Joy Cho on passing the art and entrepreneurialism of her immigrant parents down to her own children with compassion, quality time and, you guessed it – joy!

find Joy @ohjoy or ohjoy.com

United States


00:00:07welcome thank you Joy is the founder of the blog Design Studio Joy she's the author of three bucks mom of two girls and I didn't apparently write down a concise way of saying this but you've probably seen all of her stuff in Target because it's all over charging and she has cute stuff at Target is there another do you have other words to describe your job I'm a designer and blogger I have a lifestyle brancato Joy it's all about happiness and how we can bring you Joy quite literally threw contact their ideas and then their products and that's that's it not little nutshell
00:01:04did you know this is what you like what your life is going to look like now like this we are going to do now never I mean if you were going to be doing versus like where you're at now I mean are we going to go back to 5 or like 30 or 20 or 21 I mean I always like making things I always love making things and I was at the key to play with Barbies I was not the case at all I got craft kits I would press leaves I would bake I would plant plants and watch them grow so that's kind of not surprising I guess that I like that stuff from early on but also as a kid you're like okay I'm just doing this for fun you don't think that you're going to do the job Road and also my parents who are immigrants from Thailand wear like oh yeah I know you're going to be doctor right
00:01:54sounds like maybe and I tried and I tried to send that I made myself think that maybe I was interested but I was not interested so really come when it was time to decide and I decided to go to college
00:02:10I chose a school that had a great design program and also had other stuff so that should the art thing not work out should not work out there was still a whole other school of normal things that were not involving a starving artist and was that like were you actively facing pressure from your parents to be like but you could be rough and go to med school yes. I mean I shouldn't say from both I mean I love my parents of course it's one of those things where I think that all worked out but I think that's coming from a different country you don't know the possibilities of what jobs there could be America you also don't know the possibility that the future holds that right cuz the job you have now like wasn't a job so that's another part to the way to foresee this path to say to my parents I want to be a designer what is that you know especially back then is that a fashion designer is that as an architect
00:03:10really now they did really know what that was and I don't know that I knew enough what it was but when I was old enough to know okay graphic design is somewhat commercial but you're still it's still artistic so that's kind of how I chose it because I felt like it was somewhat more practical than being a typical artist and because my parents were super scared if I told him that but the thing is there are artists making big bucks now too so you know nothing is off your mom is an artist my mom is an artist
00:03:41who do what she does not do that it's our job but that's pretty great I mean I don't know any parents that do painting by my side and things like that it's awesome she's always been like that so I could really get it from her and I think this is she wasn't surprised that I wanted to do it it's just that I think that the traditional mentality of where my parents are coming from is that people don't pursue those things as Jobs yes they pursue them on the side road what was it like growing up in your family
00:04:17I mean it's it's interesting growing up to Immigrant parents because you don't know any different so I didn't know until I started making friends in Schuylkill that
00:04:31there was something called
00:04:34macaroni and cheese or like meatloaf like my father to think on Meatloaf I was like what is that like as I told my mom about it she's like I'm not making that I like casseroles like there's like these things that a girl thing like those are so American I want that so I spent my entire childhood wanted to be American so bad and I am I'm technically Asian-American cuz I was born in the States but I taught my parents had to be American I taught them about Christmas I taught them about you start other. Valentine's Day like literally all these holidays that are now probably made up by greeting card companies but I taught them about what to do and Mikey when I went to college I was like when I go to college you have to send care packages and so that's where you put my favorite treats and snacks into a box and you ship it to me like
00:05:26all the time but maybe once a semester order once a month something like that I'm so it was one of those things where you show me love yes well here it will know it was really also here is how to be American and that was so much part I mean when you grow up looking different than everybody else you strive if you can't change yourself into looking like the blonde hair blue-eyed a girl down the street you are at least can adapter self to that and so it was just so interesting but I grew up with a different languages and all that and I didn't want to ever speak Thai and now of course that's opposite like you always now want to know as much as you can about your culture but we are young girl you're just like I want to be as American as possible and so yeah my parents are great I mean they work very hard they came to this country was $600 and my dad started a Thai restaurant with four other partners there five Partners in Chinatown in Philadelphia and then he
00:06:26Sally bought out each one of them until he owned it a hundred percent are they open to 2nd and the open the third and you open the 4th and so my dad was working all the time my mom also work as she had a normal should a normal full-time job like on I-25 and then at night she would go and help my dad they're both always working all the time and so for me part of me also said that cuz I was like they're never home I'm raising my little brother myself he's 8 years younger than me and I didn't realize I knew they worked hard and I also resented business as you never home for your kids and it's so crazy how comes full circle because now I own a business and granted my business is so different restaurant life is so different than any other type of business but I
