At the moment, only six shades are available, but Shih says several deeper ones are in the works. Earlier this year, she started a research and development Facebook group to get a better grasp of Orcé’s customers’ needs. “We’ve collected a lot of suggestions of what shades our customers want us to create,” Shih adds, “and we are working on a shade extension that will be launched early next year.” She also hinted at adding another base product to the lineup.
Supporting Sexual Assault Survivors
Another pervading issue in Asian communities that’s concerned Shih is the way sexual assaults are handled.
Last year, Shih read an interview with Amanda Nguyen, the founder of Rise, which is a social justice organization working to expand the rights of sexual assault survivors. Nguyen discussed her experience with sexual assault and how it drove her to become an activist and fight for the rights of other sexual assault survivors. “That actually triggered a lot of emotions on my end because I’m a survivor myself,” Shih shares. “I was raped in 2014, and I never thought I would ever have the courage to speak out about my story or do anything about it. My way of dealing with the trauma was to just disassociate myself and pretend it didn’t happen to me.”
After reading Nguyen’s story, Shih not only realized the rights she should have and the fact that rape kits exist but also she realized how impactful it was to see another young Asian woman not let her assault silence her or define her. In Asian communities, this is an unusual approach, Shih notes. “We’ve been taught that if something like this happens to you, it’s shameful, so just make sure nobody finds out about it,” she explains.
Shih ended up reaching out to Nguyen to thank her for her work and shared her own story. The pair stayed in touch, and Nguyen told Shih about Rise’s new Rise Up 19 initiative, which helps provide safe havens for survivors of sexual and domestic violence during this difficult time.
Wanting to further support this, Shih decided to partner up with Nguyen, and starting this month, 15 percent of Orcé’s net profits will go towards the program. The brand is also sharing information on it on social media and in newsletters. “The more people know about it, the more awareness we can generate, the more businesses we can get on board to support this program,” Shih says. “More survivors who didn’t know they have rights, who didn’t know that they have resources, who didn’t know that there are ways they can call for help, can get to a safe place. And as we were planning this, I found the courage to share my story.”