Stephen Mai Podcast Transcript

 Stephen Mai Podcast TranscriptListen to episode here

Stephan Mai Woo: [00:00:00] He said to me, people like us don't work in media. There's nobody that looks like us there. The anytime I see Asians is when they were talking about how they were in gangs or how they were like taking over the country. Ultimately, I wanted to get into media so I can put a different point of view. I can go to ITV and say, I'm gonna build this media brand.

Stephan Mai Woo: I'm gonna get four and a half thousand products. I'm going to work with the biggest celebrities in the world. And they say how, or I'll say, well, look at historical evidence. Every single thing that I've done, Everybody said it's not possible. So if I've done it there and I've done it for this brand and I've done it for this brand, statistically it should mean that I can do it for my brand.

Stephan Mai Woo: Woo is essentially redefining wellness for Gen Z.

Amardeep Pamar: Welcome to THE BAE  HQ . Very inspire and guide the next generation of British Asian smash that subscribe button if you watch on YouTube. And if it's a five star review, if you're watching this on Apple or Spotify today we have with us Steven May, who's the [00:01:00] founder and CEO of Woo. They're a media brand, a marketplace that's redefining wellness for Gen Z and they're backed by I itv.

Amardeep Pamar: How  are you doing today? 

Stephan Mai Woo:Yeah, I'm good. How are you?

Amardeep Pamar: Yeah, great. So how you met was really interesting cuz you were just sitting on the same table as me at our co-working space, 

Stephan Mai Woo: probably talking shit. 

Amardeep Pamar: Yeah, definitely. I heard some of the stuff you were saying like, oh, that's interesting. Then I was kind of slightly Googling you on the side.

Amardeep Pamar: Yeah. Okay. I wanna talk to this guy then. 

Stephan Mai Woo: How did you get my name?

Amardeep Pamar:  Because I think you were talking to the person. I think you were on a call or something like that. Yeah. And then you had your zoom open so I could see your name on your Zoom. 

Stephan Mai Woo:Oh, okay.

Amardeep Pamar: It was very stalkish how it worked out. I was like, okay, this guy's really cool.

Amardeep Pamar: I wanna chat to him. 

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah.

Amardeep Pamar:Then I was like, oh hi, by the way. But like when we chatted, you also talked about how. What you're doing now. It wasn't necessarily expected of you when you were growing up. 

Stephan Mai Woo:Yeah.

Amardeep Pamar:And you had a very different path kind of laid out for you. Can you talk a bit about that? Like what did you think you'd be when you were growing up?

Stephan Mai Woo:Yeah. 

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. Well I come from, so I'm Asian Australian. I come from, I guess like a first generation immigrant background. And you know [00:02:00] like when your parents are like refugees, And have built everything from scratch and given you every opportunity that they never had. The expectation is you become a doctor, you become, you work in finance, or you do something that is going to make you money.

Stephan Mai Woo: I've always been less of a math person and more of a, I guess like a creative person. So it didn't really connect. So like, you know, in my head, I always. Thought, oh, okay. I'll do economics or I'll be in finance. And the way that I kind of tied it to the fantasy of like, you know, wanting to be creative and working media is I'd just be like, oh, I'd watch movies and TV shows and be like, oh yeah, well this character's a lawyer and this character's in finance.

Stephan Mai Woo: I can imagine a life where that could be possible, but obviously I just wasn't very good at those things. So, yeah, and I guess like even when I told my dad, That I wanted to work in media. He kind of said to me like, people like us don't work in media. There's nobody that looks like us there like that will never accept you, which isn't necessarily untrue from where where we were [00:03:00] standing in Australia like.

Stephan Mai Woo: The media is exceptionally white and it's also very, um, there's a lot of nepotism and like, you know, there was no way for me to get in and when I did, I was one of the very few people of color in the businesses that I worked for. So they weren't wrong. But I guess like I've been able to kind of develop or build my own path to kind of, I guess, work in media and, um, you know, I've been able to kind of work for.

Stephan Mai Woo: Some of the brands that I've always like admired. So like, you know, MTV was my first job. I did that in Australia. It's the best place I've ever worked. 

