Episode 183
November 7, 2023

Pizza, Periods, and Pooping

with Miki Agrawal, Founder of TUSHY

About this episode

Today on Stairway to CEO, Miki Agrawal, Founder of TUSHY, speaks passionately about her adventures in life and entrepreneurship, from her multicultural upbringing as an identical twin in Montreal, Canada, to playing soccer for the New York Magic to inventing products in taboo categories and creatively launching, marketing, and scaling them to $50 million and beyond. You’ll also hear about the setbacks, controversy, and revelations she had along the way, plus Miki lets us in on her top three ingredients for creating a successful brand.

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 In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

•   [02:40] Miki’s multicultural childhood in Canada, which she credits for her drive and ambition.

•   [06:26] Memories of creative problem-solving and what Miki wanted to be growing up.

•   [10:51] Her time as the “worst investment banker” in New York, why sleeping through her alarm saved her life, and how 9/11 prompted her to follow her dreams.

•   [23:44] How multiple ACL injuries indirectly led to Miki starting her first business: Wild.

•   [27:08] Taking NYC’s first alternative pizza concept from idea to marketable product.

•   [28:53] What running Wild by herself taught Miki about the value of partnerships.

•   [32:10] How the idea for Thinx was born during a three-legged race at a family BBQ and the important lessons she learned from marketing a taboo product.

•   [39:08] Addressing the controversy that Miki attracted while she was CEO at Thinx.

•   [42:36] Tiny and mighty: the benefits of hiring fewer, more senior people in the startup stage.

•   [43:37] Miki’s three-part formula for changing culture, what’s next for TUSHY, and her community-focused advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

 To Find Out More:

Miki Agrawal

TUSHY

Thinx

Wild

DO COOL SH*T

Disrupt-Her: A Manifesto for the Modern Woman

Miki Agrawal on LinkedIn

Miki Agrawal on Instagram

Miki Agrawal on X

Lee Greene on LinkedIn

Stairway to CEO

Stairway to CEO on Instagram

Quotes:

“[My parents] said, ‘If you see something that you don’t like, you’re somebody. You can go do it.’” [0:05:36]

“There’s no limit to your creative potential. You don’t have to have money, you don’t have to have resources, but you have creativity. That’s available to you at all times.” [0:07:15]

“The mystery of life is that you never know when it’s going to end. The time is right now to make every moment count.” [0:19:58] 

“Pizza is a $32 billion industry. Americans eat 100 acres of pizza every single day. There was a huge opportunity – to take this beloved comfort food and turn it on its head and use gluten-free flours, hormone-free cheese, local seasonal toppings, etc.” [0:26:44]

“I learned about AB testing – by standing outside my restaurant and handing out pizzas for hours and hours, for years and years, and doing that day in and day out..”  [0:30:15] 

“Bringing in someone who’s really good at the thing they’re good at and giving me space to focus on the thing that I’m really good at was such an epiphany for me.” [0:31:19]

“Meet people where they are, make it artful, and make sure the product is excellent: that has been a thesis that has [been] a throughline [in] all of my businesses.” [0:35:24] 

“I prefer [a tiny and mighty team] over many people that can do one job each. Let’s bring in a senior person, pay them more, incentivize them, and get them to do this task at the startup stage. Then, as we grow, let’s bring in more people.” [0:42:57]

“How do you change culture? Best-in-class product; considered, artful design; and accessible, relatable language. That works.” [0:47:51] 

“I’ve always known the importance of community and how cultivating your friendships means a lot.” [0:50:38]

Read the transcript

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