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my favorite pots for your plants!

Oh Joy Planter Guide

During this time of quarantine and staying home, I've been growing my plant collection. The act of watering the plants and caring for them has been surprisingly therapeutic, plus I love adding more life to my home with these plant friends. I've had questions from you about where to find great planters, so here a few of my favorite online shops....

Capra Designs

Capra Designs makes a range of beautiful pots with fun colors, sizes, and textures and are designed with built-in trays to collect water which I love.

Eco Vibe Style

Ecovibe has a great variety (I especially love these standing planters) plus they sell plants and offer local plant delivery locally to Portland where they are located.

Jungalow

My friend, Justina, has an eclectic mix of planters and vases at the Jungalow many of which double as planters for plants or vases for flowers.

Angus and Celeste

I love the colors and textures In these pots by Angus & Celeste. They are based in Australia, but offer shipping worldwide.

Folia Collective

Finally, Folia Collective carries a limited selection of both Angus & Celeste as well as Capra which makes them a great option if you're getting a single piece or want to mix brands. If you're in Los Angeles, they also do plant delivery which has been my go-to for slowly expanding my collection for my home.

I also love looking for unique pots at vintage home decor shops like Sunbeam Vintage!

When it comes to pots, I mostly buy ones that have drainage holes with trays or built-in water catchers. I do have some with no drainage in which you can add rocks at the bottom to help avoid water collecting at the bottom which isn't great for plants. I've also learned a lot about plant care and styling from Hilton Carter's two books Wild at Home and Wild Interiors!

oh joy academy answers: growing your business...

Oh Joy! Academy

Growing your business is a topic I LOVE talking about because "growth" can mean SO many things. You might be thinking, "Isn't it a weird time to even think about growing a business when so many businesses are just trying to make it with the current economic climate?!" It is okay to think about growth right now. And if anything, now might be the best time to think about parts of your business that could contribute to various (and new) kinds of growth. Here are some things to consider...

Size of business — This kind of growth is when you are ready to scale your business, and you need help with more employees and/or need a bigger or better work space. This kind of growth is typically the sign of excellent numbers and means that the monetary growth of your business is strong. Be smart and cautious about what you're ready to spend to add more employees or add additional expenses (like an increase in rent). Also, when comparing your year-over-year numbers, make sure to analyze net profits (vs. only gross) as those numbers are more important in looking at what you can truly afford.

Focus — Analyzing your focus could include expanding your offerings, services, range of products OR honing in on what is working best for your business and putting more time, effort, or money into that. When you're thinking about growth, this is the time to look at numbers and also get a good look at what's helping your business grow. In some cases, you could be realizing what's really making money and what's not. If you have a part of your business that isn't making a ton of money currently but you love and see potential in it, that could be a great reason for keeping it going. However, if you have a part of your business that isn't profiting and you don't enjoy it, now is the time to let it go.

Quality of life — During the early stages of any business (and even beyond), we often sacrifice a ton of our personal time to pour our hearts and souls into getting a business off the ground. The life of a business owner is not a standard 9-to-5, and those who love what they do are okay with that. When thinking about growth, consider how your quality of life fits in with your business. Also, if you're quality of life isn't what you'd like it to be right now, then what is your goal and dream situation for the near future?

Here are some specific questions that you asked...

What are your best tips for growing your business?

  1. Assess what's working and what's not.
  2. Decide if you need more help to grow.
  3. Focus on quality over quantity and your true area of expertise.

 

How do I gain a larger social media audience for my business?

  1. Figure out what your story is and ways you can tell that story.
  2. Stay true to what makes you stand out (your style, your product, your story) and stand by that.
  3. Don't compare yourself to others. What works for others won't always work for you (and it shouldn't!).
  4. Post regularly on social media and make sure to engage with not only your followers but with the accounts you follow as well.
  5. If budget allows, you can gift or pitch to social media influencers to market your products (which can help grow your following) or put some money behind social media ads (this can be great for new launches or brand new companies).

 

How does a small business offer robust employee benefits keeping bottom line in mind? 

For me, I added benefits as I could slowly and organically. I always did my best to offer the same things that larger companies could offer (paid vacation, maternity leave, IRAs, etc) because I wanted to make sure my employees were being taken care of as best as I could. Plus, I wanted to be a legit business and offer good benefits.

Keep in mind that the cost of every employee is roughly an additional 30% on top of their salary. That includes employer taxes, benefits you may be covering for them, insurance costs from your business to protect them, and other things. So be mindful when adding benefits and analyze your full costs to feel confident you can easily cover it. 

 

How do you get new clients and retain current ones?

Getting new clients depends on your exact area of expertise and how much pitching is part of that industry. In some areas (like in advertising), pitching is a constant practice. And in others, people have so many word-of-mouth referrals that they may not need to pitch or be active on social media to market their work. Regardless, the best way to get new clients is to continue to contact brands or companies you want to work with and let them know who you are, share your work, and make it clear how you can help them. People don't just automatically find you. So help them find you! This can be through cold calls, cold emails, or friendly conversations on social media. Put yourself out there so more people find out who YOU are!