Amardeep Pamar: Considering your dad said that  to you? Yeah. Did you ever doubt that media was the right path, or how did you actually go about  getting that first job and getting into the industry?

Stephan Mai Woo: So  I actually left uni, so I, I studied economics at university. Year one failed. And then I just thought, you know what, I'm just gonna transfer to a degree where I, there's stuff that I'm interested in. I ended up doing media and cultural studies and that was really cool and interesting and I guess I just started meeting people that were.

Stephan Mai Woo: I guess like in terms of [00:04:00] interest, in terms of passion points were more aligned with mine. I left, then I became a travel agent because I loved traveling and I couldn't find a job in media. And actually the only job that even came close to media was an internship at a magazine called Picture Magazine, which is owned by, I guess like the Conde Nast of Australia.

Stephan Mai Woo: At the time it was called a PC or ACP Picture Magazine was basically almost like a porn magazine, and it was an editorial assistant role for like. That was paying like 10K pound a year. That, and I didn't get it. And then after I was, became a travel agent, and to be honest, I didn't really know how I was gonna get into media, but I had a friend that got a job at MTV and because I saw that he had done it, I was, it made me think that maybe it wasn't impossible.

Stephan Mai Woo: And you know, that. That's what I pursued and that's how I ended up in mtv. First job was just kind, I, I was willing to take any jobs. The first job, I was just moving ads around and it was like a really boring job, but I was so excited cuz I was in the building. I could see all these other jobs that I wanted and see all the, these people being [00:05:00] creative and doing things that I was like, oh my God, I can't believe I can see all this in real life.

Stephan Mai Woo: And because I could see all the jobs, it then became a very clear path of how I wanted to get there. So I just went into campaign mode because I saw that actually the people that were doing my job. They'd been around for years and they're still doing that job. And I was like, there's no way I can do this job for like two, three years.

Stephan Mai Woo: So I just started volunteering for everything. I started like finding ways to show people how creative I was, and that eventually evolved into a role that I wanted in the department that I wanted and, and that's pretty much the beginning of my career in the water media. 

Amardeep Pamar: What was that first role that you actually wanted? What did you do?

Stephan Mai Woo: So it was the client partnerships role in Ad sales. And the reason why I really wanted that role was the Asian side of me was like, well, I need to find a creative job that will. The commercial that will fund the career. So advertising seems make sense. It was also a very central role, which meant that you worked with creative, you worked with production, you worked with [00:06:00] marketing, and you worked with programming, and you worked with talent, which means that I knew that having that role given me a really good understanding on of all the different departments, how they work.

Stephan Mai Woo: And also because you were leading kind of like 360 projects, like encompassed events, tvc, and all this stuff. It meant that. I was also thinking very much about how am I gonna build my cv? And to be able to kind of say then you've, you know, worked on campaign for big brands on the MTV Awards and this is how you, what you executed and all this other stuff.

Stephan Mai Woo: It felt to me like the quickest pathway to build a portfolio of work that was interesting and tangible. Or, and also encompassed a lot of different areas in case I needed to diversify down the line. So even moving to creative, I was constantly thinking about like, how do I future proof what I'm trying to do here?

Amardeep Pamar: You, you mentioned that about the CV and the portfolio. Yeah. What were you, I guess, building that portfolio towards it? Did you have a dream role? 

Stephan Mai Woo: In, well, I guess in my head I was like, I decided that I wanted to be in marketing, but also I knew the marketing department at [00:07:00] MTV was a really hard one to get into.

Stephan Mai Woo: I guess like, and then there was the other part I was like, I wanted to work in content, so, so I was writing for the website. For free actually in my spare time. And so there were two paths essentially. And I was happy with either, so I needed to hedge my bets to make sure that I would had enough stuff that I could basically go in either of those directions.

Amardeep Pamar: And then off that you did quite a few other big roles, right? Yeah. And where did you go on from mtv? 

Stephan Mai Woo: So mtv, I decided like MTV was great because it like allowed me to kind of do a lot and Australia's not a very big market, so it was like, what else do I do in Australia? I decided at that point I wanted to move to London cuz I wanted to kind of like, I guess like.

Stephan Mai Woo: Do more things and kind of like be a part of like the global culture. And in my head I was like, well, I really wanna work for a place like Vice. So that was kind of in my vision board. Came to the UK and there was like, you know, I did freelance or MTV, I worked for a couple of agencies, but Vice was kind of the goal.

