Category Archives: My Thoughts

Hanging in there?

Hi friend,

Hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy πŸ™πŸΌ

Dave and I are staying home as much as we can, and thankfully we’re healthy so far.

For that, I’m most grateful.

You know what else I’m grateful for??

Your are causing me major gratitude overload!! I’ve been enjoying packaging up each and every order for you.

Seriously, you’re the BEST.

Keep them coming because your 15% off code “SPRING15” is still good.

(and you can use it more than once!)

As I said last week, I’m trying to offer more video contents because it makes me feel closer to you.

I’ve been feeling isolated as I practice social distancing – not only are my shows being cancelled, my pottery class, gym, and get-togethers with friends are cancelled as well πŸ˜”

(Not to mention my solo vacay to Sedona. Yup I cancelled it. Sad, but necessary 😭)

Yes, it is a temporary measure. And perhaps the best thing we can do right now to give ourselves a fighting chance.

So I’ve been recording short messages as I pack up your orders in the morning and sharing them on .

, I talk about why I share my story on the back of each cardπŸ‘€

At shows and markets, I’m able to chat more easily with my customers and share my story, but I don’t always get to, or you wouldn’t necessarily share that with the person you’re writing to.

So I’m putting it right there – whoever receives your lovely note will know that you’ve carefully selected a card that was created by a real person with real hopes and dreams✨

You wouldn’t get that from mass-produced greeting cards from a drug store… Just sayin.

And here is

I share with you what my customers have been ordering, and which ones are my favorite!

It lifts me up to know that you’re actively reaching out to your loved ones in this time of uncertainty.

And being part of your love mail gives me so much joy ❀️

When I’m feeling anxious and off-centered, it helps to do something. Especially, helping others shifts focus off of my own problems and worries.

So… I’ve started “60 Brighter Days” email series!! Sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already, and you’ll receive a happy, encouraging email from me every day for 60 days.

Ok, friend, stay strong. We’ll get through this together.

Sending you love,

xo

This is my Plan B

I wanted to give you a heads up about a couple of things today.

As you know, a special flu is going around in Seattle and lots of other places.

(I know technically it’s not a flu…but an article I read about how to reduce anxiety recommended you call it something else, like “the flu,” so that’s what I’m doing πŸ˜€)

To protect the public health and safety, lots of events are getting cancelled.

For me, that means my main source of income, shows and markets, is either getting cancelled or not many people are gonna turn up to shop in person for the foreseeable future.

For example, my next market, UPS Flea Market on 3/21, has been cancelled 😭 Sorry if you were planning on going. I’m very disappointed, too.

And I don’t have a show scheduled until May.

So… I’m engaging my Plan B✌🏼

I’m focusing my energy on growing for a while, and to make it more enjoyable for you, I’ve created a promo for you.

Yup, you know I don’t normally do random sales, but the time requires a bit of a flexibility – so you can enjoy 15% off on your entire order when you !

Just enter “SPRING15” at checkout 😘

I haven’t decided how long the promo will go on, but at least till the end of the month. I’ll let you know when it’s about to end.

You can use this code as many times as you’d like, too. Feel free to share with friends and family.

(NOTE: I will not be able to apply the promo retroactively as Shopify, my online platform, charges fees based on the original sales amount πŸ˜” so don’t forget to enter it when you shop.)

Another thing I’m doing – because I don’t get to see you in person for a while – is for you!

It’s mostly me sharing quick updates and doing mini “informacials” if you will πŸ˜‚ but if you’d like to see me awkwardly talk to my phone camera, be sure to watch them πŸ’•πŸ‘‡πŸΌ

Thanks friend!!

Stay well,

xo

ps. Take advantage of 15% off online order with a special code “SPRING15”

pps. If you’ve come to my shows/markets, you know I offer special deals just for the market customers. I’ll of course continue to offer them when/if I do markets this season and beyond. Just so you know πŸ˜‰

10 things you may not know about me πŸ‘€

I’ve been enjoying some of my friends’ challenge posts on social media.

