Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Anne Oliver, the founder and CEO of House of M Beauty and House of M Wellness. Anne is an immigrant from Vietnam, having migrated to the United States at a young age, where she has since developed her passion for beauty and skincare.
First, let’s talk about your business. Tell me about it, and what kind of work you do.
I am the founder and CEO and House of M Beauty and House of M Wellness. These brands were founded on the principles of clean ingredients with a purpose. House of M Beauty is a saffron infused French skin care line that focuses on the use of the incredible ingredient, antioxidant-rich, saffron as it’s foundation.
Our sister brand, House of M Wellness, is a clean supplement line that is made from real foods. I wanted to bring high-quality supplements that are affordable and each with its own purpose. We have a wide range of supplements all from collagen, apple cider to our 100% Pure Saffron Extract. Clean beauty and wellness that provide results is our mission and I love being able to create these products and decide every step of the process so I can ensure quality products. I’m my own customer!
What unique challenges have you experienced as an Asian-American in business?
There have been many hurdles to overcome being an Asian-American business owner and women. Still to this day people do not expect someone like me to have founded these brands. There is clear discrimination and sometimes very subtle – both are just as difficult to overcome.
Have you experienced a noticeable difference in discrimination since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. I think this pandemic brought forward a justification to act on racism in some horrible way. I think media coverage of racially insensitive politicians definitely pushed a negative agenda which left many people feeling like it is okay to think such negative beliefs about an entire group of people.
How do you cope with discrimination, and what might you suggest to other Asian-American professionals who might be facing the same discrimination?
Fortunately, I am very close to my Vietnamese community. Discussing our hurdles with family, friends and fellow Asian business owners creates a safe space where we openly talk about what we see and experience but most importantly we support each other.
What are some of the key factors in overcoming acts of discrimination?
Supporting family, friends and colleagues is the foundation in overcoming any negative aspects of life. Our community is big on reaching out to fellow Asian-American business owners and collaborating with each other to make sure we have the help and support needed to succeed.
What can non-Asian Americans do to support their Asian American friends and colleagues who are facing discrimination in the workplace or on the street?
Calling out racism when you hear it or see it. As I previously mentioned, a lot of the racism/ discrimination the Asian community faces is subtle. It may come in the form of jokes or stereotypes, but when it is allowed, it keeps on growing and it begins to negatively impact in ways that it becomes more than a joke. It can evolve into hateful acts. If you hear subtle jokes that have a negative basis, call them out, correct them and educate them.