Stephan Mai Woo: And actually right before my Visa was about to expire, I got a job at Vice in [00:08:00] Marketing. Within that role it was, you know, driving audience, building brand for all of the vice channels and ID, which was. Like, you know, like a massive crazy dream ‘cause I never in my wildest dream could imagine I could work for like a global fashion magazine like that.

Stephan Mai Woo: So yeah, so that was kind of like my first like big role in the UK. Then I went on to ASOS for a bit, I guess like the first big marketing job at LAD Bible, where I basically turned them from a clickbait publisher into kind of a platform for social change. And within that I did big campaigns around mental health.

Stephan Mai Woo: Then, I did the trash aisle, which is one of, I guess it was like the first really big plastic in the ocean campaign. Ended up winning like all the awards and it's one that I'm really proud of. And then post that, I was at Boiler Room where I kind of led. The content marketing and, um, design division and then kind of like, I guess like help run the company with the CEO.

Stephan Mai Woo: And then I guess like after that it was like I was, I was feeling a bit burnt out and I ended up moving to Bali for this really great job at a. [00:09:00] Company called Potato Head and that was really interesting. But it was essentially like a job in London, in Bali. So pandemic hit left Bali and I had the head space and I was like, okay, well what do I wanna do after Boiler Room?

Stephan Mai Woo: I decided I didn't wanna work for any more people and I wanted to create a new media brand, but I also knew that the media model didn't really work. And we've seen that with both Feed News and Vice and all these companies that have now kind of like, you know, fading into oblivion. So, I was like, okay, if I'm gonna build a media brand, it needs to be built on a different model.

Stephan Mai Woo: So, um, that's where I kind of created Woo. It's a model that is built around e-commerce and I wanted to create it built around a purpose. And because of the we state of the world and because I think media and society has done a really good job, I guess, informing people with information around kind of mental health and anxiety.

Stephan Mai Woo: And everyone has the language around it, but actually nobody has the solutions and any of the solutions and rituals that exist are very kind of, I [00:10:00] guess, like they're very targeted to like middle class white women and they're not very cool, not very aspirational, not aligned with culture. So I was like, okay, well what if you took all those things that could be helpful to a lot of people and you put it through a youth?

Stephan Mai Woo: Full cultural lens. So you made it more, ID more hype based and less goop. And that's kind of how Woo came about. And it was, I decided, I basically decided I've got this idea, I'm gonna like do the startup route. It just so happened that someone posted on LinkedIn, the IT v was gonna fund the next generation media businesses.

Stephan Mai Woo: I was like, well, this is the full proof proposition. I've built a career on doing things that everyone said was impossible. So I was like, okay, fine, I'm going to submit it. And then I did. And essentially six months later I did six months of her pitching and then they funded it. And then we launched it in April last year.

Stephan Mai Woo: And yeah, we just turned a year old. 

Amardeep Pamar: So you mentioned there like amazing journey and you said about how you left Australia for London. Yeah. Because of the opportunities. Yeah. And you said when you were growing up before, there [00:11:00] wasn't really opportunities for people who look like you. 

Stephan Mai Woo Yeah.

Amardeep Pamar: In Australia.

Stephan Mai Woo Yeah.

Amardeep Pamar: Yeah. Did you find that when you moved here, that the attitudes were different? Did you find more doors open or what was your experience there? 

Stephan Mai Woo: So the, the difference is I feel like age, being Asian in Australia, Asians are the dominant minority. So, That being the dominant minority means also the attention.

Stephan Mai Woo: Sometimes negative attention is placed on people that look like me. So like, I guess like in the UK where the differences were was like east being East Asian isn't the dominant identity. So actually like pre Covid. You're pretty much invisible, right? So in some ways it was different because it felt quite freeing to not see yourself in the news and not see the moral panic around, kind of like people that look like you and all that other stuff.