I especially liked reading their stories – although I’m not participating in the daily challenge, I thought it would be fun to share with you some facts about me you may not know πŸ˜†

Here are 10 things you may not know about me:

1) I have an older brother who lives in Japan, and he runs near my parents’ house.

He started it right after I quit my job to focus on my biz – it’s been cool to see his business thrive as well.

2)Β I was way into theater in my tween/teen years. I wrote, produced, and performed in several plays in middle and high school.

I loved getting into characters, hanging out with my theater friends (whom I see every time I go home), creating stories, and the thrill of acting in front of a live audience.

I don’t like being put on a spot, but give me a script, background story, and time to practice, I’m all about it πŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

3)Β I’m a . In a nutshell, it means you’re wired to feel things deeply, and you may be easily overwhelmed by external (or internal) stimulations.

I consider my sensitivity to be a gift that helps me empathize with others and connect deeply with the beauty that surrounds me.

4) I’ve been meditating almost daily for the past 4 years. I usually meditate right after I wake up. I love starting my day with a quiet grounding practice.

It prepares me to face the world that’s so noisy and cluttered.

5)Β I have and Β personality traits. I consider myself an idealist who can get a lot done πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Having structure and routine is pretty important for me to thrive, and I’m not very flexible/spontaneous. So if you ask me to tea the day before (or really, less than 2 weeks notice is “short notice” for me 😬), chances are I’ll say no β˜•οΈ

6)Β I struggled with (= an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating) about 4 years ago. Thoughts on what to eat and not eat were taking over my life.

I was lucky to have found and in my recovery.

I’m a much happier/relaxed eater now and rarely slip into my old thinking any more. And when I do, I’m much more compassionate with myself πŸ’•

7)Β When I turn 50, I want to live in Paris for a month πŸ‡«πŸ‡· I want to take French lessons and make art every day πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŽ¨ I’ve been putting $20 into my Paris dream account every week since I turned 41 last year.

8)Β I’m mostly a self-taught artist. I’d worked in a non-profit domestic violence organization for 14+ years before I became a full-time artist.

I studied graphic design while I was soul-searching about what I wanted to do with my life but realized I loved illustration much more than design after three years in the program πŸ’

I don’t regret going through the program – I use the skills I learned every day in my business!

9)Β I majored in Women Studies (now Gender & Sexuality Studies) in college. I happened to take Gender, Race, and Class course one quarter without knowing a lot about it and got immediately hooked. It opened my eyes to the reality of the world and validated my life experience big time.

Yes, I’m a feminist.

10)Β I joined the Board of Directors at , an amazing DV org serving LGBTQ community, last June. It’s been quite a learning curve to get back in the non-profit leadership work πŸ˜… but I’m honored to be part of it!

BONUS: My sweetie Dave and I met 14 years ago on Craigslist personnel (which no longer exits.)

We had a semi-long distance relationship (he: Orcas Island, me: Seattle. About 3 hour commute one way) for 5 years before he moved to Seattle to be with me ❀️

I can go on and on with tidbits about me but this is it for now. Maybe I’ll continue next year πŸ‘‹πŸΌ

Hope you enjoyed my stories 😊

What are things that most people don’t know about you?

xo

NY Show Recap

As promised, I wanted to share my National Stationery Show (NSS) recap and reflection with you today.

To be honest, I’ve been dreading it a little bit – sort of hoping you’d forgotten I was gonna write this, but enough people have been asking about how the show went, so I’m showing up in my full vulnerability πŸ˜†

I feel vulnerable sharing real numbers with you, but I wanted to keep it real… and if you’re a maker/designer yourself and thought about exhibiting there, I thought it would be helpful for you.

So, here are some of my goals and how they went.

Goal 1: Get at least 1 order a day

This was my low goal… I was trying to keep my expectations low because I’d never done the show before and didn’t want to be disappointed.

Well, good thing I had low expectations because I barely made this goal. Total of 4 new orders and 2 reorders.

Does that seem like a low number to you? πŸ€” It did to me.

It felt pretty slow from my perspective, and honestly I was surprised I didn’t see more buyers. When I walked around, I saw some areas were bustling with people, but I was in no way overwhelmed at any point during the show.

