Amelia Lin is the Co-founder and CEO of Saga Voice Journal.
Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?
I started Saga to save the memories of my own mom and dad, for my own kids one day. For years I’d wanted to find a way to save the stories they told me and my sister when we were growing up – how they met, why they came to America. I wanted to create something that would make it easy and fun for us to save memories together from anywhere, even while apart.
Who are your cofounders and what makes you a great team?
I am so lucky to work with my co-founder Nicole Wee – she’s a force of nature and an incredible teammate. We make a great team because we really relate to our customers. Our customers tend to be women, and moms in particular – as an expecting mom herself and a female founder duo, Nicole and I especially love getting to meet the many moms, grandmas, and daughters using Saga. We understand why they want Saga because we built it for ourselves and our own families.
The two of us worked at companies like Instagram and Udacity before Saga, so we’ve also spent a lot of time building great consumer technology products. Last but not least, even when we are working hard Nicole always knows how to crack me up – she helps keep me sane on this journey!
How is your company making a difference?
It’s the biggest honor to hear how people use Saga to grow closer with family, especially right now during COVID. We’ve had people write in to tell us that the memories they saved have sparked 2-hour-long conversations with Mom, or that they use Saga with the kids to stay close with Grandpa and Grandma during the pandemic. One pregnant couple started using Saga to save memories for their son, and then sent us a photo of him after he was born.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
I remember at the beginning, there was a period of about three months where I wasn’t sure if I was on to anything at all. I’d left my full time job to work on this project with my mom and dad, but I wondered whether I was just being very foolish to imagine anyone else would want this too. It was hard to tell if I was just in my own head, and this was before we had a team – it was pretty lonely.
Two weeks later, we found our first paying customer – a woman in Omaha found our site and wanted to buy the product. Two weeks later she bought again for another member of her family. So that was going from the lowest low to the highest high! That’s when we thought we might be onto something. I’m glad we stuck with it!
What is your biggest win?
We’ve been really fortunate to have been featured in some amazing publications including NBC, USA Today, and Forbes. Really proud that we are building something that resonates with people and can make a difference. But the thing I’m proudest of is growing our team – we have put a lot of thought and work into building a great group of people and I’m lucky to work with them. Speaking of, we are hiring! https://trysaga.com/jobs
Who is your role model?
My mom and dad, which seems thematically appropriate given what I do! They really are my biggest inspirations, they are two of the most principled, resourceful, and hardworking people I know. My mom and dad lived through the Chinese Cultural Revolution. They lost just about everything growing up, dreamt of better lives, came to a new country, started from scratch, and worked like hell. My dad has a gold necklace that he wore when he came to America so that he could sell it for cash if he ever ran out of options. He’s never had to sell it and proudly still wears it every day. That’s why I started Saga, to save their stories.
What do you wish you had known before starting your company?
I wish I could go back and tell myself to be a bit braver about things – to let people pleasantly surprise you, is what I call it. I would have raised sooner, hired sooner, done all the things I ended up doing but just a lot sooner. I would tell myself, I know you think they’ll say no – but why don’t you just go ahead and ask anyway just to see? I was so pleasantly surprised, so many times, that I just wish I’d asked for everything sooner. 🙂
What is your CEO superpower?
When I want something I will try everything I can to make it happen, and I am persistent. I think there are lots of people out there who are smarter than me or have particular expertise that I don’t, and I’ve been very lucky to meet and become friends with plenty of those people. Most of the things I have accomplished in life have been a result of showing up and knocking on doors, or doing much more than others might be willing to do, and sticking with things long past where others may give up. I’m not afraid to hear a lot of no’s to get to a yes.
What has been your experience with FFA?
As women and moms ourselves, I’m new to the community but I have already been so impressed with the supportiveness of the group and how many amazing women and moms have already reached out to me about starting their family group on Saga!
Anything else you want people to know?
Download Saga *by Mother’s Day, May 9, 2021*! You’ll get access to our special Mother’s Day release, which includes all-new prompts to connect with a special mom in your life, even if you are apart this year. <3
Download Saga Voice Journal for Family free on iOS (Android coming!): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/saga-voice-journal-for-family/id1504305671
Lastly – if you’re passionate about what we do, we are hiring! https://trysaga.com/jobs