00:07:17inherently indirectly unknowingly learn for my parents how to start something from nothing and you so clearly have the work ethic that they have yes which I didn't I didn't know I did I just absorbed it from I don't know or inherited it just from watching them or I think she's not everyone has that you probably noticed yeah that's very true I I didn't realize the time again it's one of things I can do you start acting like your mom and then you don't realize you're doing some personality trait and you're like oh my gosh that's so I think that I absorb that my my dad was also very much adamant about my whole life he was always tell me don't rely on other people do things yourself make sure that you know don't ever get a partner in a business I kill say lots of things that throughout my life I heard I heard I heard and now
00:08:12a lot of it makes so much sense when I understand why why you said those things that you said how do you think like your upper ain't bringing with them is informing how you're raising Ruby and Coco
00:08:28it's different in the fact that both my husband and I even though we're both Asian-American we're American so we don't have
00:08:36we haven't had to immigrate to this country we didn't have all of that like our parents came here for a better life for us and create a better life for us than what they had we in turn of course are trying to do that for our kids because we grew up you know in a very modest circumstances and there were many times for both of us that our parents did not have money and like you know and so for us of course we always keep thinking how can we provide a better life apart that is not just about success and about providing things it's about time because both of our parents worked very hard with my parents were business owners and we're always gone and so for us even though both of us are bosses within our own jobs we really try to make sure that were we have somewhat reasonable hours, we understand that we're ready to work on the 95 I know that my job has not stopped at a certain time but I carve my day around making sure I can drop off my kids at school do pickups when I can
00:09:36I'll be home I'm home by 4:30 every day and then I had that time with the kids until they go to bed and then I can work again you know I'm not missing the time with them if I'm working when I'm sleeping but that's really important because we didn't have that and again I wouldn't change anything because I think that it also made me who I am but I also wanted to make sure that I had that like time every day to be with our kids and what dangers are never heard some blues forever like that it's not so much about the money stuff it's so much more the time because you you know what it's like to be the kid whose parents are working constantly yeah I was the latchkey kid who like let myself in and I didn't know what you don't want that tournament back that but I never saw that I never said I barely saw them and they were working all the time cuz restaurant you work at night. That I think was very important for me and also we're very active in terms of
00:10:32doing stuff with them and in some ways I don't know maybe to active because I'm overly compensating and sometimes she just like leave them alone Lauren I cannot play with them and make them figure it out cuz that makes you more resourceful I also want to see you I've told you this before when we were talking we're going to the on the call for the in good company thing but I just think first of all your girls are amazing and I love
00:11:01just essentially like hat how you seem to talk to them and how you are navigating you know the world of social media like which is a big part of your business but also they seem very like they kind of put their heads in every once in awhile but if they're not like you can tell they're not always staring at a screen that you don't like trying to get on camera though I don't know I just feel like you're doing such a great job of raising girls right now and can you tell me how does I also have a girl and I want to copy every single well number one thank you that that honestly doesn't mean a lot because number one not only as my friend but as someone who views from the outside the way that other people who don't mine at know me in real life would I ever expected to have two girls I think that when you're trying to get pregnant you're trying to have a family you just picture a certain
00:12:01situation and I have a little brother I was like you know a girl and a boy that's just the way it works and then so when we found out that our second Coco was going to be a girl I mean I was only like a little bit sad because yeah we only plants have two kids he said no matter what we're just having too and I was like oh I'm never going to know what it's like to have a boy to raise a boy and I just wanted to know what was but of course now I wouldn't change anything I never had a sister so I was sort of scared like are they going to fight all the time I can be catty or they just closed and no one should the same room or not and so I didn't know but I think the biggest thing is that it forced me into a few things number one I used to be so self-conscious about my body like I used to I like don't have a flat stomach I never did and I used to obsess over it and after I had my daughter's number one your body is all stretched out
00:13:01Wiggly afterwards and so depends on how much you care to try to make it go back and I didn't care enough to try to make it go back to what it was plus I also just was like I like the fact that my body looks like that now because I had two children and kids who I love and who are amazing so that was number one they made me less less self-conscious they made me more sure of myself physically like I was like just accepting the things about myself that I never liked that's cool like I don't care anymore and you know part of it to us because I don't want them to have those Hang-Ups like there's going to be some day in the future and I like Mommy I don't like this by myself I don't like this and I can't cuz that's that quality if I'm trying to teach them why you like that or why they shouldn't or why they should love their imperfections like all the stuff that I'm going to tell them at the mom someday I feel like I need to also be that way and so I see it as like I said there's more pressure on me than my husband to be a role model for them because I
