trend when it’s coming. And in 2018, I saw this trend of the ’90s and the Y2K in fashion coming back, and hair accessories was a big part of that culture, and there hadn’t been a lot of change in that category for decades.

Tiffany: So I looked around and I was like, oh, there’s also nobody else really doing this.

Tiffany: So it was a moment of looking left, looking right, and being like, huh! So I looked more into it. I had done some overseas manufacturing in my previous business where I was experimenting with other products. So I looked into the manufacturing, it was really doable. The margins were great. The turnaround time was great. The minimums were great.

Gene: Stop, stop, stop. So you say that you looked into the manufacturing, right?

Tiffany: Yeah.

Gene: Which is just like, “Oh, I looked into the manufacturing and I saw that the margins were really attractive,” whatever. What does that mean, you looked into the manufacturing? Where did you look? Who did you talk to?

Tiffany: I literally just hopped onto Alibaba. Really.

Gene: Okay.

Tiffany: Yeah, for these things. And it really varies.

Gene: So Alibaba, which for those of you guys watching and listening, it’s Chinese-based Amazon. The biggest e-commerce platform in the world still. But Alibaba’s selling products at retail to consumers. But I thought you were looking for-

Tiffany: Well that’s-

Gene:… wants to manufacture or something.

Tiffany: Yeah. AliExpress is direct to consumers. Alibaba is B2B, is manufacturing.

Gene: That’s for materials that you would be buying from, right? So-

Tiffany: It’s for manufacturers and trading companies.

Gene: Got it. Okay.

Gene: So you were able to foresee what the materials were and also where a manufacturer would charge you to make one of these hair thingamabobbers to make sure that you… and you could get all that information from Alibaba at the time. And I’m sure you can still do that now, if you’re looking to do sourcing into China, which is super helpful.

Tiffany: Yeah. It really depends on what product you’re looking to make, what category you’re in, and that determines where you’re looking to source things. So I have no idea how to source for food and bev or for electronics or whatever. But for my product, Alibaba is perfect. It is overwhelming because there’s a lot of manufacturers on there, but you just have to do the work and you just have to do an equal amount of Googling to figure out how to navigate through. So I read a lot of blog posts, I did a lot of research and I did a lot of just talking to different manufacturers.

Gene: Let’s talk about that. When you talked about different manufacturers, how does one talk to a foreign manufacturer? How did you do that?

Tiffany: Yeah, I mean luckily they all can communicate really well in English. I mean, there’s varying degrees. I’ve worked with some manufacturers who have great English and we Zoom regularly. I have some that it’s a little more difficult, but they all can communicate enough to get the transaction across.

Gene: Okay. All right. Fair enough. So you identified a few manufacturers, I guess in China. You had discussions with them and at some point you selected one of them to do your manu… Did you ever physically go there and visit? Did you ever feel the need to do that?

Tiffany: Yeah. So I started Chunks in 2019 and I was like, awesome. We had a pretty good year. I was like, I would really love to go in 2020.

Gene: Yeah, great timing.

Tiffany: Yeah, so I have not yet, we have Zoomed-

Gene: But you plan to.

Tiffany: Yeah, we Zoom pretty regularly and just recently in the past few months they’ve opened up the borders again. So I actually met one of my core manufacturers last month because he came to the States. So we have met in person, I’m really excited to go next year, beginning of next year.

Gene: I mean, other than the chance to visit China, which is awesome, but what other reason would you actually have to physically go? I mean, other words, would you recommend other people doing what you’re doing to actually go and visit the manufacturer? Or is it more just out of a relationship or a curiosity type of thing?

Tiffany: I think it is so important and the further along I go in this business, the more I learn how important it is to actually meet in person and to really foster that relationship. And even as the lead designer, I’m seeing how valuable… I’m so excited to go next year because there are certain design advantages that I know will be so helpful if I can just spend a couple of weeks there.

Gene: Wow. Okay.

Gene: I know we want to talk about sustainability and how important that is to you and also to your business. And is that part of the reason why you also want to visit that manufacturer as well, to make sure that what they’re doing aligns with your goals of sustainability? Talk to me a little bit about that and how that’s all worked its way in with Chunks.

