Meet Joy Cho, the Brilliant Designer and Blogger Behind Oh Joy!
Obsessed with geometric patterns and bright colors as much as we are? Then this week’s featured maker should need no introduction. Meet Joy Cho, the brilliant gal behind the Oh Joy Blog, a treasure trove of creative inspiration.
Not only is this impressive woman a creative force, but she’s a blogger, designer, author and mother. Well as of today, we’re happy to add curator to that list — we’ve got a brand new collection in the Brit + Co shop curated by Joy Cho herself. And guess what? Her latest book, Oh Joy!, is also in stock. How awesome is that? You can shop the collection right here.
I spent a morning in Los Angeles with Joy at her favorite breakfast spot, Republique. We chatted about how she got her start, what her typical day looks like and what inspires her. Read on to learn more about Joy’s story — we’re sure it’s one that will inspire you to find more creative moments on the daily.
Have you always been drawn to creative pursuits?
As a kid, I always leaned towards creative things. I was never into playing with dolls or dressing up like a princess — I was more interested in things that let me create something from start to finish. I didn’t realize back then that it had to do with creativity.
Did you know that this love of making things would turn into a business?
In a way, yes. When I was a kid I had about a dozen different businesses before I even graduated high school, including a calligraphy business and a banana bread business! My parents moved here in the mid ‘70s from Thailand and started a Thai restaurant, so I’ve always been surrounded by self-starters and entrepreneurs. (photo credit: Casey Brodley)
Okay so let’s fast forward a bit — what did you study in college? And what were your first couple of jobs after graduating?
I didn’t know that I wanted to be an “artist” but I did know that I didn’t want to go down a doctor or lawyer path. I went to Syracuse and studied graphic design, because in my mind it had a practical side but was still artistic. After graduating, I went to New York for graduate school and ended up getting a job at an ad agency for a couple years. The agency gig was a great start for me, but I quickly became tired of designing for businesses. I wanted to design things that help normal people add delight to their daily lives. That’s when I started to get super interested in patterns, though I hadn’t officially studied them in school. This led me to getting a job with Cynthia Rowley as a designer for her small line at Target. I designed two years worth of collections for her line.
Wow, so that’s really come full circle with Target!
Creating an Oh Joy line at Target was definitely a dream project, especially after working on Cynthia’s line. Getting to see my products in store has been incredible. Unlike a blog post, actual products don’t disappear. They’re in people’s homes and part of their lives, and that feels really good.
What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create and make?
I’m inspired by people and the desire to make people happier with something I can ideate, design, create, and put out into the world for others to enjoy.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Just do your thing. It can be so easy to get caught up in what others are doing or compare yourself to who’s doing things bigger or better. But I find when I focus on challenging myself and trying new things, then I feel satisfied with my work and I don’t worry about comparisons as much.
How do you get into the creative flow? How does it feel?
I surround myself with stuff. Whether it’s materials, colors, fabrics, food, objects. When I see a lot, my brain starts churning, my heart starts racing, and ideas begin to surface. Those initial ideas aren’t always the final idea, but they usually snowball into something magical.
Looking for more Joy in your life? Be sure to follow Joy on Instagram (Warning: Heart-melting videos of the cutest kids ever await you), buy her book (photo credit: Casey Brodley), and check out her curated collection in the Brit + Co shop!
Fall is right around the corner, and we're getting amped up for our next session of Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week interactive startup school. Designed to help you create a new business or grow your existing one, this course is personally led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and co-founder Anjelika Temple, and supported by more than a dozen of the top female entrepreneurs, creatives, and investors in the country. Students receive personalized coaching on everything from how to get out of your comfort zone to how to scale your business, and everything in between. And now, thanks to Office Depot, even more of you can join the course!
For the fall session, we're thrilled to team up with Office Depot to grant 200 FREE scholarship seats to the course. Scholarships are open to US residents, focusing on women of color, women from underserved and underrepresented communities, and women in need of support to help them trail-blaze. After all, we firmly believe that your support system is a huge part of how you achieve greatness, and we are here to cheer all of you on.
To nominate yourself or someone you know for a scholarship, head to our nomination form right here. The deadline for scholarship nominations is September 27th — it's time to take the leap!
Beyond the scholarship, Office Depot is all about helping you accomplish more. Whether it be the start phase, growth phase or keep businesses going phase, Office Depot offers a full suite of business solutions, including services and products, to help you work from anywhere, organize and save time and help build your brand.
So what are you waiting for? Take a chance on yourself and get yourself one step closer to truly being selfmade. Learn more about the Selfmade program, apply for a scholarship and prepare to be inspired :)