Contemporary parents are probably familiar with the fresh, colorful work of Oh Joy! founder and creative director Joy Cho. Her super-popular blog, Oh Joy!, is now in its teen years, and Cho’s lifestyle brand creates cheery versions of everything from luggage to baby clothes to, most recently, Clorox wipes. Her fans are especially looking forward to what’s next: kids’ footwear and backpacks. Cho did a collaboration with baby moccasin company Freshly Picked last year, but now that her girls (Ruby, 7, and Coco, 4) are getting older, she’s looking into new areas.
While you might know her designs (after all, she has plenty of products at Target), what you might not know is that Cho is an L.A. mom and on the board of directors of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. I spoke with Cho about shopping for her girls, upcoming projects and her favorite family-friendly L.A. spots.
Is there any particular product that your girls want you to design?
I mean, if it was up to my kids, I would be designing all kinds of crazy things, which aren’t actually so crazy. Like airplanes! And they’ll be like, “Can you make a unicorn? Can you design a rainbow?” They don’t obviously understand the full gist of the manufacturing; I can’t quite manufacture a unicorn!
An airplane, that would be very cool. But I think in general, kids just tend to have this different perspective that you forget about when you get caught up in life. All of a sudden, my kid or your kid say something, and you’re like, “Oh yeah. That’s actually either easier or simpler,” or whatever it is. Like yesterday, my older daughter was home recovering from a stomach bug, so I was with her and she asked to borrow tissue paper from my office because I have all these craft supplies. I was like, “What are you gonna make?” She was like, “I wanna make a honeycomb ball.” I was like, “You mean the ones that we have at our office that we did buy on Amazon?” She’s like, “Yeah, I wanna make one from scratch.”
She’s going to follow in your footsteps!
She came home and she made it and she followed a YouTube video and it’s surprisingly so good! I was just very impressed because to make something from scratch that also you could buy is a big deal. It wasn’t easy, and it required patience and she got frustrated. So, there’s things like that that I see from them that are inspiring in general.
What’s been your favorite item to design?
I mean, it’s really so hard to pick just one, because I think that with every item or product, it’s a different physical shape, it’s a different size, there’s a different use.
It’s really fun because you can’t apply the same thought process to everything. You can’t just take one pattern and put it on all those things and it works out the same. You have to think about how it’s cut, how it’s made, what the scale is, what the printing process is. It becomes an interesting exercise in how things that we draw over at the Oh Joy! studio manifest into a physical, tangible product. So, I honestly can’t even pick just one.
When you started your career, did you ever imagine you’d one day be designing packaging for items like Clorox wipes?
The exciting part for me is, as I’ve grown as a person into parenthood, Oh Joy! and the things that we do also kind of evolve with it. So, it makes a lot of sense for me to be doing something like this now versus when I was 22. Oh Joy! is all about color and pattern and bringing the joy to every day, so it was a really great combination and merging of those two factors in a product that we all use every single day.
What are your favorite places to shop for your kids?
Target is obviously a staple. I think it’s easy, especially with kids who ruin their clothes a lot. Other than that, I do a lot of online shopping with indie brands like June & January or Crew & Lu and, because of my job, I’ve also become friends with a lot of independent kids’ fashion brands, so it’s just nice to feel like I’m supporting them by wearing their clothes, having my kids wear their clothes.
What are your favorite kid-friendly things to do in L.A.?
My gosh, I love L.A. for kids! I mean, I’ve only been a parent in L.A., but there are so many good, free or inexpensive things to do here, which I think is a big deal. Some of the most basic ones that don’t involve planning or anything are things like the Hollywood Farmers Market. The Bob Baker Theater is a place that’s really near and dear to my heart, and then also things like the Petersen Museum, the auto museum, and of course all of the museums that are available, and there’re just so many great play spaces for kids. I think it’s such a good city for kids. u
Check out Cho’s latest project, her Oh Joy! Clorox collaboration at a Target near you. Follow her exploits on Instagram at @ohjoy.