Tiffany: Yeah. Sustainability was something that has really evolved as I grew the company. I wasn’t on a mission from day one. I was just making some money, clips, making some sales. But slowly I learned about the materials and acetate, which is what our hair clips are primarily made out of, is what’s called a bioplastic. And it’s actually an alternative to conventional plastic, which is made out of petroleum. Acetate is made out of cellulose, which is actually derived from plant materials. So it has a much shorter lifespan than conventional plastic, and it’s not made from fossil fuels. So we really wanted to advocate for continuing to make products from only acetate, as little plastic as possible, even in our packaging. We’re still working on that. And then also some other values we developed over time about being really transparent and also a little bit educational about overseas manufacturing. Because I think culturally, a lot of us have a lot of stereotypes or assumptions about Chinese manufacturing in particular.

Gene: So how have you married those two? How did you get over that to make yourself feel comfortable that a Chinese manufacturer was actually practicing the types of sustainability practices you would find acceptable?

Tiffany: Well sure, I think manufacturing can get wild, but at the end of the day, they’re only providing us with whatever supply to the demand. There has to be the demand for the product and that’s why their manufacturing has taken off. I think in every country’s economic story as an industrial country, it goes through these phases.

Gene: But we’ve all had dark phases, that’s right.

Tiffany: Yes.

Gene: When it comes to the environment, right.

Tiffany: So first of all, I think companies have to take radical accountability for themselves and how they approach their own manufacturing because that’s where it starts. And so that’s just the approach that I come with is how do I want to design products and run this company in a way that’s responsible and not just say, “As a manufacturer, this is on you.”

Gene: Got it. Fair enough. So you ask these questions of your Chinese manufacturer, they’re giving you the answers. You’re hopefully satisfied with those answers, what they’re doing. You’re going to go there, because there’s nothing better than… I mean, I’m a trained auditor, so there’s nothing better than visually inspecting to make sure that they are doing what they promise that they are going to do.

Gene: I’m kind of curious, what happens if you go and they’re not meeting up to your standards? You’re like, “You guys said you were doing this, but you’re not.” Not that anybody in business doesn’t tell the truth all the time, but how would you handle that? Would you be prepared to make changes?

Tiffany: Yeah, for sure. I mean, hopefully that wouldn’t happen, but-

Gene: I hope not.

Tiffany:… I also would cross that bridge when I get there because you have to put a certain amount of faith and trust in your manufacturing partners. We have fostered a relationship that with them that’s really built on trust and respect and you can’t get so much in their business that it starts to breed some bad feelings or some…

Gene: Lack of trust there or their credibility, right?

Tiffany: Right. And so that’s why we also look to certifications and audits, third-party audits. And then also on our end, we’re a member of 1% for the Planet and Climate Neutral. So we make sure the oversight is handled through these organizations that are able to create a standard framework for what’s good or what’s bad.

Gene: The only reason I bring that up is that you’ve been an advocate for sustainability and you’re out there talking about it and you’re advertising it like, “Hey, do business with us, buy our hair clips because they are sustainable products.”

Gene: And it’s almost like big companies that sell products and then they have their products manufactured overseas and they find out that their manufacturers were not being very good at what they said they were going to do, you know what I mean? It’s not just you, it’s any business that is making a claim and building a brand around a certain thing, you’ve got to really be going the extra mile to make sure that that is actually happening because it would be a PR catastrophe for you if that wasn’t happening. You know what I mean? So I’m assuming it’s got to be a top priority of yours.

Tiffany: We really make a strong effort to be as transparent as possible. On socials, we do a lot of that on socials because a lot of our customers are there and just showing them how things are made and what production really looks like. Because I think a lot of the reality track comes when we buy these things and we have opinions on how we think it’s produced, and then the reality hits. So I think there’s a lot of education to be done about, let’s be real, let’s be real about the things that we’re buying and where they come from and how they’re made. And then we have-

Gene: Yeah, I agree.

Tiffany:… and then we have to take responsibility of, okay, I’m still going to buy this thing or I don’t have to buy this thing.