Needless to say, I was a little disappointed.

But the quality of the orders I received was high – including , and , so that was really cool ✨

And it was really nice to meet some of my existing cusomers in real life πŸ’•

As with any trade shows, often the reward comes after the show, and building relationships is the name of the game.

I’m grateful to have met lovely buyers and fellow exhibitors from all over the country and hope to nurture a long-lasting relationship with many of them.

Update: I’ve received two extra orders so far from the connections I made at the show. Yay πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Goal 2: Stay under budget

I didn’t achieve this goal 100% πŸ’Έ

My budget was $10K – including booth fee ($2800), booth build out ($3500 – including 3 walls, two colors, graphics, lighting, electricity, carpeting, labor), flight, lodging, food (for me and Dave) printing marketing collaterals, shipping materials, transportations, booth furniture etc. etc.

I haven’t done the actual numbers yet, but I probably went over by 10% more or less.

I’m glad to have hired someone to build the booth for me (it’s with if you’re interested. They’re great.) and it was great to have Dave with me to help, but next time, I probably won’t bring him 😬 I may still have the company take care of my booth, assuming it’ll be cheaper now that they have my materials…

It took me a year to save up for the show, and as I want to do more than one trade show a year, I’d need to be more mindful about the cost in the future.

Goal 3: Stay healthy

Well, let’s say, I managed to stay healthy during the show! 😹 I kept on top of washing my hands and getting a good night sleep, so at least I’m happy that we didn’t get sick while we were there.

Goal 4: Enjoy NYC

I’d give πŸ’― on this one.

Dave and I enjoyed walking around the neighborhood, went to American Natural History Museum and the MET, ate good food every day (, , were some of our favorites) and had a really good time there!

good coffee and ambience at Easy Victor Cafe

Thoughts & Questions:

Will I do this again?

Maybe. It depends on how things shake out in the next several months. The show itself was really awesome – so huge and everyone’s booth was so so good. I consider this the Super Bowl of stationery trade show πŸ˜† I’m curious to try in a different spot or different season maybe. It remains to be seen.

Was it worth it?

Absolutely. I’ll change some things in the future (keep under budget, reach out to any potential buyers beforehand etc.) but I have no regrets about trying. I got lots of nice compliments from buyers and exhibitors alike, which always boosts my confidence.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the show – I’ve had enough time to throw myself a pity party and processed all the things, so I’m feeling pretty good in general. (And germ free) No need to worry. Onward and upward.

Hope you enjoyed my recap!

Talk soon,

xo

ps. I’ll be at next Wed – Sun! Come say hello at booth 967 if you’re around.

Hi from NYC πŸ‘‹πŸΌ

Just wanted to send you a quick note from NYC!!

As I write this email, I’m sitting in my beautiful booth at National Stationery Show, reflecting on the last, looooong, 4 days πŸ€ͺ

I don’t have many words to describe the experience yet, but it’s been really amazing to be here.

I’ve got new orders, met many new friends, vendors and retailers alike, which is always my favorite part of doing a show ✨

I’ll write a more in-depth reflection on my experience here later – when I have time (and energy) to think and organize my thoughts after I get home 😘

Hope your week is going well!

Talk soon,

xo

Yuko

 

Just love ❀️

My laptop is being repaired this week (hello mercury retrograde πŸ’”) and writing on my iPad is as painful as you think, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I’m so grateful to have you in my life.

You give so much to others through your kindness, creativity, and generosity.

You lift up those around you and spread joy when things feel hard.

Thanks for being an awesome human. I ❀️ you.

xo

 

Thinking of You Week Reflection πŸ’Œ

How was your Thinking of You Week??

image from thinkingofyouweekusa.com

This past week has been about celebrating the joy of sending and receiving a handwritten note.

Which of course is something I can get behind 100%!

Someone commented on my Insta post about Thinking of You Week the other day, saying they try but it’s hard to keep up.

I hear you! I really do… because…I had a hard time keeping up, too!

