Chris Han is fashion, beauty, and lifestyle influencer! In addition to running her channel, she is an entrepreneur and photographer. Chris also founded a language solution consulting firm in Shanghai, and earned her MBA degree from USC in 2017. We had the pleasure of speaking with Chris, who shared how she was able to create a career out of her own passions. Check out her profile feature below!
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself!
Chris: "I am an entrepreneur-turned influencer. I was born and raised in Shanghai China. 10 years ago, after graduating from a law school in my hometown, I started my own business, a language solution company to help foreign businesses to localize in the China market. I didn’t expect too much back then because I had limited work experience when I just started. My family and my husband Robert supported me to pursue entrepreneurship. The business surprisingly took off and expanded quickly over the five years of operation. In 2015, I received an offer from University of Southern California, the full-time MBA program at Marshall School of Business. So, I sold my business and moved to LA. It was time for me to slow down and step back. During MBA, I reset my goal and started working on my social media when no one even believed that social media could be a serious business. After graduating from Marshall, I decided to turn my long-time passion for fashion and beauty into a career via social media. Now my channel @chrishanxoxo has become my personal brand and my business."
Q: You recently gave birth to your daughter, Luna! What did your pregnancy journey teach you about yourself? Do you have any advice for women who are at the beginning stages of their pregnancy?
Chris: "To be honest, I had mixed feelings when I found out that I was pregnant. Robert and I wanted kids but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be a mother so soon. But this pregnancy couldn’t be more perfect. The 276 days of growing a little one in my body was the most precious experience of my life. When I met my daughter Luna for the first time, I was overwhelmed with joy. All the pain and tears were left behind. My pregnancy wasn’t smooth. Her embryonic heartbeat came late. My OB doctor said she might not be a healthy embryo at the first ultrasound appointments. After waiting for another anxious week, I heard her heartbeat for the first time – life was magical. I had all the common pregnancy symptoms including nausea, fatigue, chest pain, stomachache and more... I was sent to ER three times for heightened symptoms. It was really hard to balance my work and pregnancy during these sick days. But her kicks and rolls in my belly just made everything feel alright. Most importantly, Luna was born perfectly happy and healthy. Being a mother changed my life. The pregnancy journey taught me that I am stronger than I would ever imagine. My advice to all the expecting mothers is to trust yourself and your baby. You should never underestimate the power of your body and mind. No doubt that pregnancy means sleepless nights and endless worries, but the little human will also bring you happiness and hope."
Q: We love your photography! What is your favorite shoot you have ever worked on?
Chris: "I enjoy working behind the camera. One of my recent favorite shoots was the 2020 Fall Winter Runway Show of Anna Sui during New York Fashion Week. It was a collaboration with Leica Camera. I was invited as a social media influencer by Anna. I brought the new Leica Q2 camera to document the runway and backstage. It was a unique perspective that I captured the movements and details from the front row. These images looked fluid, spontaneous and dynamic. This shoot expanded my portfolio from planned on-location shoots to photojournalistic work."
Q: How would you describe your personal fashion style?
Chris: "My personal style is modern and romantic. I am not a minimalistic person. I love colors, prints, layers and lots of accessories. To me, more is more. But my style evolves with time. I might dress very differently in my next post. So, this is the fun part of fashion."
Q: You earned your MBA degree from USC Marshall School of Business in 2017, can you share about your experiences there?
Chris: "The MBA program at USC was a mix of intensive coursework and adventurous networking. While most of my classmates came from large corporations or family businesses, I ran my own company before MBA. Coming from diverse backgrounds, we got so much inspiration and insight from each other. The USC Trojan community was one of the best parts of my MBA experience. Through this program, I expanded my horizon professionally and culturally. My top lessons learned: Strategic thinking helps one build a better business and live a fuller life. My MBA program improved my problem-solving skills. This is a long-term benefit. Step out of the comfort zone if you want to make a difference. The teamwork, courses and International business trips of this program were challenging. I developed new skills by trying new things every day. Practicing good habits leads to success. Great habits such as time management, self-assessment, and timely manner improve the productivity of any individual or organization. During my MBA, I joined the two career clubs, Business of Entertainment Association (BEA) and Entrepreneur & Venture Management Association (EVMA) where I learned industry insights and developed a great network."
Q: Why are you passionate about women entrepreneurship? And why do you believe it is important for everyone to have equal opportunities for leadership roles?
Chris: "I am an advocate of gender equality. While career women are still trying to break the glass ceiling and fighting for equal pay in any existing organizations, entrepreneurship unleashes their potentials in a different way. Building her own company not only helps a woman have financial independence but also allows her to have a full control of her career and life. By the end of the day, female entrepreneurship benefits everyone because our productivities expand the business landscape, create jobs and contribute to our economy as well. Women make great leaders because we are good communicators and collaborators. This is our opportunity to leverage our work experience and innovative ideas to create something that would succeed. When we face challenges, we fight on. Putting women in the lead would improve women’s personal development and foster inclusive corporate culture in a company. Women would create systems that work for everyone. That’s why women should be offered equal opportunities in leadership."
Q: What advice would you give to people who are aspiring to pursue careers in entrepreneurship, fashion, and beauty?
Chris: "Play to your strength and follow your passion. You will grow and be more successful if you develop your strengths. Everyone has his or her own superpower. If you align your strength with your career goals, you will end up with a better result. For example, I take photos professionally. My photography skills allow me to create high-quality content and tell better stories. Keep doing what I like and what I am good at boosts my confidence. Working for yourself also means taking risks. Be prepared for all kinds of challenges that might happen along your journey and just enjoy the process.
Social media is a great way for a woman to make her voice heard and show her talents, but sometimes social media is a place where people expect women to look perfect, which sends wrong messages and causes a sense of insecurity or doubt about herself. No matter which category fits you the best, fashion, beauty, travel or fitness, just be yourself and pursue your own passion. Don’t be distracted by others."
Thank you for sharing your advice with us, we are so inspired by you! Chris is wearing our Relaxed Jacquard Sweater from our Fall 2020 collection.
Photography by Chris Han