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E25 From Hobby to Business: How Poy Twitchsri-Granati Became a Paper Florist 🌷🌼

How often do you plan your life? If you’re a high achiever, you may already be listing out things you want to do and milestones you want to achieve in life by a certain time. But, life never happens the way we want or plan. We’ll have to face failures, missed opportunities, and even a lot of disappointment.


If you start comparing yourself to others and wondering where you’re going, take the time to try something new.


In this episode, paper florist Poy Twitchsri-Granati joins us and shares how she went from advertising to UX designing to making paper flowers. She shares that paper crafting started out as a 100-day challenge that helped her relax during a 1½-year void in between her graduation and finding a job.


Success is never a straight line, it’s often a winding road with twists and turns. No matter what, show up. Overcome your fears and eventually, you’ll find yourself happy with where you are.

Listen to this episode and be inspired to keep working on your craft!


Create your own creative entrepreneurship story of clarity, professional confidence, and profit. Join Diana’s 90-day group course Camp Clarity and learn everything you wish you already knew, like how to land dream clients, harness the power of social media, and make the money you deserve. Learn more here.


🔥 Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:

  1. Discover Poy’s career journey starting in Thailand to becoming a UX designer to becoming a paper florist.

  2. Why failures are necessary for you to grow and learn.

  3. How overcoming her fears led to Poy's success and how to apply this to your business and life.

📘 Resources

🎧 Episode Highlights

[07:26] Poy’s Story

  • Poy was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and grew up in a big family.

  • Since her father worked for Thai Airways, Poy was able to travel a lot as a child.

  • Her father was also able to bring home Disney and Broadway videos, which made Poy dream of becoming a Broadway dancer.

  • Her parents were supportive of her and eventually, Poy got into an advertising program.

  • Poy is currently a paper florist and UX designer.

[13:36] Poy’s Journey to the United States and New York

  • After getting her Bachelors in advertising, Poy worked for an American ad agency in Thailand.

  • She realized that she wanted to use her skills in both English and French. She then tried living in New York for six months and knew it was the right place for her.

  • In the full episode, Poy recounts her journey to study in the United States and become a UX designer for Estée Lauder.

[22:13] How Poy Started with Paper Crafts

  • Between her graduation at NYU and getting a job, Poy had a year and a half gap.

  • During this gap, Poy got into paper crafts and became consistent with the craft for 100 days. This helped her relax from checking her email for job interviews.

  • Around day 80 of her challenge, a friend paid her to make a bouquet of peonies.

  • She then took the initiative to visit pop-up shops and offer her paper flowers.

  • Her paper flower project actually helped her get hired with Estée Lauder.

Poy: "I was grateful that I have a lot of failures. You can learn from that, faillers doesn't mean that you are a failure. One direction didn't work so that you can go to another route." - Click Here To Tweet This

[36:23] How to Always Learn from Experiences

  • In the full episode, Poy shares her first pop-up experience with West Elm.

  • Even if she didn’t sell anything on her first day, she was noting down the kind of people who walked in.

  • Her experience taught her that what she loves to do may not be aligned with what people want to buy.

  • During the pandemic, she was laid off from Estée Lauder. Even though it was a painful experience, Poy was happy she was able to support her husband.

  • This time also helped her create Summer Space Studio.

Poy: "When you're putting yourself out there, even though your goal is to like…I have to make money right away. But then the value of you showing up, it's probably not money. Maybe it's a lesson maybe you learn something more about your business or like marketing" - Click Here To Tweet This

[44:44] How Poy Moved Forward with Summer Space

  • Start wherever you are and do what you can. Everything is difficult and it takes energy to make things happen.

  • Poy put all her focus on building Summer Space and didn’t apply for another UX job.

  • At some point, Poy learned to hire others to help her pack workshop kits.

  • Currently, Poy is outsourcing a video editor and writer.

Poy: "Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can." - Click Here To Tweet This

[51:57] Why Poy Built Summer Space

  • More than creating paper flowers, Poy was able to meet all kinds of people through her in-person workshops.

  • She realized how her workshops were able to help people take a break.

[54:23] How to Become Successful

  • Success is not overnight, it’s often a long winding journey.