To that, I said

Don’t let your perfectionism keep you from reaching out to your loved ones!

This “challenge” is just an opportunity to get you thinking about your connections to your community.

If you write every day, that’s great. But you could just send a few or even one card this week – or next month – or year, you know, this is not a competition, and nobody is judging you!!

Well, nobody except you, maybe πŸ˜‰

I’m being casual about it this year, too – my brain has been a bit preoccupied these couple of weeks, so I’m taking my time thinking about a person and writing a card every couple of days… It’s still fun for me and not as stressful.

So far, I’ve chosen to write to friends who have moved away from Seattle, so my Birds of Washington card has been the go-to!

If you joined the challenge, how did it go for you? Is this something you’d like to do regularly?

Let me know in comments! I love hearing from you πŸ’

Happy connecting!

xo

2020 Self-care calendar sneak preview!

I meant to design a monthly calendar last year, but I had too high of an expectation for myself, ran out of time, so it didn’t happen πŸ˜‘ sad.

However, I’m happy to tell you that it’s coming back for 2020!

My 2020 calendar will be all about self-care, self-acceptance, and confidence.

It’s a strange timing though that I’m working on this calendar now because things have been a bit chaotic in my life lately.

Don’t worry, no divorce or illness, thank goodness 😬 But, I’ve got a new studio space that I’m setting up (unexpected but exciting. more on that later), and a couple of other non-biz-related things have kept me feeling a bit ungrounded and scattered.

(As I write this email, I realized the core issue is my routine has been disturbed by these unexpected events. As much as I’d like to go with the flow and be spontaneous, I needΒ routine for my well-being. Check.)

Needless to say, it’s taken longer to finish the calendar…πŸ˜€ but I still aim to get them out to you sometime in October ✨

Here is the sneak preview!

So pretty, no?? 😻

I don’t know if you knew this, but I craft these encouraging messages for myself, first and foremost.

And they resonate with me so much more when I’m in a more uncertain space.

As I put together these designs, I remind myself to breathe, acknowledge that I’m in that space, and be present as much as possible.

Nothing lasts forever, and I’ve come out ok through 100% of the past difficult situations (and don’t remember most of them πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ), so this, I shall survive also.

I’m trying to be gentle with myself and give myself permission to be “meh” in a meantime.

If you’re also feeling “meh,” it’s OK. Take care of yourself, my friend ❀️

xo

Happy 4th Freedom Anniversary πŸ₯³

I celebrated my 4th “freedom anniversary” a.k.a. the day I quit my job to work on Honeyberry Studios full-time on July 31stπŸŽ‰

(If you’re interested in knowing more about my transitioning process, you can read this blog post and many other entries from 2015.)

A few days after I quit, I went on a solo retreat to set intentions for my artist/business journey.

and here is the manifesto I created on my retreat. most of it still rings true except for creating every day and the health-obsessed bit πŸ˜€

The past 4 years have been a marathon self-development therapy session, I tell you.

I’ve learned so much about myself and am so proud of the accomplishments I’ve made so far.

I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned and wanted to share them with you today ✨

First thing that’s come up is this:

You don’t have to be the best artist. But you need to be fiercely, unapologetically,Β you.

I used to feel insecure about my art. I even felt a little cringy calling myself an artist. I’m mostly self-taught, and my technical skills aren’t that advanced. I thought it was cute and child-like but not “real” art.

I thought art should be more, shall I say, deep? whatever that means…πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

When I saw the work of other successful artists I admire, I’d think “oh, I wish my art looked more like that. It is so _______ (sophisticated, elegant, cool, hip etc. <- things that my art is not)”

Over the last several years, I’ve slowly learned that you don’t have to be the most technically advanced artist to be successful, but it needs to have your distinct voice.

I’ve gotten to internalize this as I started selling more at shows and markets last year and kept witnessing my customers’ happy reactions in person.

People’s face light up as they walk by my booth. I can see them mouthing to their friend “cuuute.” I hear “awwwwww” and “so adorable” every 5 minutes.

It’s reinforced to me that yes, cutenss is valuable, and it makes people extremely happy.

