Day in the Life | Joy Cho

Joy Cho, designer and author (her most recent book is available for pre-order on Amazon), is just one of those moms who we dream about becoming. Her honesty, kindness, and cheerfulness is exactly what makes her appealing. We claimed a Saturday with Joy in order to explore what a day in her life looks like; the word colorful defines much of what we saw.

We loved spending a Saturday with you. Is each day just as eventful? There never appears to be a dull moment. 

Life with children is always action-packed as you have to keep them busy even if you’re just at home having a casual Saturday.

You and your husband are wonderfully involved with both Ruby and Coco’s lives. With both parents working, how do you manage to balance work and parenthood? It’s 2 jobs in one.

When we were growing up, both of our parents worked around the clock. While we love them for everything they did to raise and support us, we wanted to make sure that we kept more normal hours for our kids and are involved as much as we can be. I base my work day around feeding Coco in the morning, taking Ruby to school, and then being back in the late afternoon so I can be sure to feed/nurse Coco a couple more times before her bed time. My husband’s schedule is a little less flexible but he still has pretty good hours and we’re both off on the weekends for the most part. My job doesn’t really ever end and I work a lot after the kids go to bed (usually 5 out of the 7 nights a week I work in the evenings too).

Your family’s creativity is so apparent when one walks into the house. Obviously, your design background is the factor behind it all. But where did all this originate from? Let’s go back further than just design school in New York! 

I was always into making things as a kid. I didn’t play with dolls or Barbies. Instead, I asked for craft kids and supplies to make things. I didn’t necessarily think that I would have a “creative” job when I grew up (I thought I’d be a geneticist or botanist or something more scientific). But I loved making things and decided to go to art school to foster that love.

Was your family very encouraging of your pursuit of designing and crafting? Of course, stereotypically, Asian American immigrant parents aren’t exactly 100% supportive when you say you’re not pursuing law school or med school.

My dad definitely pushed the traditional “become a doctor or a lawyer” thing, but my mom was always very encouraging of being whatever I wanted. It was really hard to make the decision to go the art school route because the Asian community in general (friends of my parents or even my boyfriend’s parents (who are now my in-law’s) never understood what I was doing or why I would want to go into design. And of course, no one thought it would be seen as a successful career. I think they all feel differently now, but it took a really long time to get them there. And therefore, I am always super supportive and encouraging of what people love and wanting them to love what they do. There’s nothing worse than hating your job and I have way too many friends who picked a major and a job because it was safe and a decent paycheck. Now in their 30’s, they wish they were doing something else.

You are very much supportive of Ruby’s artistry. We love how much art you have in both her room and in her play corner. It’s such mindful creativity. 

Ha, thanks! I think that I want to foster whatever she’s into. I’m partially biased and I probably steer her away from princesses and dolls a little too much because I was never into that. But, in general, we just want her to explore and figure things out as she evolves.

We had to take a little cookie break on set! But generally, what are the meals like in the Cho residence? What are your go-to meals?

Honestly, we go out to lunch/dinner a lot. Maybe a few times a week with the kids. Our work days are so packed that sometimes it’s just not possible to come home and make a meal and hang out with the kids before bedtime. So we’d rather cut out the meal making and spend that time with them either out somewhere or with the occasional delivery. When we do cook at home (usually on the weekends because we are not as limited on time), we make a lot of grilled fish and we’ve been trying out those pre-prepped meal service options where all the fresh ingredients come to you with a recipe attached.

Hypothetically, if the kids were to want to skip college and head straight into the artistic entrepreneurship road that you are currently in, would that be something you would be okay with?

I would still want them to go to college and get a degree. That’s the traditional part of me coming through, but I feel that is all else fails, a degree is still necessary for lots of types of jobs. They can open their own business and pursue entrepreneurship after school. Besides just the piece of paper, I also think that college is just a social experience that is good for kids to experience and gives them a stepping stone to living and being without their parents and to transition into the real world.

You seem to involve your family in so much of what you do. Has it always been a priority for you to include your kids and your husband in some/most/all aspects of your business? And why is that?

I mix my family in at times when it seems appropriate. I definitely try not to drag them to things that wouldn’t be fun for them. But luckily, I have some fun parts about my job that they get to see. I’ve taken Ruby to photo shoots for Target before and while she didn’t totally understand it, I just loved showing her how all these creative people come together to create an end result and how magical that can be.

Oh Joy for Zooey Magazine

Photography by Megan Welker

Credits: Joy's Dress - Sonnet James. Ruby's Dress - Kira Kids. Shoes - Zuzii

Cookies: Eat Sweets Pastry