Business & Careers

Be A Disrupt-Her: An Empowering Conversation With Miki Agrawal

BY Carrie Yang

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If you haven’t heard the name Miki Agrawal, you might know of some of the businesses she founded: Wild, Thinx, Speax, TUSHY. She’s the author of two books, Do Cool Sh*t and her newest book that just launched, Disrupt-her: A Manifesto for the Modern Woman.

In my conversation with Miki, we delve into HOW she has disrupted so many industries and her own life and HOW she sees opportunities where others can't.

But first, here's a brief and impressive rundown if you don't know Miki Agrawal or her companies.

Who Is Miki Agrawal?

Miki Agrawal left her career in investment banking to disrupt the restaurant industry in 2006 in her mid-20’s with her gluten-free farm-to-table pizza concept, Wild. She knew that the world and NYC were ready for pizza that was truly better for your body and tasted great years before the “clean eating” and “gluten-free” trend that we’ve recently seen.

Miki then soared to magazine covers when she co-founded Thinx, which disrupted the menstruation market with their patented invention of period panties that you could bleed into that were odorless, wicking, and machine-washable. Thinx became one of the first companies to tackle the then hush-hushed period industry with Miki at the helm. You may remember the iconic grapefruit ad feud with the NYC Subway system. Oh, and they won.

Then there’s Speax, a similar underwear for women who suffer from female incontinence (where you just pee a little) that affects many women including mothers and the elderly.

Now onto TUSHY, the modern attachable bidet company she founded to disrupt the archaic toilet paper industry. This is where I met Miki. I worked with her while I was leading the marketing efforts at TUSHY.

What Does It Mean to Be a Disrupt-Her?

Miki Agrawal is a social crusader and disrupt-her not only in branding, products, and social movements but also in how she lives her personal and public life. In Miki’s newest book, Disrupt-her, she digs into this disrupt-her mindset that’s allowed her to see opportunities in business and daily practices to lead a more fulfilled life.

Disrupt-her digs into 13 areas of our lives that need disruption from money, career, purpose, culture of complaining vs doing, activism, feminism, patriarchy, and more.

This manifesto changed the way I think. It changed my life, and it will change yours. Here's why…

I asked Miki Agrawal why Disrupt-her and why now? The fire in her voice was contagious.

“In building all of these companies with my teams, Wild, Thinx, Speax, and TUSHY all faced resistance at first. But now look at them, they’re all successful and worth a combined 200 million! People’s first reactions were always no. But the success of these period, pee, and poop companies and just doing things a different way proves society is wrong about a lot of things. And it’s not just these things!

woman with long dark hair and a denim hat smiling

It’s really how we operate, how we think about the things in our lives, relationships, our relationship to stuff and things, the education system, activism, career, money, and the patriarchy and feminism. There’s a societally accepted stance on all of these things. And it’s really difficult to stray from it. Especially when it seems easier to stay in the safe path and not ruffle any feathers. You often see that people are afraid to look beyond that barrier of society. But WHY should we care about staying within these societal boundaries?

“We should be questioning everything!”

We should be shifting culture and moving the world forward. With such a short amount of time on the planet, why should we care about what other people think when we know we’re acting on integrity and really trying to leave the world a better place than we entered? I just want to show everyone that we can be disrupt-hers of our own lives and help make the future better!”

But going against the social barriers is hard, it’s scary, and it’s risky! This is what Miki Agrawal had to say about that.

“Disrupting isn’t about fear. It’s really about courage and eliminating shame.”

“Shame plays a big role in what type of person we should be like what we should look like, what kind of car we should drive, how we should act in front of people etc. Thing is, who’s standards are we thinking about? Once you question everything, you can really start to see the opportunities and where you can really make a difference.”

In this book, you’ll LEARN how to spot disruption within even some of the most common beliefs!

