A Letter From Our CEO

Mar 19, 2021

I distinctly remember telling my Mom, “Can I just get a 'normal' sandwich, like the other kids? The bento lunches smells like fish and the kids will think I'm weird.”  Sometimes I would even not eat, just so I could keep the smell away.   

I’m a second generation Asian American and this is the kind of stuff I remember most vividly growing up in a traditional Japanese family.

My name is Shizu, and I’m also the Founder & CEO of Apothékary. I'm Japanese-Canadian-American but because of the color of my skin, I (and so many of my peers) often get lumped into a broader Asian definition and stereotype.  To fit in to societal "cultural American norms", even at 32 years old, I still joke, “It’s like, 'she' went to the 'zoo'!”, but it’s really just a lighthearted way to cover up a deeper insecurity around how Asian my name is, young appearance, and general stereotypes that come with being an Asian American today.



It's no surprise that the last week's events have shaken up the Asian American community, including those who work and support our company.  Our mission at Apothékary has always been to bridge the East with the West (more here), using modalities of my Japanese heritage, which has been passed down for literally centuries, so we can heal naturally. We get to do this work every day and it makes me damn proud of both of my team and my Asian American culture.

The continued attacks on the AAPI community need to be acknowledged and acted upon - not only because it's in trending on our social media or the news - but even when it isn't receiving media coverage. Hate is a virus, and hate spreads. But just like COVID-19 found a vaccine, we need to make one for fighting hate and one that doesn’t discriminate against the color of our skin, the food we eat, or the pronunciation of our names.

On behalf of the Apothékary team, we invite you to act.  Whether that be having a conversation with your friends and family, standing up when you see injustice, or supporting your local Asian stores and restaurants (who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19).

To show our support, we invite you to stand with us and support the AAPI community.  Here are some ways to do so: 

  1. Donate to Act To Change
  2. GoFundMe’s Support the AAPI Community Fund
  3. Support Asian Mental Health Collective
  4. Support your local small Asian businesses. They need you more than ever right now.  
  5. 10% of any purchase with us, if you need a re-up, through the rest of the month, will be donated to Asian Americans Advancing Justice


Shizu Okusa


Photo courtesy: Our friends over at Pineapple Collaborative, another women-owned business we love.