So today I’m going to talk about how I got started as an entrepreneur. My story of basically moving from Hawaii, coming to New York City and that experience. So stay tuned.
Hi. So when I decided to come to New York City, it was almost on a whim as graduating from the University of Hawaii. And I thought to myself, where should I move? And I talked to a career counselor and they said, well, New York City, there’s no place like it.
So how did I end up in New York City? Well, I graduated from the University of Hawaii and I thought, where should I move to? And I asked my career counselor where would be a good place to move. And she said, well, there’s no place in New York then New York City. At that time I was considering San Francisco or New York, and maybe it seemed like everyone went to San Francisco in Hawaii.
So I thought I will choose the hardest place I could imagine. If it’s the most unique, I must go there.
So off I flew. And the crazy thing is, is that my friend, I actually knew no one. I didn’t have any friends or family in New York City. So I just scared the shit out of my parents and, and I kinda came up with this whole plan of all these people and we like forth like my cousins, friends, daughter’s Auntie like, oh she lives in New York, great call her up. Cause everyone in Hawaii is our friends, right?
Well I had this whole plan, so it makes me feel comfortable. But let me tell you, I did not have a plan. I was winging it and I had like barely $2,000 to cover rent and like feed myself. I mean I was a broke girl. Like they have two broke girls, at least they had each other. I had nobody.
I kind of had a friend my friend Annie so, the only thing that worked for me was that I got on a plane and my friend Annie was doing some type of schooling community college summer program there because she was finishing her time at University of Hawaii. So she was in New York City in Queens, Flushing. So I went to stay with her for two weeks.
So I had two weeks to stay with her, find a place figure out my life. And I basically did that. I got to New York City, I stayed with her in Flushing and I started applying for jobs. Let me tell you, my friend was Craigslist. Like this was, way like 2005 and I basically used craigslist for everything — to find apartments, look for jobs, make new friends ,to go on dates, find people to help me who were also my date. I dunno! It was a long story and it worked out for me.
Not Safe. Do not let your daughter move to New York City. That’s the, that’s the moral of the story. Don’t let them move. It’s a bad idea. Tell them all the horror stories and people get like shot on the subway because I have some stories for you.
But anyways, I did it. I, I found a place in Brooklyn.
Turns out windows are really important. And being the naive person I was at that age, I thought it’s a room. And I would remember like not having a bed so someone lent me a inflatable bed. But the thing about an inflatable bed is it can’t have holes in it. So if it has holes, what happens is when you sleep on it, like it sinks and you’re pretty much on the floor. So it’s not really a bed, but it worked. I mean, maybe it gave me a sense that I wasn’t crazy poor. So I slept on this for a while and it turned out that in New York City in July, when I moved around June/July, it’s really hot and window is a good thing. I think I had a skylight, but I didn’t have a window because it was like a room between other rooms, which probably means it wasn’t really a room before. But anyways, I, I stuck it out and then I there was Wifi. So I, and I had like four other roommates. It was just crazy.
I ended up getting a job in Hawthorne, New York and it was at a jewelry store, a jewelry company, like a wholesale. And I got super excited and they’re like, “well, if you’re going to take this job, you have to actually move closer to Hawthorne because you’re in Brooklyn right now”. I’ve got this place was in Sunset Park. So I said, okay! Craigslist — looking for the clo–. I wanted it to be near New York City so that the, the, the best I could do with something in the Bronx.
So I found an apartment in the south Bronx with a man I never met before and he was like 300 pounds. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that I was a little intimidated, but I was like, I love everyone. It’s all good. So, but it turned out the apartment, the room that I was renting, it was extremely cheap. Wasn’t really — a room is a stretch. It’s, it’s kind of like living room and if you took, took a ply board and you nailed it on two pieces of stick to create a partition and you made a room, that’s, that’s where I was, where there was no sound barrier. And then the floors were just extremely deteriorated that you wouldn’t want to walk on it with your bare feet, which would probably, I probably did cause I’m from Hawaii.
So that’s, that’s where ended up living to take this amazing job in Hawthorne and I ended up traveling like commuting almost two hours each way and pretty much being terrible at this job.
I mean, I was terrible. I would fall asleep. I was supposed to like scroll through the numbers and magically like it was every month. It was like January, February, March, April. And you had to be like, “yes, yes, we need more. We need more heart shape bracelets. That’s definitely March. Oh, I can see the trend. We’re going to need more rings with pandas on it in January. Yep. Let’s order that”. And I was sick. I don’t know what I was doing like, I just didn’t understand how I was supposed to know. And she’d say, “well, you should know that we need to order those things because if there’s a holiday that day or we’re going to be doing a sale”. And I was like, I don’t really know. So I just ended up guessing. I’m like, I think, I guess it just, but I think I did terrible. And the poor person who was managing me was like, “I don’t, you’re not helping me at all”. And I was like, “I’m so sorry”.
