All posts by Yuko

About Yuko

Hi! I'm Yuko! I'm the illustrator/artist at Honeyberry Studios. I live and work out of my home studio in Seattle, Washington. I like to create art that is joyful, happy, and accessible. I get my inspiration from everyday small things, nature, animals, and food.

I’ll be on my sabbatical

Hey,

My 7th week sabbatical is coming up this week.

(It’s a practice I’ve been sticking to since October 2015 inspired by seanwes.)

I often get asked what I do during my sabbaticals.

I stick to my routine more or less because I feel the best when I follow my routine. I also maintain my biz, like responding to emails and shipping orders. I try not to schedule big deadlines during my sabbaticals.

Other than that, I prefer to not have anything pre-scheduled so I can do whatever I feel like!

If Dave happens to be around during my sabbaticals (he also has his own business), we might go see a movie or go thrift shopping. Maybe I do a big picture planning for my business. Or just read and doodle on my couch.

(You can read my blog posts to see what I’ve done during my past sabbaticals.)

I do what refuels me.

I work very hard while I’m “on” so having a regular recharge time has kept me from getting burnt out.

Do you have a regular time off or self-care routine? What refills your energy reservoir? Or are you having a hard time taking care of yourself?

Tell me in the comments 😊 I genuinely love hearing from you!

There won’t be any blog post next week. See you in a couple of weeks 😘

xo

I’m a pessimist.

When I’m at craft fairs, my customers ask me what inspires my art.

I tell them I’m not a naturally positive person so I need a reminder to be happy.

So I make art that’s uplifting and positive.

Often people respond with “me, too!” 🙋🏻‍♀️ or “yeah, it’s so important, especially now.”

I make happy art because it brightens my day and I want to share the joy with you.

Here are some of the messages I think of on a daily basis. If you’re needing a little boost today, soak it in 😘

I have this hanging on my living room wall.

I often take so much for granted – my husband, health, friends, etc.

When I’m in a funk, this message is a great reminder that I still have a lot of things to be grateful for.

I’ve got this in a sticker form and have it on my laptop where I see it every day 🌈

It’s easy for me to feel I’m not _____ (pretty, talented, thin, productive, focused, loving, good wife – you name it, I got it.) enough especially when I compare myself to others (more on that next.)

It’s nice to see this reminder and tell myself that I’m enough the way I am today.

And THIS. This also hangs in our living room.

I use social media, like Facebook and Instagram, every day for my business. I love how easy it is to connect with my friends and community there.

At the same time, it’s made it so much easier to compare myself to other people on the internet.

These are the thoughts I have often:

“Woo, look at her beautiful studio space! My work space is a mess, and I can never show it to anybody.”

“Her shop has so many sales! I wonder if I’d ever be so successful.”

“Wow, she has so many followers and likes on Instagram. Why don’t I have more?”

I still have these thoughts, but this message grounds me.

I remind myself that there are lots of people who have fewer followers or “likes” (or not on social media at all!) and have a very successful business.

(Or HAPPY.)

And everyone’s journey is different. I’m the only person who can know 100% of what’s going on in my life and business. What works for someone else may totally be a wrong choice for me.

It helps me to find peace wherever I am in life.

And if you’re having similar struggles, I hope it helps you, too 😊

xo

Find Honeyberry Studios in more retail shops! 👀

Hey,

I’m so excited that several new retailers have joined the list of stockists who carry Honeyberry Studios goods this year ✨

I want to send a warm welcome to:

T-SPOT​ – Manzanita, OR

Petals & Vines​ – Monmouth, OR

The Third Planet​ – Bellingham, WA

Black Bear Outpost​ – Black Diamond, WA

Island Books​ – Mercer Island, WA

Seattle Chocolate (flagship & airport store) – Sea-Tac & Tukwila, WA

Baskets of Joy​ – Seattle, WA

Sip and Ship​ – Seattle, WA

The Lookout​ – Spokane, WA

The Proctor Mercantile​ – Tacoma, WA

I absolutely LOVE working with shops big and small – it tickles me to know that my creations are loved by customers I’ve never met or talked to 💗 

I have a goal of getting into at least one shop in every major city of US! 🇺🇸 Sounds big but I believe it’s do-able 💪

If you have a cute shop in your area that I should be in, do send me a message and let me know! 

(Bonus point if you have the contact of a buyer or owner 😽)

You can find all 60 retailers who carry my goods here

Shop local and support your community ✌️

xo


 

Self-care, Coeur d’Alene, and price adjustments

Hey there,

How’s it March already?? 😬

In Japan we have a saying: January goes, February runs away, and March leaves. I guess people have felt this way about the first three months of the year for a long time.

It’s nice to know it’s not just me. Hehe 😀 Do you feel the same way?