Stephan Mai Woo: Not that it's any better seeing it targeted towards other groups, but like it was a difference. But I would say, Was it more welcoming? Probably not. Like I think in the UK there's [00:12:00] definitely a bias around kind of like new people trying to get into an industry, but I think once you establish yourself, it does become quite

Stephan Mai Woo: I guess like more open, but I don't know, like I would be lying if I didn't see a lot of nepotism and if I didn't see, like, until very recently, a very, a lack of diversity. Like I wouldn't be wrong in saying that I was always one of two or three Asians in an entire company if there was even two or three Asians.

Stephan Mai Woo: So, so yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: How do you think you smashed through that glass ceiling? Or like, how did you get yourself a seat at the table. 

Stephan Mai Woo: I think there was a point, and I dunno if this is a controversial thing to say, but I think there was a point where I realized that I needed to stop thinking like a first generation Asian-Australian

Stephan Mai Woo: like, and that meaning like the things that my parents taught me, like, be humble, head down, work hard, blah, blah, blah. Like, yes, you still have to work hard. Yes, you have to do all that stuff. But actually, if I look at some of the other groups that are succeeding or the [00:13:00] dominant group, what they do is they say things for bravado.

Stephan Mai Woo: They, they oversell what they do. And they're really good at communicating and building relationships with people that are gonna drive their career. So essentially at a certain point I was like, I'm achieving all these things. They're all tangible results. I'm not necessarily progressing the way other people are.

Stephan Mai Woo: So I guess like what I started to think is like, well, maybe I need to start thinking like a white man. So how do you kind of like have that confidence in bravado to just actually tell people the truth and communicate your successes and not be ashamed about being proud of the things that you've achieved because I think culturally, sometimes we are ashamed about our successes because we don't wanna look like we're begging ourselves up.

Stephan Mai Woo: And I think that's also part of Australian culture as well. Like people don't like people that do that, whereas I think to succeed. Sometimes you have to. And so I think that's how I've kind of broke through. And also as well, because of my, the way that I think I've always, [00:14:00] every job, I think in terms of CV building, I've always done that.

Stephan Mai Woo: So even within the UK, every single job is like, okay, right. What are the most crazy bat shit things do I want to achieve here that no one else has achieved in this role? And then I'm gonna set that self as. Set that as a goal. I'm gonna tell everyone that that's what I'm gonna do and then I'm gonna achieve it.

Stephan Mai Woo: And once I've achieved all these things that nobody in that role has ever done, I'm going to move on and find a bigger challenge and then basically smash that. And because it reached the point where like you can't argue tangible results and you can't argue things that like you are, you know, a key driver of, right.

Stephan Mai Woo: Because it's just like, you know, and if you look at all my work, you can see my DNA across all of it. So it's like, at a certain point, you just have to look at historical evidence. So I think that's how you break through the glass ceiling. So I can go to ITV and say, I'm gonna build this media brand.

Stephan Mai Woo: I'm gonna get four and a half thousand products. I'm going to work with the biggest celebrities in the world. And they say how when you, [00:15:00] when most people can't do that, or I'll say, well look at historical evidence. Every single thing that I've done. Everybody said it's not possible. So if I've done it there and I've done it for this brand and I've done it for this brand, statistically it should mean that I can do it for my brand.

Stephan Mai Woo: So I, I think evidence and proof and just actually thinking about things in a way that allows you to circumvent, I guess like negative, I guess not negative feedback, but I guess like naysayers. Because actually if you're good at that, then you've convinced people of your worth and then that's how you kind of break through and that's where the opportunities come from.

Amardeep Pamar: Yeah, and you mentioned there as well about like the, how the evidence, what you've done so far gives people the belief that you can do whatever you put yourself. Forward for now. Can you go through this? You mentioned a few of the things you did right? Where you did a LAD bible. The awardee you’ve one . Yeah. Could you talk about that?

Amardeep Pamar: Like here's a platform to beat yourself about the work you did. And I also, what I wanna understand too is like you sent like originally about the creativity will go into media space. 

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah.

Amardeep Pamar: But a [00:16:00] lot of the work you mentioned as well had a real purpose behind it too. 

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: With the mental health and changing things to become more like deeper and meaning, right.

Amardeep Pamar: Actually meaningful.

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: Where did that side of things come into play as well? Like why did you go down that route?

