Hey ladies, it’s Anna again from Fash Boulevard, bringing you another edition of my interview series, Ladies Who Laptop. This month’s spotlight is a vibrant graphic designer, über successful blogger and author, and team LC’s favorite new friend. When it comes to busy ladies, Joy Cho, blogger and founder of Oh Joy!, takes the cake. From her lovable entrepreneurial spirit to her must-have designs, it’s easy to see why this mother of two has become one of the blogosphere’s most in-demand figures. Today, Joy opens up about her new Target line, her biggest pinch me moment, where she thinks bloggers are going wrong, and what joy means to her. Let’s dive in…
Let’s start from the beginning! What inspired you to launch Oh Joy! in 2005?
That year, I had left my second job in New York to move to Philly for my boyfriend (now my husband). So I was in a new city, newly engaged, and looking for a new job. I started my blog as a place to keep my inspirations during a time when I had a lot of transition. While looking for my dream job (and not finding it), I needed to begin freelancing to make ends meet. So, I started offering my design services to other companies and used my blog as a place to continue to share things I love. More and more people started reading the blog, and it helped me to be able to launch my own design studio.
What does the Oh Joy! brand include today?
The Oh Joy! brand includes various licensed product lines (including our new Oh Joy! for Target home decor and nursery collections), how-to lifestyle videos, and a daily blog with a focus on design, fashion, food, and joyful moments from everyday life.
What is a typical day in the life of Joy Cho?
When I get up, I make my kids breakfast and get them ready for the day. I take my older daughter to school and then head into work. No day is the same, but a typical day usually starts by checking e-mails, having staff/client meetings, and getting the more administrative tasks out of the way. Then in the afternoon, I focus on the creative side of my job by working on editorial content and design projects with help from my team to brainstorm new ideas and make these projects come to life. I oversee everything and serve as Creative Director. I end my day by 4pm so that I can pick up my oldest from pre-school and get back home to my little one by 4:30pm.
You’ve worked with some major companies on various collaborations from Target to Urban Outfitters. Can you tell us a bit about these experiences and how they came about?
Every collaboration has had a different path from A to Z. When I first started my blog, it was very much just a place for me to keep all my inspiration and design work in one place (Pinterest didn’t exist yet!). Once my readership grew, I was able to create a design business from people who read my blog that then turned into design clients. I made it a goal to work with and design for brands that I love, like Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and eventually, Target. It was definitely a milestone in my career when we created our first line with Target in 2014.
My biggest advice for anyone with a similar goal is to keep putting yourself out there and show work that you want to be making (even if no one is hiring you to do that work yet). I think the biggest misconception is that these things fall into my lap, and that’s not true. Ninety percent of the bigger projects I’ve worked on are ones I have sought after, pitched, and convince a brand why I would be a great partner or designer for them.
Through the Oh Joy! brand you’ve created products from wallpaper to baby clothes. What are some of your favorite products you’ve designed thus far?
We are huge fans of your Instagram. Do you have any tips or tricks for achieving an aesthetically awesome Instagram page?
The best tips I can give are to shoot in indirect, natural light, like in a shady spot outside or near a window, share what you love, and don’t overthink it.
What do you think has been the most important part of your brand strategy and your key to success?
Stay true to yourself. It can be hard sometimes not to compare yourself to others or to see how others achieve success and want to emulate in their success by doing the same exact thing. But one thing I have always made sure to do is to share/make/create/design in the way that feels right to me and in a way that feels original and something I can be proud to put my name on.
What has been the best moment of your career so far? Paint the picture for all the dreamers out there that hope to someday be in your successful shoes.
Back in 2004, I worked for Cynthia Rowley (the fashion designer) and designed for her Swell line at Target. I helped to design patterns that went on the products—from pillows and PJ’s to bedding and towels. Once I was at Target to check out some of the pieces I had designed and saw a girl with her mom asking if she could buy the PJ’s I had designed. She was telling her mom how she loved them so much (and I was secretly watching hoping the mom would say “yes”!). Once I saw how happy something I designed could make other people, I knew that someday in the future I wanted to have my own line (ideally at Target), too. Skip to 2014 (10 years later), and I launched my first Oh Joy for Target collection.
What does joy mean to you? And how do you infuse it into your everyday life?
Joy is when you allow good things to come into your life. I’ve spent the past few years trying to have less negativity in my life, surrounding myself only with people who inspire and uplift me, and trying to be a bit more sunshine-y so that I can make those around me feel more positive, too. When you are around people like this, it makes you a happier, more optimistic person. The world isn’t perfect but one thing we can all do for one another is simply give off a little more sunshine.
Words to live by?
Ask for help. Especially after becoming a mother, I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t do it all myself (both personally and professionally). Once you can let go of your ego and let people help, your mind will be free and you will be able to accomplish more.
Who would you like to see me interview for my next Ladies Who Laptop?