  • Even when nothing is happening, you can fill that void with something that can change your life.

  • Fear gets in the way most of the time. It’s important to show up. You never know what can happen unless you put yourself out there.

  • Poy shares how her successes can always be linked to people’s support.

  • She owes her Instagram success to becoming serious and consistent with showing up. In the full episode, Poy shares how she managed to partner with Adobe to celebrate AAPI month.

[1:09:48] Lightning Round with Poy

  • Poy is a Virgo and likes being perfect and organized.

  • For her, creativity is when you allow yourself to play with ideas.

  • Poy’s ultimate goal as a paper florist is to have a window display in New York City.

About Poy

Poy Twitchsri-Granati is the founder of Summer Space Studio. Through a project called '100 days of making', she taught herself to make paper flowers and fell in love with them. After the project, she decided to keep making flowers.

She was working as a UX designer for Estée Lauder with this project on the side. Eventually, she would host workshops, go to pop-ups, and decorate stores with her flowers. When she was laid off during the pandemic, Poy switched her entire focus to Summer Space, and she has been waking up joyfully ever since! Poy now lives in Long Island, New York with her spouse and the studio's boss cat, Willy.

Want to learn more about Poy’s work? Check out her Website and workshops.

You can also connect with her on Instagram.


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Transcript

Poy Twitchsri-Granati: I was grateful that I have a lot of failures, so you can learn from that. Failures doesn't mean that you’re a failure. It's just like One Direction that didn't work so that you can go to another route.


Diana Davis: Welcome to Pollen, the podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Diana Davis, multi passionate creative, business coach, Gemini, manifesting generator, macho drinker and travel junkie. I'm also the founder of Diana Davis Creative, where I went from a six figure photography business to coaching creative entrepreneurs like you. If you want to have a career and a life you love, you're in the right place.


On this show, I'll be coaching on all things, creative entrepreneurship, and you'll hear stories from fellow creative entrepreneurs that will show you it is possible to do life the way you want to. They'll share the nitty gritty of their journeys, like the real shit, and how they are doing it differently. I'm stoked to have you along on this journey. Let's go. Hi, Pollen listeners. We have another epic episode for you this week.


But before we dig in, I want you to know what's going on in the world of DDC. We are opening our doors for the waitlists for all of our programs right now. The next Camp Clarity Round Seven, it just turned two years old, insane, is starting in October, so you can hop on the waitlist right now. Link is in the show notes. Link is in the bio in my Instagram. You can go to Diana Davis Creative and learn more about it.


That is for the entrepreneur, who is in need of confidence, cache and clients learn more at my website. We also have Ascend, my higher level mastermind that is a super intimate group and such a beautiful sisterhood. That’s starting again in November. We already have people filling the spots for that, so absolutely get on the waitlist and apply ASAP if you're interested in that.


That is for the entrepreneur who is already getting clients having things flow in, but you're ready to expand, ascend and grow with a beautiful, incredible group of other women creative entrepreneurs. The last thing that's so exciting and this is what I talked about when I say detox your product suite, I have created and honestly morphed my one on one container. So I used to do one on one clients for three months.


We'd have a call almost every week. We had a Slack channel, and it was amazing, but it was no longer lighting me up and it was no longer fitting with my lifestyle or my clients’ lifestyle. So we have launched a brand new container that is Voxer only, and it is basically having a coach in your back pocket. So we're able to chat throughout the week, really workshop anything that's on your mind, in your business, anything that's really activating right now or potent for you, and I am there.


Instead of having zoom calls every week, being tied to a schedule, Zoom fatigue, you can just have me at your fingertips basically on this walkie talkie app. I do this with my coach, and it's incredible. I can't wait to work with the three people who I'm going to accept into that program. You can also apply for that in the show notes, and the link in my bio or on my website. Without further ado, here's the next episode.


Hi Pollen, another amazing guest episode coming at you. My friend Poy, who is a paper florist, is on this episode. She's originally from Thailand, so I think that adds a whole other dynamic to her winding path and how she made it to New York and went to NYU and all of these amazing things that she's created for herself by really having her boots on the ground and getting her hands dirty and not being afraid to be told no.


