Let's Talk To Oh Joy!
Today I’m talking to Blog royalty and total girl boss Joy Cho from Oh Joy! based in Los Angeles, California and I’m so happy to share insights from Joy about her life and work along with photos of her work space and shots of some of her designs. God, I like to learn how successful think, don’t you?
I first “discovered” this amazing lady through blogging wayyyyyy back in the dinosaur age, in 2005, about 4 months before I started this blog. We even spoke on the phone back then (no smart phones then, remember, most people still used a phone IN THE HOUSE) a few times. I remember one call, she was living in Philly and struggling with whether or not to relocate back to NYC for work. She decided not to, and put her focus on her blog. SMART MOVE.
Years later, Joy doesn’t need to rely on anyone or any location - she is a total BOSS who works with dozens of brands and is herself a brand - Oh Joy! designs for companies all over North America but the most impressive to me was her collab with Target - one of the most beloved chains in the United States. I am totally proud of her because she’s one of the few bloggers from back then who still keep in touch with me and who make time to reply to messages in spite of all of her success. You wouldn’t believe how many big bloggers don’t make that personal connection anymore, ignoring Insta messages, etc. NOT JOY. She’s on the ball and keeps it real. That’s one thing of many that I love about her.
Anyway, I had a chat with Joy and asked her a few things about her space, her business and how blogging changed her life. Wanna listen in?
So tell me, what is Oh Joy! mainly doing these days as a business?
Oh Joy! is a lifestyle brand that includes both daily editorial content and a design studio with a wide range of licensed products including home decor, baby & nursery, pet and accessories. Our goal is to bring joy to people every day in a variety of ways.
Have you ever thought to start your own company designing products under an Oh Joy! label, or do you prefer licensing and collaborating with more established brands?
I have manufactured my own product in the past, but for now, I prefer to partner with established brands that already make great products that I support and would love to work with. Licensing allows me to have my hands in a variety of different categories that I wouldn’t be able to design if we manufactured it all ourselves.
What do you enjoy most about your job each day?
My very favorite thing about having this job is that I’ve built a business from nothing doing the things I love. I have grown a talented team who I couldn’t do all of this without, and I get to show my daughters that you can be whatever you want to be with a lot of hard work and dedication to your passion.
Where do you see Oh Joy! in 5 years?
I would love to continue to grow our product collaborations into clothing (both for kids and for women), and I’d love to be able to get back to consulting for small business in some way.
You started off as a blogger, like me. How did blogging changed your life?
I started my blog in 2005 as a place to keep my inspirations during a time when I had a lot of transition - new apartment, new city, newly engaged, and job hunting! The site slowly became read by more and more people and it helped me to be able to launch my own design studio due to the clients I was getting from people who read the blog. It really changed the course of my career forever.
Blogging has changed SO MUCH since the early days though, what do you miss most?
I miss the interactivity of it. Blogs were king back in the day, and now we have Instagram and other social media sites that take up more of everyone’s daily attention. It’s the same interaction but you get it in different places and in different ways now. Everyone wants quicker and faster these days, so some of the content we could do 10 years ago isn’t the same as how people digest information now. It’s ever-evolving, and I do my best to keep up with what makes sense for now rather than live in the past.
What is your ultimate Oh Joy career dream? What would you love to do?
Oh Joy Mini Van, Oh Joy Airplane, Oh Joy Hotel ;)
Wow, you aim high! But you must have some lows. What do you battle with that you have to fight on a regular basis?
There is always the juggle to make every part of my life work—I have a very busy full-time job, a team to lead, children to raise into good humans, and a personal life which I'm trying to maintain on some level with friends and family. I think this will always be an on-going struggle but I do my best to let others help where I can and prioritize what’s most important.
Oh yes, #momlife. I totally understand the juggle. Tell us, for you, what have been some joys of motherhood?
Oh man, my favorite things are seeing how my kids pick up on what I teach them—whether it’s something I realize they are learning from me or not. They love to dance and I find them imitating my terrible dance moves. But it’s so cute on them!
I think you have some good moves Joy. In fact, I notice you dancing on your Instagram Stories all of a sudden and often. Good for you. So, what are some things you were surprised to learn about being a mom?
Children are always watching and always mimicking behavior. I probably knew this before I was a mom, but seeing my children say things I say or use my gestures/walk like me, etc. is really wild. It makes me very aware of the things I say in front of my kids and the way I behave. Of course, it makes me want to be a great example for them and inspire them!
What are some of the things no one told you about parenting that you’re glad they didn’t!?
They never tell you how emotionally exhausting it can be. Sometimes every single part of you is drained, but you can’t just stop and not parent. You’ve got to be “on” and helping these little humans become good people—it’s not easy!
Yes, I hear ya. But you do a great job momming, Joy. So now, I have to ask you about your space, because it’s so cute. What do you enjoy most about it?
We love the new(ish) Oh Joy! studio because we have tons of space as compared to our old studio. It’s large and open but has clearly defined sections to maximize use for everyone’s work. Once we established various sections of the office, it made sense for me to have an "executive" office since I am in meetings and phone calls a lot and for the styling/craft team to have room in the back where they could work on messier projects and have easy access their everyday supplies. There is one larger space where more than half of the Oh Joy! team (design, e-commerce, social media, and admin) spends their day. We also have common areas like our kitchen and dining table that we use daily
Tell us more… Who designed it?
We have several spaces in our studio - the Craft Room, the Shoot Space, the Kitchen, the Main Office, and my Executive Office. The Craft Room was designed by the IKEA Home Tour Squad, and they used IKEA kitchen items to make it totally functional and amazing! The Kitchen, Main Office and Executive Office were designed by my talented friend, Sarah Sherman Samuel, who worked with my inspiration of Oh Joy! color and whimsy to make it just the right mix of sophisticated and whimsical.
What features in the space do you love the most and why?
I love the mix of openness that makes it feel airy and easy for everyone to communicate but also the clear division of sections. Our previous space was one open area so if one area was messy or in the middle of a project you could see it from anywhere, now it’s easier to content the beautiful messes when we need to have clients or visitors to the space and everyone can still go about their daily work.
Okay, quickly… Favorites!
Massages once a month!
Fried Chicken Sandwich from Howlin’ Rays
And before I go, one product that you designed last year really caught my eye, your new WASHABLE rugs. I can’t tell you much I think this concept rocks! Tell us more…
We have partnered with Lorena Canals (whose rugs we have used in the studio for years because we love the colors and patterns) to make a collection of HAPPY Rugs! We have six patterns: Happy Hills, Happy Lanes, Happy Prism, Happy Day, Happy Party, and Happy Daisies. Each are about 4.5' x 6.5’ and the very best part of all Lorena Canals rugs - they’re machine washable. Perfect for kids, pets, and honestly everyone! Just throw your rug in the washer - it’s that easy! (Note: You can buy them online here.)
Thank you so much Joy for visiting us today on decor8, lovely to have you here and wish you a wonderful and delightful year and also, much luck on your first home the building project! Readers, Joy is building her first home in LA and she is documenting every detail on video HERE - don’t miss it! Also, Joy just started teaching online and created Oh Joy! Academy so definitely check out her classes HERE.
FOLLOW JOY HERE:
Photography with permission: Kitchen photos by: Monica Wang, Main Space (desks + mural) photos by: Jeff Mindell, Joy’s Executive Office photos by: Tessa Neustadt, Lorena Canals Rugs photos by: Lily Glass, Craft Room photos by: IKEA)