Kiki L’Italien’s “Unedited” YouTube interview series often focuses on chatting with industry disruptors, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. Recently, social entrepreneur Miki Agrawal sat down with host Kiki L’Italien to discuss the origins of her entrepreneurial journey, and her books, “Do Cool Sh*t” and “Disrupt-Her”. As the founder and CEO of various companies, including Wild (gluten-free farm-to-table pizzaria chain), Thinx (period panties on a mission to bring feminine care across the world), and Tushy (bidet attachments for every toilet), Miki Agrawal is an entrepreneur on a mission. Below, read on for excerpts from their conversation:
Kiki L’Italien: Alright. This is fantastic and hello everyone. We are going live and you may be expecting to be seeing Andrew Horn sitting with me right now. But that’s not what’s going on. You know what the crazy thing is about life is, that life happens and we just roll with it, right. And so, that’s kind of what’s going on here and I’m excited. It’s kind of perfect in a way.
Miki Agrawal: Yes.
Kiki L’Italien: That’s happens because guess what? I’m talking to Miki Agrawal right now and Miki you are absolutely thrilling and stunning in person, but you have – I have to say, I saw you years ago give a presentation on your first book “Do Cool Sh*t”.
Miki Agrawal: And it was crazy too.
Kiki L’Italien: It was amazing and I was inspired at the time. You’ve come out with a new book, “Disrupt-Her” and it’s a manifesto. So, I love that we’re here together that I have the chance to talk with you and ask you a little bit about “Disrupt-Her”, about your views on creativity and being a social entrepreneur and basically the way that you live a purposeful life. That’s a lot.
Miki Agrawal: I’m happy to be here.
Kiki L’Italien: That’s a lot, right. Okay. So, let’s get started.
Miki Agrawal: Yes. Walk me through the evolution. Like from there to here.
Miki Agrawal On The Evolution of Miki Agrawal
Miki Agrawal: Yeah. So, my career began as in finance and investment banking. And I moved to New York City in 2001 when right before 9/11. And my subway stop every single morning was two World Trade Centre.
Kiki L’Italien: Wow.
Miki Agrawal: And I would basically get off the train at two World Trade Center. Walk upstairs. Get with my girlfriend at the cafe at the World Trade Center and I walked across the street to my office. Which is directly across the street into World Trade and 9/11 happened 700 people in my girlfriend’s office died on that day. Two people in my office died on that day. And everyone just walking to work, going to work, taking a train, just like not like any day. And many of them didn’t come home. That was the first and only day in my life that I slept through my alarm clock.
Kiki L’Italien: Oh wow.
Miki Agrawal: And I shared some of that story Do Cool Sh*t and also a little bit in Disrupt-Her. But it was really my wake up call. It was my aha moment. It was the moment that really helped me see that the mystery of life is that you never know when it’s going to end, right. We can all get hit by meteor and die in Menston and that would be it. And so the question became so clear for me. It’s like what is my purpose in life? What do I want to do? What shines a light in my eyes?
Kiki L’Italien: You did this so she illustrates this beautifully in the book. I made a note to myself because I called it, give ourselves a death deadline or a lifeline and it’s a life deadline. Because you actually say, there are only about 21,000 days to live from the point when we graduate college, usually around 22 years old to the point when we die around the age of 80. And so, what I love this and what I love about this is that you actually when you put some practical parameters around like let’s talk about it like if you’ve got about this much time to live. What are they doing?
Miki Agrawal: That’s it.
Kiki L’Italien: What are you doing with that?
Choosing What To Do In Life
Miki Agrawal: That’s exactly. So for me I was like, alright I wrote down three things I want to do with my life right after 9/11. The first was to play soccer professionally. The second was to make movies and the third was to start a business.
Kiki L’Italien: Yeah.
Miki Agrawal: And I did all three. I made the New York Magic Soccer team. I worked in the film business for a couple of years and then had my first aha moment of my first business which was born with a stomach ache.
Kiki L’Italien: Wow.
On The Goals of Business
Miki Agrawal: The goal of all the businesses was always to elevate humanity was to always lift up our people in the world and support the planet at the same time. So, the first business was born out of a stomach ache. I was eating out a lot and kept having a lot of stomach aches and you ate a lot of kind of crappy food while you’re out in and about. One day I came home with a horrible stomach ache and I was like enough is enough and I went to research it and discovered the massive processed food industry for hormones, antibiotics, the pesticides, the preservatives that were in the food today and I really did a deep dive in looking at categories like pizza.
Kiki L’Italien: Yeah.
Miki Agrawal: That hadn’t really been disrupted in a really long time, and it was made with bleached flour, processed cheese, sugar-filled sauces, processed toppings is really bad for you. And yet, it if done right if made if made with the right ingredients it actually would be a brain food. It’s called people crave pizza because it actually has all the food groups in it, but it’s done right. So, the question became oh my god like I want to create the world’s best alternative pizza concept.
Kiki L’Italien: Right.Miki Agrawal: And so without any experience in 2005 was 25 years old open New York City’s first farm to table local organic like gluten-free pizza concept and none of these buzzwords existed back then!
Check out the Miki Agrawal Audible page for excerpts from Miki’s books.