As this post goes out, we’re in Spokane for Custer’s Spring Arts & Crafts Show. Come visit if you’re in the area!

In the meantime, I have a few announcements today, so let’s jump right in.

First off, I have a couple of new items available in the shop!

“Self-Care is not Selfish” design is now available as magnets!

It’s been one of my customer-favorites, and the vinyl stickers with the same design has been very popular as well. I’m excited to add this to my magnet family.

What a helpful reminder for every day 💗

I’ve also added Coeur d’Alane greeting card to my line just in time for the show in Spokane this weekend.

It’s also available as 8×10″ and 11×14″ archival giclee art print.

I love how colorful it’s turned out 🌈 I’ve been told many times how beautiful Coeur d’Alene is. I need to visit there!

You can find all these items in my shop or at shows.

OK, on to another news – I’m adjusting a couple of product prices effective June 1, 2019.

For your reference, 8×10″ art prints are currently $22, and gift wraps are $12 for a roll of 3 sheets.

This is both due to manufacturer cost increase and to balance out my prices in general.

Everything else stays the same ✌️

If you wanna grab them at the current price, shop before May 31st 🏃🏻‍♀️

Have an awesome day!

xo

Do you love one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry? 💎

I did it!

I survived the NW Flower & Garden Show!!

THANK YOU for coming to support me. Meeting new and old friends is always the highlight of my shows.

It was my first time exhibiting at the NWFGS, and I was lucky enough to share a booth with my maker friend, Sarah from Magpie Mouse Studios.

In fact, it was Sarah who asked me if I wanted to share a booth with her in the first place.

The cost of doing this show was quite high (for me), so without her inviting me to split the cost, I probably wouldn’t have done it.

Sarah and I have been at several shows together before – I’ve always admired her colorful enamel jewelry and her upbeat personality.

Until I shared a booth with her, I didn’t know just how complementary our products were.

During the 5 days we were together, we played with pairing my greeting cards with her one-of-a-kind earrings.

Look how cute they are!! 👀

I’m so in love 😍

You can click on each photo to shop the card you love 😽

Earrings are all handmade and one of a kind – many of the ones in the photos have sold out – but you can check out Sarah’s Etsy shop to find something similar.

Have a wonderful, colorful day!

xo

ps. Always free US shipping when you order $35 or more.

My self-care strategies for a busy show week 💗

Hey,

I wrote this post for my newsletter a week ago – the event has already passed (or if you read this when it comes out, you can still catch the last day of the event ) but thought my self-care strategies would work for any time I have a demanding schedule… so here  you go! Hope it inspires your own self-care goals 😉

***

I’m exhibiting at NW Flower & Garden Festival for the first time this year. I’m super excited for the big show this week – and feeling nervous.

Feeling nervous not only because it’s a big investment for Honeyberry Studios, but I’m worried I’ll be completely exhausted after 5 long days (11+ hours) of being in public.

Being the biggest introvert I’ve ever met, I know spending that much time around people is going to drain me of all the energy. Probably by day 2. Terrible.

So I have a few self-care strategies to help me get through the week:

Stock up on foods: I don’t like spending a ton of money on foods at show venues (plus I don’t really have time to get away from my booth to wait in line.) We went grocery shopping yesterday and bought a bunch of snacks, lunch foods, and beverages to take with me. Plus I have some frozen leftovers in our freezer I can just thaw out. I know I won’t have time to cook for 5 days, so now I’m well stocked with foods I could possibly want!

Ask for help: Dave will also be out of town most of the week and I had a shipping conundrum. I ended up asking my kind neighbor for help, and she’s gonna take some packages to the post office for me while I work at the show. I feel so much better reaching out for help! If this is hard for you, remember, people who care about you want to help you if you let them.

Sleep: This is gonna be hard. I’ve been trying to get 8 hours of sleep every night after watching this interview on Joe Rogan show. But, the NWFGS goes until 8pm most of the days, and by the time I get home, it’ll be 9, and then I need to unwind for a couple of hours before I go to sleep (some people, like my husband Dave, are lucky enough to be able to sleep whenever, wherever – that is not me, unfortunately.) and I have to be up at 5-5:30 the next morning. So, no, I won’t be getting 8 hours of sleep. I’ll shoot for 7 if I can!

Let it go: I believe mental well-being is as important, if not more important, as physical. So my biggest intention for self-care this week is – let go of all the expectations. I’ll try not to obsess about everything going as planned (because you know it won’t!) and be ok with that. I’ll do what makes me feel good, and that includes cutting myself some slack when I don’t meet my goals. After all, 5 days out of your entire life is a really short time. It feels overwhelming now, but I know once it’s done, I won’t even think about it. So why stress about it today? I’ve done everything in my control to make it a successful week, and I trust that I’ll figure it out if something doesn’t work.