“So many areas of our lives need disruption and it all starts with HOW we question and view the world.”

inside pages of Miki Agrawal disrupt-her book
In her own words, I’ve highlighted some of the most impactful points that Miki discussed in our interview on how to think and be a Disrupt-her.

“Question everything in your life.”

“Disruption is first internal and you have to start by questioning every aspect of your life! To a certain extent, you also have to recognize that everything in our society was made up by our fellow humans before us. From our money system to our education system and to the way we wipe our butts after pooping. Toilet paper was literally invented in the 1800s and in an age where we all have smartphones, we’re still wiping the exact same way with dry paper? When you hop in the shower, you don’t just wipe down with dry paper and call yourself clean. You use water! We use water to clean the rest of our body. Why are we still using dry paper to clean the dirtiest part?  That’s why I started TUSHY.

Also, our modern education system is actually based on the industrial revolution!  We’re still sending kids to school where they learn the same way as they did in the industrial revolution where schools were built to make factory workers for the assembly lines.  Kids are still sitting in uniform desks and learning the same way in the factory era where they wanted kids to follow the rules and do what they’re instructed. But our world now needs creative thinkers and kids who know how to solve the problems we face today. We have to disrupt!

As women especially, we HAVE to disrupt the way we think about money. Finance and money based industries have always been male-dominated, so women have always had a tougher time talking about money. When you realize that money is literally an energy exchange that humans have agreed holds value, then you can really change the way you approach it. It's not scary or awkward. You just have to invest your money intelligently! Ellevest is a great tool for women to start investing and to really protect their own future.

If you’re wanting to disrupt an industry, start asking questions about WHY that industry does what they do. Why are they still doing something? What can be improved?

Question your own personal beliefs too! Are the things that you believe societal rules or is it something that we truly believe ourselves?  Why should you stay in this safe job? Do you know why are you following this career path? Why do you feel this is what you should do?”

“Follow your own lit path.”

“We only have 21 thousand days left to live after we graduate college! That’s it! Life is simply too short for us to live by a path given to us by society. Instead, we should be living our own path that you should create for yourself. In the Disrupt-her, I call it the lit path. And what I mean by lit path is following and doing the things that light you up! The lit path should be filled with things that you are excited about learning in this world! You should be passionate about your lit path! When you follow your lit path, you should be closer to making an impact that you hope to have on this world.

miki agrawal disrupt-her book cover

But even then, you have to always question your actions and your beliefs, so you can make sure you’re following your own true lit path.”

“Surround yourself with a community of champions.”

“In this entrepreneurial journey, I’ve gone through the highs of the highs but also the lows. To maintain my mental wellness, I’ve gotten so much support. From my rock-solid community, partner, and leadership coach. For me, my community of friends are all disrupt-hers in their own way. They all get the plight of what it takes to truly disrupt. In order to be an effective disrupt-her, you’ll need to recognize the people who are championing your ideas, your thoughts, your dreams.  Then that’s the people that you need to surround yourself with! Figure out who they are and then schedule meet-ups, hangouts, and just spend time together to lift each other up. There's just no room for the people that bring you down. None.”

“Rather than complain, come up with solutions!”

“I read this study where they found that people literally get together just to complain about their jobs, bosses, lives.  Rather than getting together and complaining, why don’t we bring people together to come with solutions and ideas, positive uplifting, shifting culture, and not just complain about other people or situations?! If you’re unsatisfied with something in your life, think about it from a more productive angle. Come up with a solution, and do it!

For example, if you have a complaint about something at work. Before you go into your boss’s office to complain, you should think about solutions first and then present the solution and issue to your boss. This way, you’re actually way more valuable at your company and people will want you around more!”

If you feel that fire and that drive to figure out your own flavor of disruption in business, your personal life, and your mindset in experiencing the world, READ THIS BOOK.

If you know you have so much more to offer this world, READ THIS BOOK.

If you’re ready to DISRUPT your life, READ THIS BOOK.


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