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Ladies Who Launch

This CEO Started Her Company Because She was Stressed

And, guess what? It helped with her anxiety.

By: Emily Ramshaw
Photography: Anna-Alexia Basile

Yunha Kim started her first company, Locket, in her early 20s, but two years in, working more than 90 hours a week, she burned out. And, yes, she started meditating. But when she sold her first business a year later, instead of sleeping for a year (something we would do), she decided to get her MBA at Stanford, and then promptly, well, started another company. This time, though, the company came out of her newfound meditation practice—a “Spotify for meditation”, as Kim explained to us from her San Francisco headquarters. Simple Habit gives 5-minute guided meditations for exactly what you need (taking an Uber to a meeting, there’s a meditation for that)—and, yes, it’s the perfect companion for a stressed out tech CEO (or a fashion writer, for that matter). If only our anxiety made us this productive.

 

The criteria she gave herself to start another company:

“Honestly, when I reflect back, I don’t understand. I think it’s less about confidence but more about not knowing what I was doing. I don’t think I knew what was required of a startup and I didn’t realize how hard it was to start a company. When it came to starting my second company, I hesitated. I knew if I ever started another one, I would only start something that I was so passionate about that when I wake up in the morning I feel proud of what I do. And that is how I feel with Simple Habit. Some of the users have cancer, they have anxiety or depression. But there are also a ton of users who are like me: that are ambitious, busy, and stressed out. A lot of our users are doctors or lawyers or startup founders with high stress jobs and they use us as a way to feel better.”

Burn out from her first company lead her to starting her second company:

“The number one thing I’ve learned is how hard running a startup is. That made me be very specific and particular about the business I want to build. When we started Locket, I think I was working 90+ hours a week and I went through a burn out. The first year was great, but by the second year when things started getting settled down, I realized how tired I was. That is when I went through a burn out and that is actually why I started meditating.”

 

She created an app that provides meditation for real life:

“As a consumer I wanted to have a Spotify for meditation where I can browse different features and get snackable content that is customized for me. Now you get a meditation before going into a meeting or a meditation for going on a date—they’re more situational and mood based. That is why I built it.”

Simple Habit offers a range of meditations:

“Our app unlike the other meditation apps because we are building a platform that allows meditation teachers to distribute their content. As a result, we have over 50 meditation teachers that are the best in the space and that they contribute with their expertise. So one teacher creates meditations for relationships and couples. We just launched meditation for therapists. There are meditations for engineers and entrepreneurs. We specialize in bite-sized, five minute meditations. We also have ten, 15 and 20 minutes. We don’t want to make meditation hard. Once you have that habit you can dial it up to twenty minutes if you want.”

How she uses the app:

“I am still busy and I get stressed out and I don’t think I can change that. It’s about changing my relationship to stress and how I deal with it. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to use my own product to be able to do that. We meditate throughout the day at the office. We don’t have a set schedule, but before our meetings we start with a meditation. And we’ll do five-minute meditations throughout the day. It’s actually really powerful to do it with your team because it is a really good bonding experience, which is something I didn’t even realize until we started doing it at the office.”

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