Joy Cho: Oh Joy!


Words:
Chelsea Sonksen

Photography:
Mary Costa

Joy Cho is one of the most well-known bloggers of all time. It all began in 2005 when Joy packed up her life in New York to join then her fiancé (now husband) in Philadelphia. She had been working for Cynthia Rowley, designing patterns for Swell, one of the first design collections sold at Target. In Philadelphia, Joy found herself in a new city, newly engaged, and searching for a new job. In this time of transition, she started her blog as a way to stay grounded and remain inspired.

The blog gained readers quickly, and soon Joy was able to launch a design studio with her readers as some of her first clients. But her main goal was to design for the brands she loved, so it was a huge milestone for her when she launched her first Target line in 2014. In the years since, Joy has designed multiple Target collections including a line of baby clothing, nursery décor, and home goods. She has also designed a line of wallpaper for Hygge & West, a collection of colorful Band-Aids for Johnson & Johnson, a Solly Baby Wrap, and more. Joy still maintains a daily blog, and she has now written three books. It’s no wonder that TIME magazine named her one of The 30 Most Influential People on the Internet alongside J.K. Rowling and Kayne West.

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In what way do you hope to impact the world through your work?

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 I can make those around me feel more positive too. If something I design adds an extra touch of joy to someone’s day, that makes me happy.

What advice do you have for women who want to pursue the same path as you?

Sometimes we see someone who is successful, and we think if we try to replicate what they did, we’ll have the same level of success. But don’t try to follow a formula that worked for someone else. Figure out your voice and style, and create what comes out of you naturally…from there, your own version of success will follow.

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

I’m a second-degree black belt and used to teach kids when I was in high school. The confidence that martials arts gives you (and gave me as an awkward tween) is unlike anything else. I recommend it for everyone—especially for girls because it’s so empowering.

What do you think is the secret to success in our modern times?

Knowing when to ask for help (because you can’t do it all yourself). Everyone thinks that the people they admire “do it all,” but the reality is, those who are “doing it all” are just better at asking for help and letting people help them, which is a hard thing to do!

What is the single most important thing you have learned over the years?

Work hard, be persistent, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Nothing happens to those who just sit around and wait.

What’s the best part of your day?

The evening when we are putting the kids to bed. To be the last person (along with my husband) that they see before they end the day is my favorite thing.