Without hurting anyone else, treat yourself as nicely as you can.
Illustrator Bofa started her brand depicting girls of different faces and different lifestyles when she was still in college. Growing up, she saw from her mother and grandmother how women were always devoting themselves to others. She’s always wanted her mother and grandmother to treat themselves better, and so she created La Dolce Vita with drawings of young girls as an ode to the females in our lives.
When did you decide to start your own design business? What motivates you to continue this path?
In college, everyday I was going to class with dark circles and my big dreams. I didn’t know what my future would look like, but I knew that design and illustration is so interesting and so profound. I would stay up late to do assignments, nervous yet excited about what my teacher’s critique would be. My friends and I pulled late night hours, and went out for late night snacks. All these experiences supported me to keep going.
What’s the greatest fulfillment of running your own business?
The biggest sense of achievement and gratitude comes from the support of fans who enjoy La Dolce Vita and the fact that I could make a living by creating art. I am very fortunate to meet many like-minded peers along the way.
What are the milestones you are the most proud of?
The first big moment for me was in 2012, when I just started this brand. I saw someone in my class using my products from La Dolce Vita, and I was so excited! I quietly snapped a photo and wrote a journal entry about it.
Another meaningful moment happened at my graduation show in 2014. A high school student came all the way to see my show, and told me that her dream is to become an independent illustrator like me. I was flattered that I can inspire someone else to have her dream, and it gave me strength and kept me going.
What were the biggest hurdles when starting out your business?
In the beginning, it took me a while to figure out how to present my products with photography. My only photoshoot background was a desk under yellow incandescent lights. Later, I decided to take photos outdoors using natural daylight and streets and greenery. They added a lot more to my product photos.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you deal with it?
Since I started the brand while I was still in college, I was burning on both ends. I’m sure every student of design knows too well how many sleepless nights it takes to finish assignments! Those days were hard; daytime was for classes, and nighttime was for assignments, my own works, and for shipping products.
In my junior year, branding and packaging classes were added to the curriculum, and I realized I can use these classes to work on La Dolce Vita, so that I can develop my brand and get feedback from my teachers at the same time!
What advice would you give to aspiring Designtrepreneurs?
Persistence is hard work, but when I think about how I’ll be able to keep doing what I love, I believe it is all worth it.
Why did you choose to sell on Pinkoi?
At first, it’s simply because Pinkoi focuses on selling design products. After some time with Pinkoi, I also found that Pinkoi customers fit my target audience pretty well, therefore it’s a good place for me to reach the right customers.
Pinkoi has a clean look with no advertisements or distractions, which is the way I want to present La Dolce Vita to customers. That’s why I still want to stay with Pinkoi.
What is your experience with Pinkoi? How did your brand grow?
Pinkoi is designed with local markets and different languages in mind, and my international orders grew substantially. It also solved my problems about payments, which can be really frustrating.
What did you learn from selling on Pinkoi?
The most important thing in an independent brand is the brand’s personality as well as your own personality. It’s important to maintain interaction with your customers. I would always keep on reminding myself why I’m here and that I have a message to send.
What would you like to say to the Pinkoi team?
Thank you, Pinkoi, for always changing and moving forward. From my first days with you in 2012 to now, you’ve been exploring new markets and new territories, and we have made it this far together! And we will keep on going further!
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