So I'm so excited for you to hear her whole story. Dig in, enjoy, reach out to her, say hi. She'd love to connect with you. If you resonate with this episode, please screenshot it or share it to your stories on Instagram and tag me at dianadaviscreative.com and Poy Summer Space Studio. We'd love to hear where your takeaways are, what they are, where you're listening from, all of the above.


If you could do us the biggest favor but also the smallest thing, just rate, review and subscribe. You have no idea how this little tiny thing helps us get this podcast out to more listeners. It's a free resource. It'll always be free, so we'd love your support and just getting it out to more listeners if you enjoyed this episode. Alright, here we go. Hello, Pollen. We have a really, really fun guest today.


My friend Poy, she is the founder of Summer Space Studio. She makes these beautiful, beautiful paper flowers, but she has a whole winding path that we're gonna dig into today of how she even got there and what being a creative in that space looks like. So Poy, hello. It's so amazing to have you. How are you?


Poy: I'm good. Happy Friday.


Diana: Happy Friday.


Poy: Thank you for having me.


Diana: So excited to do this, and just a little side note, I think we're sharing like, we were supposed to do this two days ago. I had a migraine and I had to cancel. I just want to do a little PSA. We were both talking about this a minute ago, that you are the CEO of your life and your business. You're allowed to ask people to give you a break and say, hey, I need a sick day. I think we do not that a lot as entrepreneurs. So just a little PSA before we get the start.


Poy: Yeah, for sure. On my side, usually Fridays is my creative day, so it's a day that I don't put makeup on, it’s a day that I'm like wear comfortable clothes and like take in the creative projects that I've been putting away. Usually, I don't take calls but like that flexibility. You just understand who's the other person and then like you put yourself in others one's shoes that they need a break.


They need the rest and then if that time and space works for you like Friday morning, sure, I'll hop on and then the rest of the day, I can dedicate that to myself and then, works out and works out.


Diana: Yeah, I love that you have it as your creative day. I keep Fridays really open too. Mondays are like my CEO day, get everything done before, meet with my team, no calls, try to get prepared for the week, and then Fridays, I always try to just take super chill for things like this, and also just to like have a little sanity, and yeah, creating that white space in your calendar to just have that flexibility.


Poy: Very important.


Diana: Okay, boy, you have such a cool story, and I'm sure I'm gonna learn a lot. I would love to know, who was Poy as like a little girl?


Poy: Oh, that's a really good question. Because right now, we talked before as a Virgo season, so I tapped into my little childhood, like a little Poy a lot to kind of unfold some of the secrets or maybe the memories that I forgot. So I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, and growing up in my home, I was living with like a big house with five houses together, All my dad's side of the family were there.


So I grew up with a lot of cousins, uncles, aunts, and whatnot, and a lot of dogs and cats around me, which is not really normal for people living in Bangkok. So thinking Bangkok is like Manhattan, and then, where I live, it's probably like in Queens, so it's more space and big family and whatnot.


Yeah, so saying that the story is because of like there's never a moment of silence, and then every day or every time we go somewhere to market or something, we always think about other people, always, like, oh, I got this, I don't know, this Thai food from the store, and then let's get five of them so that we can share to other houses and the other houses does the same. So this is something that I've always had, and then, it's still happening right now.


Every time I see something that someone would like, I would buy extra. I haven't thought about this until recently that every time we go somewhere we buy something extra. But then also that's kind of tapped in how I wanted to connect it to other people and then see them as like, not like taking them in right away, but I see them as family as cousins and never expect anything in return if that makes sense.


Diana: Wow. I love that. That's so heartwarming, and we don't do that here, especially you live in New York now. We don't do that in New York.


Poy: Actually, it’s weird, like, oh, why are you so nice to me?


Diana: Exactly. People walk down the street and say good morning. You're like what is your problem? What do you want?


Poy: Why are you're talking to me?


Diana: Were you creative as a kid?


Poy: Yeah, I think continuing to that story. I think growing up, I remember that I wanted to be a Broadway dancer.


Diana: Oh my god. I love that. Yeah.