Gene: Yeah. It’s funny that you say… Actually, we were just talking about that at lunch, weren’t we? I mean, we get packages delivered from an e-commerce giant with tons of plastic and wrapping inside of it for a tube of toothpaste that I order.

Gene: I started thinking to myself, I’m not really helping the environment very much if this is the way it’s going to come.

Gene: So consumers have responsibility, the businesses have responsibility as well. And we still have a long way to go.

Gene: Tiffany, I have a million more questions for you, which we don’t have time… We have to bring you back for a second part because I have questions about your relationship with getting this manufactured services, how you’re paying them. Are you maintaining inventory here in the U.S. or do they just drop ship directly? Are you maintaining inventory here? You are?

Tiffany: Yes. Yes. They ship inventory here and then we fulfill out of our warehouse, actually.

Gene: Lots of questions about how you’re doing that and how you’re managing that fulfillment process and also how you did that through COVID, which I’m sure was tons of fun for you to do as well.

Gene: And then also, I know you’re selling both online and then also through distributors as well. So I’m curious how you lined up those distributors and how we sold online.

Gene: Let’s talk about The Clip Show, please, okay?

Tiffany: Yeah.

Gene: Great podcast. Tell us a little bit why you started it and what it’s all about and where people can find it.

Tiffany: So The Clip Show was really born because me, my ops director and our two social media girls were having a meeting one day and we were trying to create some content around our manufacturing and our production, but we were finding it really difficult to take this complex issue and topic and boil it down to a ten-second little soundbite.

Tiffany: So we had this hour-long conversation where Christine and I were telling our social media team members what the deal was about the question that they had.

Tiffany: They were like, “How do I boil that down?”

Tiffany: I was like, “Man, we should have just recorded this whole thing. And then you could have chopped it up and used those.”

Gene: It’s the Clips!

Tiffany: Yeah, right. So that’s really how the podcast idea was born. Let’s give ourselves space to talk about these issues in a more nuanced and more in-depth way. And then we are able to also use it for social media and stuff like that.

Gene: That’s great.

Tiffany: It’s a really complex topic that’s full of gray areas and full of unresolved conflicts and brutal truths. So yeah, the podcast has been really helpful in doing that. Plus I also use it to talk about small business stuff because I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and I really love to talk about it.

Gene: Yeah, that’s great. And a lot of the topics that are on the show as well, they speak specifically to a lot of the issues that we are all dealing running businesses and it’s great to hear your thoughts on that as well as the group. So it’s a great show and Spotify, iTunes, all the major podcast platforming services carry it. Hopefully I’m not missing anybody or if there’s anything that where it’s not carried, am I correct?

Tiffany: Yeah, we’re actually about to change the title and go through a little bit of rebound, but as long as you search Chunks, you should be able to find it.

Gene: Okay, find it on Chunks. That sounds great.

Gene: Tiffany, great to hear and speak with you. And again, I promise you that we’ll have you back. As you can tell, I have a lot more to ask about what you’re up to and what you’re doing. And how many employees do you have now?

Tiffany: Total, including, our fulfillment team, 15.

Gene: Okay. So we got to talk about workplace issues as well. We got the whole thing.

Tiffany: Oh, yeah.

Gene: So we’re going to get back to some of that as well. I’ve been speaking with Tiffany Ju, she’s the founder and head designer at Chunks. Tiffany, website, please?

Tiffany: Yeah, it’s and our handles on TikTok and Instagram are both

Gene: Perfect. Thank you so much for joining us, and everybody, thank you so much for listening and watching. I promise you, I’ll bring Tiffany back.

Gene: My name is Gene Marks. You’ve been listening and watching the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. If you need any tips or advice or help in running your business, please visit us or We will see you again next time. Take care.

Gene: Thanks so much for joining us on this week’s episode of the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. You like what you hear, please give us a shout-out on your favorite podcast platform. Your ratings, reviews, and your comments really help us formulate our topics and help us grow this podcast. So thank you so much. It’s been great spending time with you. We’ll see you again soon.

Download Our Free eBooks