Stephan Mai Woo: So I guess like in terms of purpose and all this stuff, the reason I went into media is because I'd never felt like I had a voice. I felt like people like, you know, like and prior to like maybe three or four years ago, never saw an Asian person in a movie or in a TV show.

Stephan Mai Woo: And when we did, they were always portrayed negatively. Growing up in Australia all the time, the only time I see Asians is when they were talking about how they were in gangs or how they were like taking over the country or whatever. So ultimately, I wanted to get into media so I can basically put a different point of view.

Stephan Mai Woo: And I guess like because of the situations I've been in, I'm very empathetic towards kind of making a positive difference in the world. So, you know, like having access to these audiences and also being able to look at the business objectives and then also marry it up with things that I'm passionate about.

Stephan Mai Woo: That's when you [00:17:00] can create real power because you're doing things that are actually. Driving the company forward, but then subsequently you're also leveraging things that can make real, genuine cultural impact. So that's kind of where that's come from In terms of, I guess like tangible results and kind of like what I've done, I, I think like, you know, advice it would, for me it was about like, you know, I was brought in to double their audience and kind of help them drive scale.

Stephan Mai Woo: So that was something that was a big thing there. And then obviously as a part of that, there's like the brand strategy, the social strategy, because like, Or that is designed to drive growth. At the time with LAD Bible, they couldn't get any advertisers. People didn't think they were like a brand that was safe.

Stephan Mai Woo: So what I did was redefine what lad me meant by creating impactful, creative, social driven, social purpose-driven campaigns to demonstrate that actually their audience. Was the opposite of what you might think and that ended up helping them kind of unleash. So like a lot of kind of like big brand [00:18:00] partnerships.

Stephan Mai Woo: So I think like, You know, like I always look at the, I guess like what the objectives of the business are and then I try to find creative ways to tell stories and match that with content, to use it to kind of drive cultural impact. That's kind of like my specialty. And I guess like after you do it a few times, you start to understand how those ecosystems work and how those things marry together.

Stephan Mai Woo: And I guess like now it's just become kind of a little bit like second nature. 

Amardeep Pamar: That's incredible. Interesting Craig. I guess a lot of people, for example, they would've seen those changes as media organizations. But not really knowing you were behind it. So for example, I knew that LAD Bible was what it was before, back in the day.

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: But I had no idea it was you who did that.

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar:Until I met you. Right. And that's the kind of story, part of it's about getting out there, right. Showing that

Stephan Mai Woo:  yeah, 

Amardeep Pamar: that was an Asian who did that. 

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: Where sometimes people might have no  idea about that.

Stephan Mai Woo: A hundred percent. Well I guess also as well, like at certain brands, they don't kind of like let you talk about your work publicly.

Stephan Mai Woo: Right. And it, and I guess like in since [00:19:00] then, like with Boiler Room and with my own business, There's definitely a freedom to do that, but yeah, a hundred percent. Like I, I, I think like LAD bible's probably the first time I started to like, talk about the work I did a little bit more publicly and also a lot more vigor because like ultimately they never would've done any of that stuff if it wasn't for me.

Stephan Mai Woo: So like fundamentally I felt like I had a right to, but I, I actually think like it was really uncomfortable for me. And even now, like I do things on LinkedIn and other platforms that actually contradict. The way that I want to do things, because it doesn't, because it's not natural for me to talk about how great I am, or that the work that I've done is like, you know, impactful, whatever.

Stephan Mai Woo: But on the flip side, these are things I'm all driven by passion and I am proud of a lot of that stuff. And actually, if it means that I feel a little bit like a dickhead sometimes. But like we get more advertisers or more people know about the good things that we're doing, then maybe that doesn't matter.

Stephan Mai Woo: [00:20:00] Right. So I think for me it's trying to almost like go against the grain of the things that I've been taught because I've seen obvious impact for doing it in this other way. 

Amardeep Pamar: And  so you mentioned with Lewis, well, right, ‘cause you're going into any business now you've got control. You can say what you want in anyways.

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah.

Amardeep Pamar: And you said when you pitched it to ITV, what was it about the pitch that you think really got it? So obviously your history. Yeah. But what about what you said you're gonna do in the future? 

Stephan Mai Woo: I think  I have a very clear vision. I think one of the things that I am really good at is coming up with an idea and being able to kind of tell you exactly how I'm gonna execute it.