Poy: Like I grew up with Disney. So my dad, he traveled a lot. He used to work for Thai Airways, so he travel every month. Sometimes we pack our bags. We go to Spain, and then a week later, we go somewhere in Europe or Asia and whatnot, so I traveled a lot when I was young. Then, one thing like, he came to America a lot because Airbus, and I think Boeing is here, either one of them. Like, one of them's in France, one of them in Seattle.


Diana: Yeah. Boeing.


Poy: Yeah, he travelled here. Back then, we didn't have all the cable TV and whatnot, so he would buy the Disney videos from the States, and he brought it back to Thailand. Then, I grew up with all English videos. For some reason, I didn't understand any words, but I was just practicing the accents, and like, oh, Jasmine, Princess Jasmine and whatnot. So I think I'm not sure when that I was introduced to the first Broadway show.


I think I saw some video or went somewhere, and then, saw the play or something. Then I was like, oh, I want to be in that show. I don't want to be the one in the spotlight. I want to be the ensembler in the background, like singing and dancing and coordinating. I thought that was really cool. So that was me growing up, wanted to be a dancer.


Diana: Were you dancing around your house and like practicing and things?


Poy: A lot of times.


Diana: Yeah. Just digging into the bigger picture, do you feel like your parents were really supportive of that kind of endeavor?


Poy: Ah, yes, and no. I think when I was growing up, I was trying to find a path where I think, that was when I was 9 or 10, and then after that, I went to a girl boarding school, which is founded by a Christian missionary. So with that context, it's basically if you go to like a boarding school who founded by the American missionary, your English is better, because you have native speaker from America or England to come to the school.


With that story, basically we have like a Broadway play for our high school. and then, I was trying to get the part in that play, and then I couldn't get in. I was told that I'm like a pretty tall for Asian.


Diana: Oh my God.


Poy: I'm taller than other person, and then in Asia, Thailand specifically, if you have a darker skin tone, it’s considered that you're not beautiful in a way. So I got bullied a lot, being dark and too tall and too large for men.


Diana: We always find something. Right? We always find something.


Poy: Yeah, it's funny to look back right now. I'm like, why did I feel like that? Yeah, but anyway, that's the whole story. But they were very supportive, and then, they were like thinking that if this is what I want, do that as a hobby. I think they didn't say, oh, you have to be a doctor. You have to go to business school, like never ever said that. They just basically say, okay, if you wanted to go for a dance lesson, let's do it.


If you want to take piano lessons, let's do it. Then, they fully support of what I wanted to do, and that's why I got into an advertising program, yeah, for my bachelor.


Diana: Yes. Okay, so pausing for a second, tell us who you are now. What do you do? What would you consider your title as the paper flowers in Summer Space Studio and all of that?


Poy: So I consider myself a entrepreneur, of course, and a paper florist, and then, a designer. I work as a UX designer for a while, and then I'm still honing in that knowledge, and I challenged myself to go back to UX whenever I can.


Diana: Yeah, I love that. So cool. So you got into an advertising program. Tell us kind of from there. How did we wind ourselves to New York? Connect the dots for me.


Poy: Yeah, so I did my bachelor in advertising, and then worked at an ad agency for a few years.


Diana: And this was in Thailand?


Poy: In Thailand. Yeah, I work for McCann Erickson, which is American company. Then you know, I love the advertising environment. I love taking different projects. I was an account executive back then, so like client service. So it was like a learning curve for me, like how to talk to clients and I work late nights and it was crazy. But again, I had a great team and I had really great people that I worked with and taught me a lot.


So I was really grateful for that. Then after that, I think I shifted a little bit to doing advertising, but on the client side. Then, I was working with this organization where they promote, like good health type things or like doing that positive change in society and whatnot, and then that's kind of tied with the government.


So, I got bored because one day, I was like, I love doing this thing, like juggling between projects, but one thing that I love doing is using my English, because I was really happy and like, a different person when I speak another language. At that time, I stood no French, so I took English and French, and then I'm like, I want to be in an environment that people speak in another language.


Diana: Yeah.


Poy: So then, I was looking into like, okay, do I change my job? What should I do? Do I be the producer, trying to do production side type thing? Then, my dad said that we have an aunt who lives in Queens in New York. So my dad was like, okay, so if you want to try something and go somewhere, we have a free rent in Queens, why not try that for six months.


