Interview By: Kathy Choi Lee of KOKO Living
What do you think of when you hear the word Dohl? I don't know about you, but I think Dohl Posters and More. 'Dol' or 'Dohl', it doesn't matter how its spelled since its the same word for a Korean first birthday. These days, Korean American families are bringing Dohl parties alive with artwork by graphic designer Heesook Carrano from Dohl Posters and More. Heesook's popular designs have even led to the launching of Sooki Design and a partnership with KOKOliving.com. Yes, right here on KOKO Living. To learn more about Heesook and her businesses along with a peek into her private life, read her interview here. Don't forget your 10% off Dohl Posters & More Discount Code at the end of the interview.
Please share a little mini bio of your life.
was born in Korea and immigrated to the states just after my dohl. Grew
up in LA and lived there for 28 yrs of my life until I relocated to
Spokane, WA, where I currently reside with my husband and 4 year old
daughter. I am Southern Cali girl at heart and will always consider LA
as my hometown. My parents and two brothers (an older and younger)
still live in LA, which gives me reason to head out there whenever I
get homesick and crave my mom's cooking. I love my goofy family.
How was it growing up as a Korean American girl?
is so diverse that I never had any problems growing up as a Korean
American girl. A lot of my childhood friends were of Asian descent and
Latinos. We all blended in well.
Tell us a little on how you decided to become a graphic designer. Was there a defining moment?
Oh yes, I still remember my defining moment. It was when I was enrolled in my high school elective class, 'Art Production'. We made banners and posters for school functions and activities. I really enjoyed this class and fellow classmates would always comment that I was good at what I did and should pursue it in my college studies. Ding ding ding! I knew at that very moment that I was going to be choosing a career path in the field of arts. Here I am today, a graphic designer and still very passionate about what I do.
What kinds of design projects have you taken on for Dohl Posters and More? and look forward to taking on?
Our most popular products are the memory boards, doljabi boards and complementing raffle tickets. I've also designed backdrop banners, invitations, etc. I really enjoy working on the memory board. There's something special about viewing photos of babies from birth to 12 mths (even if they are not my own child). I can literally see the growth of those tender years through every single photo. It's awesome and makes my job that much more enjoyable.
Posters and More was almost accidental. Prior to the launch of the
business, I offered to help a couple of mommy friends with their
doljabi and memory boards. It was my pleasure to help out my friends,
so I did it for "fun". Plus, it was something that I normally would not
work on with my "real" job. A friend brought it to my attention that I
could turn this into a business. It was a good idea. We hadn't really
put much thought into it prior to that. Soon after, we put more and
more thought into it, did our research and made it a reality. We
launched our business the first week of February 2010. Within hours of
launching the site, we got our first order.
Children's activity booklets for the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. This was a major account that we got when I was working in a design studio in Belmont Shore. Our team of designers had an assignment to come up with the best cover design and whosever design the client chose, that designer would take on the entire project. The client chose my cover with the hand painted underwater sea creatures. I was ecstatic. I was hired at this studio just before graduating college, so this was a huge deal for me. Had a lot of fun designing these booklets.
What inspired you to start Sooki Designs?
I've been getting freelance jobs here and there through word of mouth, which was great, but I wanted to take my capabilities a little further and cater to a wider audience and moms, people like me. I realized that there are so many moms/families out there who are starting or wanting to start their own businesses, but just don't know where to start. This is where I want to step in and offer full design services without having the clients break their bank account.
I know you're married. How did you meet your husband?
husband was my college sweetheart. We met while having 2 classes back
to back. Ironically they were my least favorite subjects of study,
political science and history. We started off as "study buddies" and
the rest is history. We've known each other for 15 years, married for
You also have the cutest little girl Mia, tell us a little bit about her.
you. My Mia… she is 4 years now and is the love and joy of our lives.
She brings out the kid in me all the time. One of her favorite
activities to do is paint. Hoping we have a blossoming artist/designer
in our hands…
How do you spend your free time with your family?
During the warmer months, we take a lot of walks to the neighborhood park. Any time that we spend together as a family is so valuable. Even if it's the three of us going to the grocery store--it's family time.
What is your favorite Korean Food?
Neng-myun is my favorite, but close contenders are jap-chae, kimchi-chigae and ahgoo-jhim. Anything cooked by my dear mom!
What is your favorite Korean Drama?
They're all good and very addicting! Two of my favorites are "My Lovely Samsoon" and of course, "Boys over Flowers".
What is your favorite Movie? Color? Restaurant?
Movie: Sleepless in Seattle.
Color: That changes, but currently a dusty blue and yellow.
Restaurant: Yu Chun, neng-myun restaurant in LA.
What was the most beautiful thing you've seen that inspired your designs?
hard to pinpoint it to one thing, but I will say beautiful imagery and
photography are always inspirational. My current photographer crush is
on the works of Max Wanger (www.maxwangerblog.com).
I look at his photographs for his composition--there's a thought
process behind every frame. It's very inspiring for my own creative
thought process. The Dieline (www.thedieline.com) is also a source of inspiration and eye candy for any packaging designer. Where do you see yourself in 20 years from now? 20
years… hard to say now, but I can see myself and my family residing in
a place with warmer climate. We always talk about escaping from our
long winters here in Spokane. I'd still be doing design from home and
hubby would be sipping iced-tea in a hammock enjoying retired life.
Yes, he wants an early retirement!
Where do you see yourself in 20 years from now?
20 years… hard to say now, but I can see myself and my family residing in a place with warmer climate. We always talk about escaping from our long winters here in Spokane. I'd still be doing design from home and hubby would be sipping iced-tea in a hammock enjoying retired life. Yes, he wants an early retirement!
Thank you Heesook for your interview! Please leave Heesook a comment here on KOKOliving.com.
Exclusive Discount Code: 10% Off - All NEW orders placed in the month of JUNE, 2010. Please use "Dohl10" in Inquiry/Order/Contact.