And I know I’ll have fun, too. Meeting customers and making friends with other vendors is always delightful 💗

So I’m taking a deep breath and moving forward with peaceful mind.

Hope you’ll have a self-care-filled week, my friend!

xo

 

Am I putting too many eggs in one basket? 🐣

Hi friend,

​I was on my mini sabbatical week last week.

I’ve been taking off every 7th week to rest and recharge since October 2015. 

(This brilliant idea is inspired by seanwes and is THE best self-care strategy I’ve incorporated into my life so far ✨)

I typically stick to my routines during sabbaticals. Getting up at the same time, going to the gym etc. I find that if I don’t follow my routine, I feel more sluggish and low-energy.

For work, I do minimum maintenance, like shipping orders and responding to emails, but no big deadlines. And sometimes I do big picture planning stuff during my sabbaticals.

To me, mini sabbaticals are not exactly a vacation, but it’s time to focus on things I don’t usually prioritize.

(And I’m writing this email the week before, so don’t worry! 😉)

Sometimes, it allows me space to just ponder. 

For example, I created my 2018 revenue chart inspired by one of my heroes, Jen Hewett.

Ta da! This is where my income came from last year.

My overall chart didn’t surprise me. It looks very similar to what I had in 2017. Teaching and video-making took a bigger portion of the pie in 2017, but I’ve been cutting back on them to focus more energy on my product sales, so it makes sense.

Breakdown of my retail sales, though, was a little bit concerning.

Almost 90% of my direct customer sales came from doing shows and markets. No surprise because I upped the game on in-person events significantly last year.

But I wonder how sustainable it is.

Just these couple of weeks, Seattle was hit by heavy snowfall. And if you know anything about Seattle, you know that even an inch of snow on the ground can shut everything down.

Earlier last week, snow hurt the traffic for Seattle Gift Show. The last two days of the show was so painfully SLOW 🐌 Then another show got moved to a different weekend because of snow. And as I write this, I’m wondering if the show for this weekend is gonna get cancelled or if I’m able to get to the venue, and even if the show happens, chances are the traffic is gonna suffer because of more snow in the forecast.

So much of the show’s success is out of my control.

It depends on so many things, like whether or not I get into a show that attracts the right people for my work, what else is happening in the world (like Super Bowl), who your booth neighbors are, where your booth is located, and of course, weather.

I’m not saying I won’t do shows any more, because I genuinely love doing them, it’s totally my jam 😎 and apparently, my #1 money maker.

It makes me realize, I want to make my online shop and wholesale business just as successful so I’m not relying so heavily on revenues from in-person shows.

I’m not looking for a business advice or suggestions today – I have a process of figuring out ideas and strategies that work for my unique needs. I’ll ask for help when/if I need it 😉

When things slow down, whether it was intentional or forced, it creates a space to ask questions.

How are things going? What’s working and not working? Where do I want to go? What could change to make things better? These are some of the questions that are floating in my head right now.

Speaking of growing my online shop, you know my new collection has just launched last week.

(Now THAT is a segue if you ever saw one 😆)

It’s a delightful collection with colorful and happy art – and my shop is always open even during the Snowmageddon ☃️

Grab a hot cocoa, and enjoy exploring the world of cuteness 🐰 from your cozy couch.

Stay warm,

xo

 

Spring & Summer Collection is HERE 🎉

It’s finally happened.

My 2019 Spring & Summer collection is here!! 🌸🎊🐰🥕

I’ve got 11 new card designs, 3 archival giclee prints, one sticker, and a wrapping paper for you!

If you’re into colorful and adorable art (which I assume you are if you’re receiving this email 😉) now is your chance to infuse your life with even more cuteness.

And you always get FREE US SHIPPING for orders of $35 or more, so if your new year’s resolution includes sending more cards to your loved ones, stock up on them today!

Thanks for supporting my work, my friend 😘

I’m so grateful.

xo

ps. If you prefer to shop in-person, come see me at shows and markets! (Caution 🚨 we’re expecting a heavy snowfall again for the next week, and it may affect the show schedule – If the weather is iffy in the future, do check my calendar before you head out. Be safe out there!)

pps. In case you missed the link, you can shop my entire new collection here.

Good news 👍 bad news 👎

Let me start with the good news.

I found what I was looking for on my birthday last week.

SNOW!

It was peaceful and quiet up in the mountains. (We went to Hyak – only 45 minutes from Seattle – a wonderful place to play, snowshoe, or country-ski.)

Thanks for your kind birthday wishes 💗 I felt loved.

So the bad news is – I was aiming to launch my new collection last Friday, but no, it didn’t happen😿

Prep for Seattle Gift Show (which is a trade show for shop buyers) has taken more time and energy than I anticipated (duh)  and I haven’t had a chance to update my web shop yet.

I still need to photograph my new goodies, edit them, and write descriptions, which takes time…🤪 especially because I have more products than I thought I’d have. More on that later.

