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Meet Audrey Okeya

Today we’d like to introduce you to Audrey Okeya.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in the bustling Metro Manila, Philippines but also Chinese by heritage and blood. A true Filipino-Chinese. There weren’t a lot of things to do growing up in the 90s aside from the regularly scheduled cartoons on tv, and I LOVED watching every channel that had cartoons on them. At a young age, I would go with my dad to his little print shop business and he would teach show me how he used Photoshop 1, which was so amazing to me as a child being able to create anything I wanted to on his candy-colored blue Mac computer.

My parents were never really that strict on my loving to draw & paint. So they let me join a summer art program at my school where I really got introduced to line, shape, colors, etc. It was also thanks to my art teacher that taught us that being weird and different and ‘artsy’ amidst the pressures of society of getting good grades and becoming a doctor or a lawyer.

There were two main factors that really helped pushed me into this direction of graphic design & illustration, which were my college education in Animation & my graphic design education in Singapore.

That was almost six years ago. And along the way, I met my now husband and partner in business, Jon. We got married and moved here to LA to pursue a thriving creative career.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Freelancing in the Philippines was a tough adventure because most business owners don’t understand or even care to understand the value of what we provide as designers. There would always be a constant mental struggle to be able to prove to your friends and family that your choice for a career is a stable one, but you just got to push past that and believe that what you’re doing is right.

I’ve also recently immigrated here to LA almost a year and a half now, and starting out from zero again was a slow climb. You really have to keep moving forward and pursue your passion 200% if you want to get anywhere.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Audrey Okeya Illustration story. Tell us more about the business.
I have two things right now which are Kumasagi Creative, which me and my husband Jon do graphic design & illustration. And the other is my online Etsy store “Audrey Okeya Illustration” which I focus on selling my illustration as stickers, prints & hopefully one day other products like enamel pins, bags, etc.

I’ve been a freelance illustrator & graphic designer for almost eight years now and am still learning so many things everyday. Right now my focus is on my Etsy store and it gives me joy seeing people so happy receiving the orders and seeing kids’ reactions with my products.

I was born in Manila, Philippines but my ethnicity is Chinese so I would say that it definitely has influenced my even in the littlest way with my style. My style I’d say is a lot of different things, but currently, I’m really into this quirky & cute ‘kawaii’ aesthetic and the best example of that would probably be my “Boba” stickers!

What sets me apart is I guess my little element of awkwardness or quirkiness and my love of just making people laugh or smile with the work that I create.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has definitely been a big part of my life. Knowing that I can risk opening an Etsy store while doing freelance at home plus having my family’s support I’d say is pretty lucky.

Another big lucky thing was meeting my now husband Jon and without him, I wouldn’t be here in LA now having a career that I love. Being able to work WITH my husband and having marriage & business altogether in one boat, I feel like not a lot of couples/relationships can get an opportunity like this and having it works out; even though we might have some bumps on the road here and there, we really work well together and I just feel like I’m really lucky to have a partner like him.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jon Kenzo Okeya

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