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diverse kids' books (part 3)...

Oh Joy! / Diverse Books

You all have been loving our series of diverse kids' books, so we're working to bring them to you regularly! Here's a new list filled with lots of great reads, this time for ages 5 and up!

1. Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders; Illustrations by Carol Rossetti

Love Your Body introduces the language of self-love and self-care to help build resilience, while representing and celebrating diverse bodies, encouraging you to appreciate your uniqueness. This book was written for every girl, regardless of how you view your body. This one is recommended for slightly older kids ages 9 and up as they approach tween years.

2. Julian at the Wedding by Jessica Love (Pre-order for October 6)

Julián and Marisol set off for some magic and mischief, and when things take an unexpected turn, the pair learns that everything is easier with a good friend by your side. The illustrations showcase a range of family members who are simply FANTASTIC!

3. You are Your Superpower by Ana Maria Medici; Illustrations by Helen Huang

From space exploration to fashion design, journey around the world and discover the unique story of ten girls, all united by a commitment to their passions. In You Are Your Superpower, learn the power of persistence, and find what makes you feel your very best. This one is great for older kids ages 8 and up as they become more aware of their strengths and interests.

4. Lucy’s Mask by Lisa Sirkis Thompson; Illustrations by John Thompson

In preparation for back-to-school, this is a fun story that helps kids make sense of their emotions and makes this new reality more relatable and less scary. It is a wonderful tool to continue the conversation about germs, viruses, the pandemic, and what families have to do to keep themselves safe. A portion of proceeds from sales of Lucy's Mask will be donated to frontline workers and first responders.

5. Cilla Lee Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan; Illustrations by Dana Wulfekotte

Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best―herself! This is a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh. I love this book for chapter-book reading levels around ages 7 and up!

6. Mighty Kind Magazines

Mighty Kind, a magazine for compassionate kids and their grown-ups. Each issue of Mighty Kind celebrates the role of kindness in bringing the world closer together and empowers kids to get out in the world and be kind. 

7. Foodie Friends by Habbi Habbi

The Habbi Habbi books teach Spanish and Chinese in a way that's easy and fun! There is a whole range but this new one—The Foodie Friends join kids as they explore their favorite foods and decide what to bring to a party.

Please note: a Reading Wand is needed for this book to work and is sold separately or as part of a Set. 

8. Love is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer; Illustrations by LeUyen Pham (Pre-order for September 8)

A little girl carries a big message—and finds it thrillingly amplified by the rallying crowd around her—in an empowering story for the youngest of activists.

9. Kamala and Maya's Big Idea by Meena Harris; Illustrations by Ana Ramírez González

An empowering picture book about two sisters who work with their community to effect change, inspired by a true story from the childhood of her aunt, US Senator Kamala Harris, and mother, lawyer, and policy expert, Maya Harris.

See Part 1 and Part 2 for more! I will keep adding to my list, and you can always find more of my favorite kid's books right here.

oh joy academy answers: organic marketing...

Oh Joy! Academy Marketing Tips

So, what is marketing? Marketing includes all the ways you can promote your business and bring awareness to your brand. Whether your business is just starting or decades old, every company needs marketing on some level in order to grow.

Traditionally, marketing included: organic word of mouth, paid ads (newspapers, print magazines, billboards, bus stop posters), and online ads (on blogs and websites). But now, there are so many other types of marketing you can do (many of which are free and organic but still involve a little elbow grease!). Most small businesses don't have a ton of funds to spend on marketing, especially right now. So how can you still market without spending money? Here are a few of my favorite ways to organically market your business:

  1. Word of Mouth—This may seem like marketing from the old days, but for many businesses it still works. Word of mouth completely varies by your industry. Some people rely on it solely, and some don't rely on it at all. But if your business is a service that is unique or specialized, chances are happy clients and customers will tell their friends. This applies a lot to service-based businesses (like hair stylists, accountants, house painters, fitness trainers, lawyers, etc.) where the preferences or needs are specific and regional. But even if you think your business is not one reliant on word of mouth, you should still make sure every customer is happy so they can say great things about your business if it should come up in conversation! ALWAYS ask for referrals and testimonials when you have a happy customer or client.

  2. Social Media—This option is absolutely free, has unlimited potential, and can be completely run by you (at first). It's true that it takes time to grow a following on any social media platform. But the most important thing to do on social media (whether it's day 1 or day 4982) is to tell a story...in YOUR own way. How you choose to tell your story is what will attract more potential customers to you. Your feed should be a mix of organic, lifestyle content that fits with your voice and brand and informative and inspirational posts that showcase what you and your business offer.

  3. Email Lists—Email lists have made a comeback in recent years as we have less control over how many of our followers actually see our social media posts. You can't always rely on an algorithm, so email lists give you more control as you know that email will definitely land in their inbox. Email lists have evolved from super fancy to more basic. There's been a trend in recent years to keep email newsletters simpler and more conversational. The key is to still connect with your email subscribers in a way that feels like you, and make sure your emails are not only about selling things. Offer free content, tips, and have conversations they'll enjoy there, too. Also, commit to sending regular emails (once a week, once every two weeks, twice a week, etc.) so your subscribers know to look forward to them and feel like they are getting something special in their inbox.