I hate not meeting my goals. 

I’m also trying to take better care of myself physically and mentally this year, so I’m letting go of my expectations and telling myself it’s OK to push back the launch date.

​I can totally see you go “It’s not a big deal, Yuko. Don’t worry about it.” because I know, things like internal deadlines aren’t really that big of a deal to anyone else but me. At least I hope you’re cool with this 😀

My new collection will be up in the shop as soon as it’s ready next week – keep your eyes peeled for the announcement 👀

In the meantime, enjoy the last preview of my new collection!

At shows and markets, I often get asked “do you have a wedding card?”

And I say “well, I don’t have a card that says ‘wedding’ but I have lots of love cards!” and some people make a funny noise and walk away.

I understand. Sometimes, you just want a card that says exactly what the occasion is.

So I created this “happy wedding” card featuring soft watercolor-style succulent bouquet.

Who doesn’t love a succulent bouquet?? They’re gorgeous!

This design made me want to go back to my love for simple line drawing and watercolor. So I created a few more in a similar style.

Ah, llama graduate.

I actually created this design for a drawing tutorial video for Sakura of America last year. I loved it so much that I brought it back as a product 🍎

CUTE.

And this.

Loon Father’s Day card.

I’ve been taking long walks around Seward Park lately and noticed lots of these loons on the lake. Though I’ve never seen this adorable situation with a baby on the back of a daddy loon in person, internet tells me it’s a thing.

It’d be perfect for a nature-loving dad, don’t you think? 🦆

Confession time: that was gonna be it for my new collection – but inspiration hit earlier this week and I had to make a couple more designs.

(and that’s partly why I’m not ready to launch the collection just yet…)

Loving the simplicity of this new Mother’s Day card! I’m obsessed with this color palette this season 🎨

And a little word play for the gardeners 😆

I’m gonna be at NW Flower & Garden Festival this year and thought this would be a big hit 🥕🐰

OK, so I’ve created whopping 11 new designs for the collection – WOW and every one of them gives me the warm and fuzzy feelings.

Thanks for your patience as I figure out how I can manage my time and energy better this year.

I promise it’ll be worth the wait!!

xo

 

Not your typical birthday post 🎂

I turned 41 on Thursday!

I thought about doing one of those “41 things I’ve learned in my life” post – and I’m sure I’ve learned many things – but I just can’t remember 41 of them 😂 Maybe I’ll do that when I turn 50. But then I’d have to come up with 50 things. I better start making a list now.

When I was in my 20s, 40 sounded SO OLD.

40 seemed so grown-up. I’d thought I’d have a house, teenage kids (I was convinced I’d have twin boys) and have more grey hair by the time I’m in my 40s.

And I’d be wise. Like nothing would faze me.

(btw, I thought it was “phase me” up until now. I looked it up to be sure and learned it was actually “faze” – that’s my wisdom for ya 🤣)

Instead, we live in an apartment, no children, running our own businesses, and maybe a few grey strands.

It’s not better or worse – It just means I’ve made different life choices than my younger-self had thought.

(Except for the grey hair. That’s mostly genetics 👵🏻)

I still don’t know the answers to many things. And I get scared when I go out of my comfort zone.

For example, I wanna hire help this year so Honeyberry Studios can be at multiple shows and markets during the summer and holiday season. Hiring someone? Scary.

How about this? I’m aiming to be an exhibitor at National Stationery Show (that’s one of the biggest industry trade shows in the US) in NYC in February, 2020. BIG. SCARY. GOAL 😱

(Also a very expensive goal 💸)

Would I have done this in my 20s? I could’ve. But I wouldn’t have thought I could.

The most important lesson my life has taught me thus far is this: you can achieve many things, even those big scary things you thought were impossible. You’re much more capable than you think – even if you don’t think you’re ready for it.

Your journey may not be pretty. In fact, it will be messy and scary every step of the way.

Even if you didn’t get the result you hoped for, you’re still learning something. Every time you come out of a failure, you’re still alive and standing.

Now put that on “repeat” and whenever you face a new challenge, you’ll feel less scared. Or you’ll know that you’ll be OK even if this thing fails.

I knew that intellectually when I was younger – but now I really know that because I’ve experienced it.

For that, I’m extremely grateful 🙏🏼

In honor of my birthday, I wanted to share a preview of my new birthday card design that’s coming out later next week!

The floral design was inspired by our trip to Milwaukee Public Museum over the Christmas – their European Village exhibit is my favorite, and I fell hard in love with their Polish house – everything is covered with beautiful floral designs and vibrant colors.

Yes please!

We’re going up the mountain over the Snoqualmie pass to play in the show and then going out to dinner with a couple of friends to one of my fave restaurants, Cafe Flora.

Here is to another year full of adventures.

xo