AANHPI Month Asian American Business Spotlight Potahto MWBC Shop Local Maryland Women's Business Center

This week for Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Month, we interviewed Daphne Lee of Potahto! Daphne is a participant of the MWBC Shop Local retail incubator program.

Potahto has been dedicated to bringing the beauty of nature and plant-inspired decor products to our customers. Our mission is to offer home and plant decor items that are accessible and inclusive for everyone, and to spread joy while doing it. Using natural materials such as air plants, cork bark and preserved moss, we craft unique natural decor pieces for our customers’ homes and offices, bringing life to tabletops and transforming ordinary walls into stunning vertical garden displays.

What is your ethnic background?
Singaporean Chinese

How does your cultural background influence your business values and practices?
Growing up in an environment where hard work is highly regarded, I have internalized the importance of dedication and perseverance in achieving goals. This translates into my business practices, where I prioritize putting in the necessary effort to deliver high-quality products and exceptional customer experience. Working late nights and weekends are pretty regular occurrences.

What are some hardships you have overcome as a woman-/minority-owned business?
In the space that I’m in, I do not feel like the obstacles that I encounter are any different than those faced by other businesses that may not be woman- or minority-owned. Resilience is in most of our DNA being the “fairer sex”, and that plays to our advantage.

How long have you been working with MWBC?
Since January 2024 (the start of the 2024 MWBC Shop Local program).

How has MWBC helped you in your business journey?
Being involved in the MWBC’s retail business incubator program has definitely enriched my entrepreneurial life, an experience that has been truly unique and beneficial. Receiving mentorship, connecting with the other businesses and immersing myself in running a brick and mortar, they have greatly expanded my business acumen and helped improve my personal development skills.

What advice would you give to other Asian American aspiring entrepreneurs?
Perfection is your foe, whether it’s launching a new business or a product line. It’s ok to test the market with something that is acceptable and iterate from there, rather than waiting for the perfect product or plan which may never happen. Early to market is sometimes key to your success in establishing a foothold, gaining momentum and being ahead of your competition. And also don’t forget your playfulness, it’s very easy to be consumed by work as a small business owner. 

We asked Martha Jimenez, Daphne’s MWBC business counselor, what Daphne has accomplished that makes her stand out.
Daphne’s standout qualities as a business owner lie in her visionary development and  unwavering commitment to excellence. She has cultivated a thriving enterprise through strategic decision-making, innovation, and a keen understanding of market dynamics. Daphne’s ability to inspire and empower her team fosters a culture of creativity and collaboration, driving sustainable growth and success. Moreover, her dedication to customer satisfaction and ethical business practices sets her apart as a trusted and respected leader in her industry.

Learn more about Potahto at www.potahto.com

MWBC Shop Local is a retail incubator program of the Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC). Learn more about the program at www.mwbcshoplocal.com

Happy Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Month! At the Maryland Women’s Business Center, we take pride in leveling the playing field for women and minorities. We are here to support Asian-owned businesses every month of the year.