It turns out I just wanted to do marketing and I guess I thought working for a jewelry company I would do marketing.I don’t know what I was thinking. But anyways, we parted ways and I was like, I need to get out of this apartment. So within basically a, what is it, two months of living in New York? I lived in no window apartment in Sunset Park. And then I moved to not really a room in the living room, with a man in the South Bronx.
And then after a month of living there, I told my roommate, this is probably too much information, but this is, this is, this is what made me, you know New York. It’s hard knock life. But I told him I was like moving now after, you know, a couple of weeks and he was like, I’m not giving your deposit back. And he started becoming very like mean. And I was like, man, I have to like, I’m supposed to, I don’t have another apartment yet. And I, all my stuff is here and I’m supposed to be here for another two weeks or something or week.
It was, it was really stressful and I stayed with somebody and then I stayed with another friend. All these friends that I just met within that amount of time. And I I ended up finding Oso in craigslist, a girl who was subletting her space, her room, which turned out to be in Chinatown in Manhattan. So if you can imagine if this was something I could afford, which was something like it had to be under $700 and it was in Chinatown and it was a living room. It was very small. It was a size of like a queen size bed maybe.
And then the worst thing about this. So, so my roommate goes and gets mean on me. And then the long story is, you probably don’t know how long, no long story. But the short story is, is that I found this place, I’m super excited. I go to get my my stuff. The guy locks me out of the apartment. I’m crying. This guy who’s helping me, we were probably on some type of date, but also he turned out he had a van and he was helping me. I don’t know. But it was just not good. So I ended up not getting my stuff. And then having to sue him in small claims court.
Moving to Chinatown and not having a job now because I’d quit the other job and kind of living with, it turns out, two other girls in this really tiny apartment. And, and the great news is the girls, turns out, didn’t realize that their roommate was leaving. It’s like she just told them. And one day I showed up. So the sense of friendship we created from that was really great. It was like, we like you because you — a random person who showed up in our living room and there was like no, like surrounding partition for the living room. So they would just walk out and be like, “stranger danger, stranger danger, who is this girl?” And even though I became friends with one of them, basically what happened is, is weirdly enough, we were really, this one girl and I were really good friends. Weirdly enough, like within like three or four months they, they kind of kicked me out.
So it was like a tour of New York City, I would say like a tour of all the boroughs in a really, like how to make friends and how to not make friends and get a job is really like really rough.
And I just remember being so scared at different times, especially with that guy and my stuff and being afraid. And just crying, like telling my parents to call me cause I was scared. And my mom then tell me, you know, you can always come back. But to me that wasn’t really an option. So I, I stuck it out. I ended up after living there for a couple of months and then being kicked out, I ended up kind of moving in with someone I was seeing at that time. So I mean, I guess I ended up finding the place I was with him for a little bit.
So that was my crazy story of how I tried different places and you know, it was rough. And, and how it was actually, it was really rough finding a job.
And I thought, should I start my own business? Cause I always wanted to start a business.
But I think what ended up ultimately happening after doing, I did telemarketing, I did sales, I did all kinds of things. Okay. I was like, give me a job. I will prove myself. I ended up doing, I ended up finding a job teaching tennis and it was generally well paid and then I could go and have some time to try to start my own business, which is what I wanted to do. So I tried to do a clothing business, a little bit of a child’s clothing business. And then I realized that there’s a lot of money to make in tennis. So I remember emailing someone — put a, posting an ad on craigslist and someone emailing, you know, — posting ad on craigslist about offering tennis lessons and someone emailing me how much it would cost.
And I remember thinking, oh, what would I charge them? And I just like thought of a number and like $60 for an hour seemed like a lot of money to me at the time. And I was like, okay, sure. So I just, I said $16. They’re like, okay. And I was like, awesome. So I just had to find a tennis court, which was kind of weird, but I’ve kind of found one on the lower east side. So that sort of, that is basically how I started my tennis teaching career, but my realization that that could be a business.
And from there I started doing more lessons and thinking, how can I get more locations? Because that was what was the biggest thing that was hard about tennis in New York City is finding tennis courts or a place to play tennis. And that was the start of Bumblebee tennis.
Like, you know, I would just basically search and search and figure out innovative ways to create tennis courts in the city.
And so in another video I’m going to talk about Bumblebee tennis and my awesome, crazy ride with running like one of the, I would say, one of the largest tennis schools in the city, and that we had so many locations. You know, we got to almost to half a million dollars in revenue, and we had leases with the city. We were doing summer camps in Gramercy and lower east side. And I don’t know if you did summer camp, but we did. Chelsea, we did classes on the upper west side, so we were all over the place and it was like so awesome, but really stressful.
So stayed tuned.
So in the next podcast we’re going to go over bumblebee tennis.
And so I think the biggest takeaway from all of that, I just, I just remember thinking to myself, God, I hope this just is one of those great stories I can tell one day. And, and that, that makes it useful because this fucking sucks. This fucking sucks. I’m scared of my mind. And like I have no friends. I don’t know if that’s changed, but at least I can tell the story now.