Tell us a little about your business and what brought you to where you are now.
Bokksu’s mission is to bridge cultures through delivering authentic Asian food, products, and media! I started Bokksu out of my living room in NYC in 2016. Before that, I lived and worked in Japan for four years. After moving back to NYC, I had naturally brought back a large suitcase full of my favorite Japanese snacks I discovered during my time there. After just one housewarming party, the entire suitcase of snacks was devoured by my friends, which is when I realized that it wasn’t just me; other Americans also loved Japanese snacks, but they didn’t know how to access them. What began as a love for Japanese snacks became a premium monthly subscription box. We’ve shipped nearly 1 million boxes to our subscribers in over 100 countries and also have a marketplace where we sell snacks, teas, and lifestyle goods all directly from Japan!
What does community mean to you and your business?
Community is everything to us at Bokksu! Most of our snacks are sourced directly from local family makers in Japan, so we aim to empower these makers by sharing their stories and delicious products with the world. We’re also passionate about hearing from and interacting with our Bokksu Members. We’ve spoken on panels and met members at places like the Crunchyroll Expo and Anime NYC. We even have a Facebook group for Bokksu Members to geek out about their monthly snack boxes, Japanese food culture, and more.
How has the LGBTQ community impacted your business?
We’re proud to be an LGBTQ-owned and operated company. Many of our staff identify as LGBTQ, and to make everyone feel welcome, we’ve codified respect and empathy into our company culture. From the beginning, I strove to intentionally create a work environment where my hardworking, passionate teammates can always be their full authentic selves. I’m proud that many have told me this is the first time they’ve been so happy and fulfilled at work, and it’s because they don’t have to worry about racial, gender, sexual, or national discrimination.
How has your business contributed to and/or engaged with the LGBTQ community?
As a business, we’ve often donated and partnered up with nonprofits supporting the LGBTQ community like the GMHC. On a personal note, I have been very outspoken about both my Queer and Asian identities in all professional settings I’m in. From podcasts to panels to interviews like this, I believe it’s important to continually fight for visibility and representation, especially since there are so few Queer or Asian founders, let alone Queer and Asian founders.
What does it mean for your business and/or to you personally to work with a platform like Daylight?
I am thrilled that there now exists a platform for the LGBTQ community that is striving to operate with so much intention and integrity. Instead of feeling like a small customer cog in the larger banking conglomerate machine, I am excited to work together with Daylight both as a customer and partner to create meaningful outcomes that can benefit everybody in the community.
Who’s your favorite queer icon (if you can pick just one!) and why?
Utada Hikaru. In addition to being my favorite soulful Japanese pop singer whose music has gotten me through hard times and helped me celebrate good ones, she also recently came out as non-binary, which had a large impact on Japan’s typically traditional society.
What has you excited about the future?
Bokksu is rapidly expanding, and so many projects that were once a twinkle in our eyes are coming to life. In October 2021 we launched Bokksu Grocery: America’s first online Asian grocery store that delivers hundreds of food, kitchenware, and beauty products nationwide. Our new service will be able to reach millions of Americans who have an interest in Asian cuisine but were previously unable to easily and affordably access it. We’re excited to partner up with Daylight on Bokksu Grocery to offer rewards to your community as well :)