Stephan Mai Woo: So with Woo, I built a media brand. That had a social strategy, marketing strategy, comm strategy, content strategy, or kind of like design and working together alongside how we're going to use that media proposition to drive our e-commerce proposition, right? So, Usually with media brands or businesses, you have found a CEO who comes off with an idea and brings people into, build all those other elements.[00:21:00] 

Stephan Mai Woo: And then there's usually conflict because not everyone's aligned and all this other stuff. I guess like the U S P around kind of what we've done is I've built everything because I've had experience in all those areas to work in conjunction with each other, which means that we can be quite agile ‘cause you know, we don't have the biggest budget in the world and we can be quite impactful.

Stephan Mai Woo: Because every single thing that we're doing has intention and I've been able to bring in an amazing team on board to kind of like help bring that to life and add their own flavor to it. But ultimately, everything that we do fits in with the other parts of the business, and I think that's why we've been able to kind of move forward very quickly.

Stephan Mai Woo: And I think that's what I T V appreciated because everything was strategically considered. And actually every single objection or question mark they had around the business I already had an answer to because I thought about everything from the bottom up. 

Amardeep Pamar: And how have you found it running your own business?

Amardeep Pamar: ‘Cause obviously beforehand you were leading this massive teams, but you didn't have the [00:22:00] ultimate decision about 

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: The guidance. Right. And now you've got that full control. 

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: How's that transition been? 

Stephan Mai Woo: It's really good for my mental health. Um, So I think what that essentially means, the reason I say it's good for my mental health is because ultimately you can't get frustrated at things that go wrong if you are ultimately in control.

Stephan Mai Woo: There's definitely things that you are still not in control of and that doesn't really, I think that doesn't really change no matter where you are because you still have people you need to report into. I'd say though, the biggest difference is I've been able to, I guess I've been able to, Integrate the things that I found helpful and eliminate the things that I found toxic about the businesses that I've worked for.

Stephan Mai Woo: But that being said, it doesn't mean that new problems don't come up and things that maybe I found toxic and horrible and removing those in my head would make for a better workplace. Maybe there are other things that other people find that. Don't work for them. So like, I don't [00:23:00] know, like, so I guess like, ultimately what I'm trying to do is build, uh, the, I guess like a workplace that exists.

Stephan Mai Woo: In a world that I would want to work for. And I guess it's like an ever evolving thing, but I think the fact that I have some control around what that looks like is ultimately very rewarding. And it's something that, to me, diminishes a lot of stress cuz the thing that I find. Infuriating is inefficiency and just kind of like lack of collaboration.

Stephan Mai Woo: And I think because of the position I'm in, I'm a, I'm able to foster that even though it doesn't always work.

Amardeep Pamar: So some people listening right now can have their own companies or trying to foster that same kind of collaboration. Yeah. What tips would you have for them, or how do you build that? Kind of culture.

Stephan Mai Woo: Well, and so I don't have it right. And I think it's definitely a work in progress, but I think the things that our business have that some of the businesses that I, I've worked for haven't had is there's a real clear vision. There's a real clear purpose, and there's a real clear strategy on how we're gonna get to that vision and that [00:24:00] purpose.

Stephan Mai Woo: And that means everybody should have. A very clear idea of what they're working towards and how they should, how they should get there. So I feel like that to me is fundamentally really important. I think I. The other thing is to coach people into getting out of their comfort zones. So out of the comfort zones doesn't necessarily mean like doing things that are like maybe more innovative or more like challenging, which I also encourage, but getting out of the comfort zones into being able to kind of communicate to their managers if they're feeling overwhelmed, communicate to their managers if

Stephan Mai Woo: they need their stuff reprioritized and to kind of create, have some onus and responsibility of their own kind of like wellbeing within the workplace. ‘Cause what we can do is create a framework to help, to create a place that has like balance. And you know, like we encourage people to only work within their hours.

Stephan Mai Woo: We encourage like constructive feedback and we, we give people mental health [00:25:00] days and all these other things. But ultimately, you know, if you're not good at your job, It's not, it's gonna be stressful if you are not. Um, if you are overworked and you're not communicating to your boss and your boss doesn't know, that's gonna be stressful.