00:14:01I am a female person in their life and I am an older supposed to be wiser version of them so that's that was the first thing I think that
00:14:14it didn't place I told my first Hill Ruby was like 3 ish and she started preschool and I was completely like anti doll anti-princess anti girly things I wasn't like that yeah she started coming home and talking about like Princess Characters and pink and purple and I was like what why are you falling into these like stereotypes so part of me had to just let it go and just be like okay kids are going to hear about things and I need to let her figure it out and now she's not really into that stuff she likes crafts and things like that too but also I just
00:14:53I know I just did it once I remember how I thought as a as a girl and I remember it when I the ages when I started feeling insecure and so when even at 4 or 5 and she would say something about her skin color or her hair color or someone didn't like my outfit or some ones that they like my shoes
00:15:12this is already happening and I didn't remember if it happened during my time or if it's earlier I just don't remember cuz I'm so long ago and so having to navigate this stuff and having to navigate what you say in response all of a sudden developed in your head okay this is like a pro this is what I need to start figuring out how I'm going to answer these ride like I need to have a game plan ahead of time so that when these things come up I know sort of like whatever the narrative is going to be here all the time where you're like you got to answer it and you had no idea and if sometimes both you and your partner are there next to each other and you look at each other in your life cuz you got to make sure on the same page and you agree or one's not there is he like I hope the other person thinks this is how we should answer it together as a team but it's yeah it's so I mean I think the biggest thing for me is I've just been like
00:16:12wanting them we want to expose them to a lot of different things I don't want to just be girly things I don't want to be stereotypical things and I don't want anyone to ever tell them what they can and can't do which I think most parents feel about their kids but I also make sure that I stand up for it in front of them and I make sure that if somebody says something to them I tell them the response to say next time that's good because you don't know like you know bullying for example or inclusion or not including games and activities at recess you don't know that your kid might be excluded are you don't know that your kid is going to be the one doing it's good so I often set my set I mean the older one is a better example by often set her up for examples of saying what would you do if and I'll give you this is a real life example what would you do if you saw your friend on the
00:17:12playground you saw somebody that was trying to play with another group of kids and nobody want to play with them what would you do and then hopefully she was at all I would ask him to go play with that but if she doesn't say that maybe you should go ask a person to play with you because that person probably feel sad that that other people kids don't want to play with it with her him because I know that I want her I want her to be the one who stands up to other people so that she can stand up for herself if she was the one being made fun of you have to learn the skill for other people before you can do it for yourself anyway there's some in like thing yes and I also talked about on the other end because my girls aren't aware that they're bullying people but they're also kids and I don't know so I know if they're like oh you don't know I'm playing this game and it's only for two people so if someone asked me and it's a no and so and I've heard that
00:18:12happened on the playground where cycle of someone's eyes she said she would play with me because it was only for two people and I said you made that game for three people it doesn't matter your stuff up anyway so yeah I mean it I tried to I tried we talked through a lot of things we also talked to a little things like when we see ambulances going by I think what you think is happening as an ambulance is when somebody's hurt and I say like whenever you say ambulance think about the person and hope that they're okay because I think it's like that empathy it's like my kids have a pretty good life my house and I work very hard to provide for them and their living comfortably and so I don't want them to get entitled or bratty or think that like everybody gets to have toys and books and clothes and so then we also like make sure that we donate a ton of stuff but that they know like it's one thing to collect all things that donated to something but it's another thing to have them go
00:19:12Truitt and talk to them at the kids that might be getting these very how do you think those other kids feel that they have no bouken how good would they feel now that they're getting a whole bunch of great books from you totally so
00:19:31are you in therapy have you ever gone to therapy with yeah a combination needs yes I am not currently in therapy I repeat is an interesting thing because
00:19:46as an Asian-American and not to keep reminding you of this but
00:19:50damn it's not a thing that's at all encouraged
00:19:56and I know that's not just my family or my culture but it's pretty much across the board I got off saying that there are other Asians were not in there if you can start late where the modern-day were there plenty but this is not a thing it's not as open as in with like American culture to seek help it's always just like
00:20:15you can do it be strong fix it yourself be brave like you don't need help from anybody else and so for me I think I was always my mentality that I didn't even as a kid I was a teenager I didn't really even want to ask my friends for their thoughts or advice and I had a really tough time like I was always a good friend to everybody else I was always the one who listened and I was always very good at diagnosing their problems but they always felt like and I learned this later I they always felt like I never opened up to them the way that they opened up to me and so I was the one being there for them but they I wasn't letting them be there for me and therefore they didn't feel like we are really really they can't build the trust as much exactly do you need the vulnerability to go back and a few of my friends said that to me even though they got closer they said it like kind of later on and I had a really hard time feeling like you would open up so if I'm going to diagnose myself for like figure out where that comes from it
