Asian Owned Business & Organization Campaign: Hopeless Cindy!

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Written by: Sarah Chase

1. How did you get into art and design?

I’ve always been interested in art, but I spent a couple of years figuring out what kind. I studied architecture in high school, communication design in college, and my current major is advertising and digital design. Even when I was little, I always remembered myself drawing or playing around with a coloring book.

2. How did you come up with the name for your sticker shop?

I have used the name hopelesscindy for a long time. (Even some of my real-life friends call me that for fun!) I guess you can say the word “hopeless” pretty much sums up how I feel most of the time, whether it’s a blank state of mind or a hopeless romantic with high expectations. The name stuck with me for a while, so why not carry it over to my brand as well?

3. You mentioned how you always thought your work was not up to your expectations, so you did not want to originally share them. What advice would you give to those who do not believe in their work?

I have a terrible habit of comparing myself to others. I have always struggled to share my work because I never had a strong support system. Even today, I rarely publicly share my work unless it is completed, or I'm at least 90% happy with it. When I was in the process of starting my sticker business, I only told three people, and one of them didn't seem to care. They don't have to, but it would have been nice to receive encouraging comments from my close friends at that moment. Even though it hurt me for a while, it had honestly pushed me to work harder.

My biggest advice is to listen to yourself. If you believe in your work and like your own work, there will ALWAYS be other people out there that will enjoy it as well. You can't expect to impress everyone and hope that everyone out there will support you since that is not realistic. It's important to focus on the positive people and be more optimistic! When you're sharing something you're proud of, remember to stay proud because you worked hard on it.

4. During quarantine you had time to work on personal projects, so why do you think those projects encouraged you to share your work?

I go to a design school, so I’m constantly surrounded by amazing artists and creatives. It’s a very stimulating environment, however, it’s also a very competitive environment. While in quarantine, I was by myself almost all of the time, so it was a lot easier to focus on myself instead of other people for once. I realize when I’m designing for school projects, I obviously know that my work will eventually be viewed. I feel like that factor does make me hold myself back a little. However, when I’m working on personal projects, I don’t think about any of that. If it sucks, I simply won’t post it and no one would ever see it, so it doesn’t really matter and I’m free to go all out and do whatever I want.

5. Why do you think it is important to highlight more Asian owned businesses, brands, and organizations?

Especially with Asian businesses like Asian restaurants, or businesses that create traditional Asian pieces, it’s so important to support Asian folks who are running them. It’s more authentic and from the heart. A lot of million dollar businesses are profiting from Asian culture or from other BIPOC, and it’s not fair or moral.

Additionally, we as the consumers have the power to choose who we are giving our money to and it’s so much better to give our dollar to small businesses rather than a large corporation that sells the same thing.

6. What is your favorite sticker or sticker set in your shop? (Also when you send the photos, do not be afraid to send over your favorites!)

From my first launch, my favorite sticker would definitely be the chicken foot or the Phoenix claw from my dim sum sticker set. One of the reasons why I decided to make the dim sum set was because I missed going to yumcha (brunch with Chinese tea and dim sum) with my family. Even though we could definitely order dim sum for takeout, it would simply not be the same. The chicken foot has to be my favorite because you rarely see that design as a sticker or art; it’s typically not viewed as “cute.” I think the way it stands out from other designs easily made it one of my favorites! Most importantly, it makes me feel nostalgic and I think a lot of other fellow Asians also felt the same about the dim sum pack when it was released.

7. How do you stay motivated with your shop to keep selling and designing?

I always feel motivated when I’m working on things for my sticker business because I constantly have so many cool ideas floating around. However, as an artist, I do hit many bumps where I always feel like I want to make adjustments to my work. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I’m my own boss, so I always remind myself that I have all the creative freedom to do whatever I want and make whatever changes that I desire until I’m in love with my work again.

8. You shared that you make stickers personal to you for multiple amazing reasons and one of them being because of the racism against Asians as a result of COVID-19. How do you plan to use your stickers or your brand in general to combat that racism?

I want my stickers and work to share positive messages because we have to amplify positivity whenever we can for whoever needs it in today's world. I want to create a lot of stickers inspired by Asian foods, focusing on Chinese foods because that is the cuisine that I'm most familiar with.

When the pandemic started, racism towards Asian folks skyrocketed and it was absolutely disgusting seeing how Asians were treated. I would see articles and videos every day about Asian restaurants barely getting any customers because people were scared of Asian foods. How ridiculous is that?!

With my stickers, I wanted to share the beauty of our food by turning them to art. I also think this can be a cool opportunity for people that want to learn more about our culture to learn about Chinese foods through art!

9. You mentioned that you have stickers dedicated to Asian food to show Asian culture, so what do you want people to see or take away from Asian culture when they look at your stickers?

I’m focusing on authentic dishes rather than dishes that have been white-washed. I wanted to include dishes that are still stigmatized because white people decided that they’re “weird.” I feel like enthic foods was such a sensitive topic for BIPOC that grew up in America because we've been told that our food smells weird since we were children. As I grew up and finally started to embrace my culture, which took me many years, I wanted my brand to be a safe and comfortable environment for other Asian Americans, as we all share the same pride for our culture.

10. Lastly, you said that you are constantly trying to strengthen your brand, so what advice would you give to business owners doing the same?

Everything takes time. Especially when you're a small business owner, because most of the time, it’s only one person working! I make my stickers at home, so I’m responsible for the production process, packaging, advertising, customer service, etc. There’s so much to do for the business aspect on top of the designing and creating, so it’s an overwhelming process, and sometimes it feels a little difficult tackling specific areas.

For me, I know my branding is still very much in the works. There’s so much that I would still like to adjust, however, I have to constantly remind myself that this is just the beginning and I have so much time in the future to continue to strengthen and build my brand.

Additionally, it takes a long time to think about what I want to do for the future, especially because I don’t have a team or anyone to help me figure things out with. It’s a huge learning process, and it’s scary but at the same time, I feel so independent and free doing something that I enjoy. Since it is something that I’m having fun with, I feel like it’s okay to take things slow and enjoy the process even if it is difficult sometimes. There’s no race, there’s no need to rush or make yourself feel too overwhelmed. Simply do what you can and have fun doing it!

Check out Cindy's Shop and Instagram!

All sticker photos present on our Instagram, where all the questions were originally were supposed to be! Check them out!

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