Stephan Mai Woo: There's definitely an element of personal responsibility that I think sometimes people don't really think about, and that's something that I really want to instill within the team because people kind of help you if they don't know what's wrong. 

Amardeep Pamar: How many employees do you have now? How many people? 

Stephan Mai Woo: Well, around 40.

Amardeep Pamar: Yeah. And that, that's obviously grown quite a short amount of time as well, right? Yeah. Yeah. So we've been around for a year, and in that space of a year, it's obviously grown very quickly like that. 

Stephan Mai Woo: Mm-hmm. 

Amardeep Pamar: But also the impact and the growth you've had in terms of consumers. What are some of the things that you had in that initial plan that maybe didn't work?

Amardeep Pamar: How you expected and you had to adapt and pivot? 

Stephan Mai Woo: I think. Maybe some of the things, it's tricky because like I feel like so many things have happened and so many things have come out exactly the way I wanted, if not better than the way that I wanted. I [00:26:00] guess maybe some of the challenges is like, I guess like we still within the framework of a big business like ITV and there's definitely conflict.

Stephan Mai Woo: In how a startup works, this is how big business works, that's ultimately caused maybe some delays and maybe some like a slower turnaround time on some of the things that I wanted to experiment with. But yeah, I'd, I'd probably say that was probably the biggest thing in terms of like reception. In terms of like how people kind of engage with the brand.

Stephan Mai Woo: It's been really amazing. And you know, like on one side, I guess like the part of my brain that has self-doubt is surprised and pleasantly surprised. But then there's another part of my brain that kind of already knew that this was gonna happen because I. Felt like we were developing something that was not only interesting, but I think very needed in the context of today's society.

Amardeep Pamar: Let's say some people who are Gen Z right now are listening. Yeah. And they haven't used Woo yet. Yeah. What would be your version of telling them why it's something they should [00:27:00] check out?

Stephan Mai Woo: So I guess like Woo is essentially redefining wellness for Gen Z, and what that means is basically taking this idea of wellness and integrating it into culture.

Stephan Mai Woo: So there's. We do this through storytelling, we do this through entertainment, we do this through products, and a lot of the things are designed to help people navigate kind of the stresses of the modern world. So I'll give you an example. Um, we have a series called High Frequencies, and basically that's built around this idea of sound healing.

Stephan Mai Woo: So when you go to sound healing in like, let's just say London, it's usually a bit woo woo. There's balls. Sometimes there's a guy in dreadlocks and it just feels like, it just feels a bit cheesy. Very good, very Gwynne Paltrow. It's like, what if we could take that concept, which is essentially, there are frequencies that trigger things in your brain to calm you down, to make you feel more relaxed, to make you, to put you into a trance.

Stephan Mai Woo: What if we've got neuroscientists. To take those frequencies and put them to tracks from like pop stars, like Ash Niko or Beaba [00:28:00] Doobee or Vegan, and then create like an immersive experience that can be leveled, that can be distributed digitally. Then we're getting people that are interested in those pop stars or interested in those tracks to essentially.

Stephan Mai Woo: Physically feel something and to physically feel something and be like, Hey, if this works, what else works? So we've got a hypnotherapy series that's coming out with, um, one of the stars from Avatar, and it's literally a 30 minute session where if you watch this video, you will get into a trance. You will get hypnotized.

Stephan Mai Woo: And, and that's again, taking something that. Is maybe not very accessible and putting it through a pop culture lens. And then beyond that as well, like we have fashion, we have wellness, we have like music, art. We're essentially a cultural proposition. The reason why wellness is integrated into every facet is because the head space of society at the moment, like I think Gen Z.

Stephan Mai Woo: Uh, quite frustrated with the state of the world. They're quite [00:29:00] frustrated with the media brands that speak to them in a way that maybe is a bit condescending, and maybe we just talk a lot, but there's no solutions. What we're trying to do is provide solutions, but not hit people over the head with them.

Stephan Mai Woo: Just make them so easy. Make them so interesting or entertaining that they just integrate it into their lives without even thinking about it. And I think, and I think, you know, that's why it's an exciting proposition. 

Amardeep Pamar: And what's the dream for, all right. Where, where do you see this someday ending up? 