00:21:15because of that idea of like you don't bother other people your problems and so it types of therapy I I went for the first time I was living in Philly it was before I think I had a night where are you married and I just started business oh joy and I was just dealing with like the stress of having to always be making money and always be hustling and what that's like plus a new marriage and so I found someone who is actually amazing in my favorite person I've ever seen and I saw her for probably about a year or so before we ended up moving from Philly to California
00:21:57it was great because I got to talk through things you know I had gone through a very difficult. Of my life prior to that were when I best friends passed away very unexpectedly when I was 24 and that was the moment that was the first time I Tire life out like I think I need to go to therapy because I was crying every single day I was a mess as you can imagine and so I wanted it but at the same time like culturally yeah that resistance of like I'm not supposed to do this this is not what we do exactly culturally I was not able to find myself finding somebody yeah because although that was like the worst. Of my entire life it just did it and so I think a lot of that sells bottled up and then so fast forward to a few years later and when I did find somebody in Philly like a lot of that stuff came back because I was never able to process it and work it out when it actually happened
00:22:56so yeah I found someone great and amazing and then I moved to California and so it kind of just got interrupted because of that and therapy over phone is not as good as really yeah I know I really what I'm trying to like figure out how to do it with my person that still in San Francisco and it's just like I'm too awkward on the phone with Skype like video I never tried it but I've heard people that say it's fine I haven't figured it out yet okay well I just feel like figured out why I have to entertain you now jokes if you don't have the physical presence to fill the space Island I wish because I have like such a great one thirds of go but I got it I got it figured well I mean La has its fair share of therapists yeah but as we both know there's a lot of
00:23:57whatever I did say she was like after Ruby was born and I was more stressed trying to figure out this new
00:24:18roll that I had plus with my husband and I was totally just like
00:24:24plus running your whole business was gone nuts in like totally stressing out and I taking out of him and everything and I needed to like process doesn't figure it out so I did find someone but it wasn't the right fit and it was a little too like I'm just not one of those people where I need to touch of stone so that's what I thought she had me Touchstone that you feel like you have some masculine and feminine energy stuff that's battling right now business is the yeah yeah I don't know if my friend of mine told me that
00:25:12Chris plenty of Love imagining you and that stereo you guys can't see me when you're listening but I have out my two hands and one is a long salad Valor Stone and one of these soft Roundstone and I'm supposed to decide which one feels better in my hands
00:25:34I don't even know where my answer but I just knew that was my last time left
00:25:42can a good-looking man but I also I think I could use I mean I I think everybody can use it in some senses cuz it's about talking through things and I also think it's good to talk about therapist it don't work out because most people that try to go find somebody often the first person isn't the one that ends up working out and a lot of people give up after the first person that cuz they're like therapies not for me and I totally get that I almost didn't get to my one that I like because the first one I went to was horrible and she also hated me I hated her she doing
00:26:25we both have like left voicemails for each other afterwards saying this isn't going to work
00:26:33well you know this is mutual and it's the right one person is chasing the other but anyway but I did anyway I do think it's good for people to hear that like it's not like a one size fits not loud I meant that I'm diving into this
00:26:49pool that is therapy I mean it's like different in so many different directions and you got to find your person yeah also the problem is it's not cheap insurance cover it then it's a whole yeah so if you don't feel like this person gets you you don't want to pay twenty bucks an hour or someone who doesn't get you or some other things you can do with that money
00:27:13yeah and a massage or something so it will get some body work done hopefully he did well thanks I'm going to try to copy everything you guys are doing with your
00:27:35that's why I was saying you be you and like I always feel like when I give advice if you want this is more about when I give advice about building a brand building your business take what other people do and what inspires about what other people do I need to translate it into your own version of a Droid X style are your personal site whatever but I still same thing I mean I have I've seen some friends who I think are amazing parents and my pass and when I see something like I see little more so I will gladly apply that to my life because we all need help and we all need those little tricks and tips and all the sudden you you do any try on your kidney like yeah and then the you know that friend knows her that one for me I'll just take this and this
00:28:34I'm okay well thanks for coming
00:28:47Define joy joy joy. Com o h j o y. Com o Joy on all the media's she's a really great instagrammer and Instagram story she's got great history of stories I highly recommend yeah and don't forget to rate subscribe and review on where we listen to your podcast because that helps other people find it
00:29:20okay see you next week by

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