  4. Cold Outreach—If you're a freelancer looking to attract more clients, cold outreach is the number one way to get businesses to know you exist. This could be through mailing the creative director a sample of your work, emailing a link to your reel, or DM-ing the brand to find out how to submit your work for their consideration. The same goes for finding retail customers to pick up your line at wholesale. Send them samples, line sheets, look books, and anything else that shows them who you are and what you offer. You can't sit around and expect brands and clients to find you!

  5. Networking Groups, Classes, and Events—Whether it's a regional groups of like-minded business owners, an online class for growing your business, or a fun event where others might attend (once the world is back open again), take the opportunity to meet people both virtually and in real life. While this may not naturally seem like marketing, getting to know others not only offers you a community in which you can turn to for advice and help, but it also exposes you to more people who can learn about what you do and potentially become word of mouth advocates as well.

  6. Referral/Affiliate Programs—If you have a product-based business, signing up for a referral or affiliate program puts you on the radar of bloggers, editors, and influencers who use those programs to earn income. It allows them to find you to potentially promote your work in their gift guides, round-ups, daily looks, and more because they also have incentive to earn commission should one of their followers buy your product. While this will cost you a small percentage of your profit, these are sales you're making that you wouldn't have otherwise.

  7. Gifting—Bloggers and influencers have become a major player in helping to market both products and services as they have their own set of trusted followers who love to see the influencer's favorite things to buy, wear, eat, use, and live with. This option requires a bit of budget by way of the cost of your products and shipping and handling. Or, if you offer a service, gifting it will could include your time and any tools or equipment you may use. I wrote a more in-detail PDF about gifting and pitching Influencers right here

If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below in the comments, and I'll answer for you! Also be sure to sign up for our Oh Joy! Academy mailing list (mid-way on that page) if you want first dibs on new classes when they launch!

oh joy for keds is here!

Oh Joy! for Keds

Two years in the making, and I'm excited to share with you our new collection with Keds that launched today! Inspired by bold and bright colors, extravagant textures, and finding that perfect balance of whimsy and sophistication, these shoes are meant to add a bright spot to every adventure we take (whether simple or grand). Here's a look at the four styles in the collection...

Oh Joy! for Keds

Oh Joy! for Keds

The Kickstart Sneaker! This pair combines the beauty and sophistication of gold metallic foil printed on subtly pink leather with an unexpected and perfectly juxtaposed bright neon edge. We added bright pink around the edges for a seriously happy detail. This pair has three different lace options that will be hard to chose between—white with an understated mix of gold and gold metal ends, solid pink, or play up the party element in an ombre pink. ($90)

Oh Joy! for Keds

Oh Joy! for Keds

The Champion Sneaker! This pair has Keds' iconic silhouette with a fun neon pink Jacquard with flecks of gold woven throughout. This pair comes with two different lace options—white with subtle gold woven throughout and gold end, and light pink laces with a bright neon end to match the color palette of the shoes. ($120)

Oh Joy! for Keds

Oh Joy! for Keds

The Double Decker Mule! This pair is a subtle, yet sparkling, addition to your summer wardrobe that goes with everything. The texture is printed in holographic foil printed on leather combining shimmer and soft, beautiful material. The elastic on the top and the sides both have a shimmer which I love. The mules are so easy to slide on and off during these warm (I mean HOT) summer months! ($90)

Oh Joy! for Keds

Oh Joy! for Keds

The Triple Decker Slide On! This pair is simply a party for your feet! The triple decker heel adds a fun boost of height while the slide-on style makes it easy to pull on and off. The shoe is made of a confetti mix of pearlescent, metallic, AND neon color sequins. I especially love the tiny runs of rainbow sequins  that bring a subtle multi-color mix. The elastic up top adds a fun pop of neon that is sure to make you smile every time you slip these on. ($90)

Which one is YOUR favorite? You can shop them all for a limited time right here!

(Photos by Lily Glass, styling by Julia Wester, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong.

let me shop for you: button-up shirts!

let me shop for you: button-up shirts!

Button-up tops are an easy and versatile summer staple. Whether worn with shorts, pants, skirts, or dresses, they have the ability to be both casual and more dressy depending on how you're feeling! Here are a few of my favorites in both solids and patterns I've found for you...

let me shop for you: button-up shirts!

1. Hot Cocoa Vintage off-white top ($34, medium), 2. Sonnet James playsuit ($188, size 0-16), 3. Rachel Pally linen top ($158, size XS-XL), 4. Chronically Glittery vintage striped top ($15, M-L), 5. Hey Tiger Vintage floral top ($24, no size marked), 6. Aarica Nichole plaid top ($35, size 16), 7. Flying Apple Vintage eyelet top ($45, x-small), 8. XO Threads Ethel set ($49, 2XL)

(Top photo by Lily Glass

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.


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+.)