Stephan Mai Woo: I guess like at the moment, the marketplace only sell to the UK and you know, ideally we would expand that globally.

Stephan Mai Woo: And I think, you know, there are so many amazing brands across wellness and fashion that we really want on our platform that currently don't exist in the UK so that would be something. But I think ultimately, so we kind of, like with Woo, we kind of call the, we kind of call like our universe. The universe, right?

Stephan Mai Woo: And this is kind of like a third reality, the most optimistic part of your brains. It's like we don't reject reality, but [00:30:00] we try to see the best of it. And we try to come up with solutions to make people feel less helpless. Right. So what if we can create physical spaces that kind of integrate wellness, travel, culture, design and relaxation?

Stephan Mai Woo: Like that would be the ultimate dream for me to kind of create these spaces or resorts or these destinations that can encompass this third reality that, um, we're trying to create digitally. 

Amardeep Pamar: That's like really interesting to see. I fascinated to see like where this story ends up as well. Cause obviously you're only a year in so far we've already achieved so much.

Amardeep Pamar: So it's been interesting to see like what happens in the future and like when all these things that you're planning now when they come to fruition as well. 

Stephan Mai Woo: Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: But we're gonna have to move to the quick fire questions now for timing wise. 

Stephan Mai Woo:Yeah. 

Amardeep Pamar: So the first one is, who are three British Asians? They love to shout out that you think people should be paying attention to.

Stephan Mai Woo: Yes. Uh, my friend Ravi, who is the. CEO or  founder of Khalsa, collaborator of um, lot of W's content and, you know, someone who is a visionary when it comes to content creation [00:31:00] and brand consultancy, I guess, like Susie Lau, Susie Bobble, um, a real pioneer in the fashion space and, you know, driving advocacy for, um, British Asians.

Stephan Mai Woo: And then my friend Amar um, from Boiler Room. He is the creative director of Boiler Room, but he also was the founder of For Free, which is a platform I worked on when I was there, which he's just super interesting. He's has like an amazing tutorial eye. He's just like kind of on the forefront of culture and he's constantly, surprisingly with the stuff that he's working on.

Amardeep Pamar: Yeah, amazing. So everybody check those people out. Next one is, if people listen right now, could look for help or guidance from you. What should they reach out about?

Stephan Mai Woo: I guess? I guess the things that I wish I had help or guidance around that I think I can offer as is advice on how to kind of like plan out your career or your roadmap.

Stephan Mai Woo: I think I'm very good at manifestation and I think I'm very good at kind of like figuring out what those ladders are, but I. I, I think like I did a [00:32:00] lot of things the hard way and I kind of don't want everyone else to kind of like follow that same path. So I think there's definitely some learnings that I wish, um, somebody had imparted on me when I was kind of, you know, like moving in into the, I guess like the career ladder.

Stephan Mai Woo: But I guess like in terms of like marketing content, driving, like, you know, pitching businesses, those are all things that I can definitely help with. 

Amardeep Pamar: And then on the other side, is there anything that you need help with right now, or. We need to help with, 

Stephan Mai Woo: I guess we're always looking for young directors, um, young writers, young people across social media, especially from diverse backgrounds.

Stephan Mai Woo: So, um, you know, if you've got something interesting, if you, if there's a film that you want make, if there's, or if there's anything that you want to contribute to, um, I guess like the universe, then get in touch. 

Amardeep Pamar: Perfect. So thanks so much for coming on today. 

Stephan Mai Woo: No worries. 

Amardeep Pamar It's been a real pleasure. Have you got any final words? To  the audience.

Stephan Mai Woo: yeah, like I guess like listen to what your [00:33:00] parents say, but not too hard.

Amardeep Pamar: Hello. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for listening. It meets a huge amount to us, and we don't think you realize how important you are because if you subscribe to our YouTube channel, if you leave us a five star review, it makes the world of difference. And if you believe in what we're trying to do here, To inspire and connect and guide the next generation of British Asians.

Amardeep Pamar: If you do those things, you can help us achieve that mission and you can help us make a bigger impact. And by doing that it means we can get bigger guests, we can host more events, we can do more for the community. So you can play a huge part. So thank you so much for supporting us.