For current clients, make sure you follow-up after a finished project or job to make sure they were satisfied with your work together. If they were happy, here's a great time to ask them for a testimonial (or a public review) while it's fresh in their minds. Testimonials are great for your own reference if you ever need it for a future potential client or for your website. And, reviews are great if you have a public listing (like a Yelp or Houzz page). If a current client doesn't need your services again right away, be sure to keep them updated as you have new work so they know what you're up to as well. You may have assumed a past client will know to contact you if they want to work with you again—but sometimes they simply get busy or forget—so a reminder or update every so often is helpful. 

 

To what point should you scale your business?

This is a very personal question and answer. How big do you want to grow your business? What does success mean to you? I surround myself with lots of other small business owners in various sizes and durations of business. I have some friends and colleagues who want to grow a business to sell, some whose goal is to get investors to truly expand, some who want dozens of physical locations, and some who want to earn enough just to live a simple, happy life. The range is wide, and all options are possible.

I used to think that I needed to keep making more money every year to feel successful in my business. But then what I realized was that physical growth wasn't what I wanted anymore. I wanted to grow as a person, a business owner, as a parent, as a friend...but that didn't mean I need more employees, more space, and more things. Earlier this year, I reached a fork in the road with my business where the current model that I had wasn't working for me anymore. I had a choice to either truly scale things up by going after an investor or scale things back to a size I could better manage staying self-owned. I chose the latter. There's a lot of pressure these days on small businesses to go bigger and bigger. It works great for some, but for others, that may not be what you want—and that's okay. 

Also, businesses have phases of their lives. Some parts may be small and nimble, some may be robust and full. There isn't one way to be and one size to be, and it's okay for all of that to evolve over time. Take growth day-by-day and as it makes sense to you!

(Photo by Lily Glass)

"You're Okay!" arrives in less than a month!

You're Okay! by Joy Cho / Illustrated by Angie Stalker

Our second kid's book in the Oh Joy! Story Book collection, YOU'RE OKAY!, arrives in ONE MONTH on August 4th! Written by me and illustrated by Angie Stalker, all of the books in this series emphasize qualities to instill in our little ones to help them become kind, strong, creative, and capable humans. YOU'RE OKAY! follows a hedgehog and friends while exploring a variety of emotions, supporting one another, and learning how to be your very own champion. 

You're Okay! by Joy Cho / Illustrated by Angie Stalker

Every day is full of little ups and downs. No matter what happens or how you feel, you are you, and you are okay! Interactive lift-the-flaps will engage readers in this sweet and encouraging book about managing everyday struggles and feelings! Pre-order now to add to your collection of Oh Joy! Story Books for your little one's library!

(Top photo by Lily Glass)

oh joy builds a house: paint!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Now that we've lived in our new home for a few months, it's been fun seeing how all the things we picked and designed are settling in and working in real life use! I was thrilled to use Clare Paint in our entire house for every wall (minus the ones that are wallpapered!). Clare is not only WOC-owned but their paint is also zero VOC and Greenguard gold certified which made me fall in love with the brand when they launched a couple years ago. Without giving away the final rooms yet, here are a few of the colors we chose that I love all in different ways...

oh joy builds a house: paint!

First, let's start with the most classic color we used. While I wanted some areas to stay neutral and let the decor bring in the color, bright white was too much in this new and modern home. So instead, we opted for Classic—a very pale grey that looks white but with a little more weight to it. We use this color throughout the house in the common areas, hallways, and ceilings, and I love it so much! For the rooms where we needed a slightly crisper white, we used Snow Day which looks exactly how it sounds.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Our Main Bath is a soothing and dreamy space where we chose Make Waves—a slate-like greenish blue that ebbs and flows with the sun. It's such a pretty color that it almost looks pearlescent when the sun shines on it.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

In our Girl's Bath, we chose Wing It which is a soft peachy-pink on the walls and Pop (a soft coral) on the ceiling and goes well with their mod cotton-candy inspired shared bathroom. The finish on the paint is already what's considered "eggshell" within other paint lines which makes it easily wipeable. The other day Coco got toothpaste on the wall, and it come right off with damp towel!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Finally, for the darkest of the colors we used—Deep Dive was the color I most questioned but love so, so much! This color covers an entire guest room and makes it feel warm, sultry, and cozy all at the same time.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

We made sure to keep at least one can of each color in the garage which came in handy during these first few months as we were settling in and accidentally dinged areas of the walls (oops!) during move-in or when furniture was delivered.

I can't wait for you to see how the paint comes together with everything else in the rooms, but I hope that this gives you come color inspiration for any decor projects you might be working on right now!

(Photos by Lily Glass. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Project M+.)

masks for kids!

masks for kids!

With COVID-19 cases quickly rising again here in the US, many states have mandated that masks should be worn for ages 2 and up when outside of your home in a community setting. It's the easiest and safest way to protect ourselves and others. There are a growing number of great options for kids, so here are a few of my favorites! Since masks should be washed after each day worn, we have a handful for each of our kids so that we always have clean ones available.

1. The Mighty Company glitter face masks (3 for $55, ages 6-11, one mask donated for every mask sold and 20% of profits to NAACP Legal Defense Fund), 2. Kira Kids star mask ($10, ages 7-12), 3. Kira Kids tie dye (2 for $16.50, ages 3-6), 4. School Mask Pack (pre-order 5 for $30), 5. Mochi Kids happy mask ($19.50, one mask donated with each purchase), 6. We Are Aurora Masks (located in South Africa), 7. Cubcoats (2 masks for $13, ages 4+, 10% donated to Feeding America).