And it’s ok if that’s the only thing my art offers.

I may be oversimplifying it, but you get what I’m saying? I mean people pay a lot of money for therapy, drugs, and experiences to be happy, no? πŸ˜€

Sometimes I make something and say to myself “wait, is this too cute? Should I tone it down?”

like when I made this adorable baby card…😍

Fortunately, I can snap out of the silliness of the situation pretty quickly now. The answer is, OF COURSE NOT.

It turns out so many people love cute things. I know you do! Tone it down?? I’d be doing a disservice to you and humanity.

I want to give you what you came here for. Adorable, happy art that makes you smile.

The more joy I express through my work, the happier I get doing what I do.

And that brings more joy to you, and that gives me the fuel to keep going, and it’s a never-ending love fest ❀️

You may have been in my community since well before I quit my job 4 years ago. Or you may have just found me last week.

I still feel like a baby in my biz journey and without you, there is no Honeyberry Studios, so yeah, you’re awesome. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.

Ok, I had more reflections I wanted to share today, but this is getting a bit too long πŸ˜€ so I’ll parse it out later.

Have a cuteness filled day!

xo

ps. my mom is coming to visit me next week πŸ₯° and we’re going to Yellowstone πŸŒ²πŸ¦Œβ›°πŸ our first time!! If you need anything from my shop, come to Fremont Sunday Market today 10-4, or place your order online before Monday and I’ll ship them out before we head out!

Life lessons my grandma taught me

I’m a glass-half-empty kinda gal. Does that surprise you? Or you knew that already?

I still haven’t figured out if it’s nature or nurture. It’s probably a little bit of both.

I suspect my grandparents on my dad’s side played a big role in instilling pesimistic tendencies in me at a young age.

My dad was the eldest son, so we lived with his parents, which I loved as a kid. My grandma was my main caretaker until I was about 4 since both my parents worked outside of home.

The thing about my grandparents was, especially my grandma, they didn’t have a lot of boudaries or filters 😬 They’d often criticize our neighbors or family members openly. They never ran out of things to complain about and lamented about life in general.

I don’t blame them. Life did deal them bad hands especially for my grandma.

She went through WWII as a terrified and hungry teenager, had an arranged marriage to my grandpa when she was 18, forcing her to move away from her family in the city to a rural area where she was expected to do physical farming work while raising 3 boys – she desparately wanted a girl and told me how dissapointed she was when my dad and uncles were born πŸ˜… She also told me she never loved grandpa. Like, all the time.

Yikes.

But you can understand why she was so bitter about life, no?

One of my earliest memories of her is me feeling an intense sadness for her when she was telling me how she’d saved up little money she had as a teenager to buy this delicious looking bread that she’d been ogling from outside of the bakery – and when she finally saved up enough money to buy the bread, it turned out so nasty tasting and she was extremely disappointed.

So, so sad.

Most of my adult life, I’ve been working to reset my mind to a default that says life isn’t full of sadness and suffering.

Staying positive takes me a lot of practice and intentionality.

I started meditating in 2013, and it’s helped tremendously with staying centered when things get hard.

Another thing that helps me with my positive mindset is my daily journaling. I jot down three things I’m grateful for in my journal before I go to bed.

It only takes me a minute, but I love having the time to reflect on the day and focus on the good things that happened before going to sleep.

I’ve been journaling for almost two years now, and here are some of my most common entries:

– laughing with Dave

– walks in sunshine

– going to bed

– good show & meeting awesome people

I rarely have big, over-the-top things to be grateful for. It’s the small, seemingly unimportant things that make me realize how good my life is.

And I’m grateful for my grandma for teaching me that – the little things I take for granted could be taken away at any moment. I’m lucky to have choices that she’d never dreamed of having.

Do you have a grounding practice or ritual? Are you a glass-half-full or empty kinda person?

Reply to this email and tell me. I genuinely enjoy hearing from you πŸ₯°

xo

ps. I’m discontinuing my notebooksin my shop, and they’re on good-bye discount now. Grab them while supplies lastπŸ“š