But before you go, you need to make sure that you get a higher score in IELTS and TOEFL, which is like an English proficient test before you come to the States. Before you go to school, you have to take that test. I'm like, okay. I think the full score was 120 or something, and then my goal was to get 100. I think I got like, 96 or something.


Diana: Okay.


Poy: Yeah. Then my dad was like, alright. Yeah, challenge myself to go a little higher. Fast forward, I was in New York for six months, connecting with people and doing crazy things that I didn't know. Like, why would I doing this? Attend a lot of events. Yeah, and then, six out of six months, I went back to Thailand. I'm like, I feel like I like myself when I'm here. It's just something about New York, right? Yeah, it was weird. I remember looking back into my journal, and I was like, oh, like New York, I love and hate this a lot.


Diana: Of course, always a love-hate relationship.


Poy: Yeah, I was kind of working a little bit in Times Square, so you know how that is. At first, it’s like, oh, Time Square, and then looked back, and like, why. Why did I do this to myself? But it was a good life lesson.


Diana: Totally.


Poy: It's a good life lesson. So with that, I went back to Thailand, and then apply for school. So I know that now that I wanted to be in New York. I wanted to come back. So I looked into like grad school, and then, there was three choices. I want to go to Pratt and SBA for branding, and then I think, was Parsons. I don't remember correctly. So the first year, I didn't get in any of those. So I enrolled into Pratt, like one year program, which is in computer graphics.


Diana: Okay.


Poy: Then, I had a really great teacher. I'm so lucky all these times. Like, I had really good friends and teacher and friends, I still like being friends with since day one. They were very supportive. I kind of fell in love with branding and web design, but back then, UX wasn't a thing that was 10, 9 years ago. So yeah, I know that I like to design something that is a collection or something that has a nice set of colors or shapes and whatnot.


So I after this one year program, I worked as a freelance for a little bit because after you finish school, you get like a one year. It's called RPT, which is like a training for international students to try it out and work legally in the US. So I did that for a year, and then I feel like okay, maybe it's it's not branding that I love. Maybe it's something else. Maybe it's something more.


So I found myself that I like to kind of like debrief and then, see whatever problems that we see in the real world and like, oh, how do I fix this flow? If this ATM doesn't work, where the button should be? How do you guide a person to complete a certain task? Then, I didn't know back then that's UX. Yeah. So I was talking to a lot of people to get into grad school. Back then, I'm like, okay, I work for a little bit.


I have some portfolio, then maybe look into interactive design. So I applied to SVA again, because I just want to get in. Then I found out about this program at NYU call Interactive Telecommunications Program. The name doesn't say much, but it's basically a playground for like futuristic and anyone who wants to play with technology. You don't have to be a designer to join the program.


I have friends who are engineer, teacher who just want to putting technology and then, add it to like a different thing in the world.


Diana: Yeah. Yeah, it makes total sense. It's really cool.


Poy: Yeah. So I guess after that, with the two years over there, and then, basically find a job in UX and then work as a UX designer at Estee Lauder for a year. Yeah, no big deal, and then that's what be the other side of the story. That's when things are like, oh, roller coaster.


Diana: A little roller. Yeah.


Poy: But I'll stop there if you have any questions on that.


Diana: No, I think it's really cool that you were just so determined to make it over here and keep applying and being rejected, technically, right? I was talking in my mastermind the other day, how it's not always a no. It's a no right now, right? Like even when I’m traveling, it's like I'm traveling right now full time. I wanted to do this in 2020, and it wasn't until right now, but it wasn't forever. So I just think there's like so much persistence and all of this.


Also, I just like to point out because I was just in Europe, and everyone speaks three languages. That oh my God, as Americans, we tend to be so lazy with language. It's like, we only speak English. You're over here, learning French and English from scratch, and they're not your native languages. Immersing yourself into a country that really only speaks English unless you find someone specific


Poy: And Spanish.


Diana: And Spanish. Yeah. I just think that's so cool, and it's really inspiring for me to want to learn other languages and things like that. So I just think all of it's really cool. So you got into Estee Lauder. Poy and I lived super close to each other on that side, by the way, and still have never met in person. We're gonna make it happen.


Poy: Crazy. Yeah, definitely gonna have to make it happen.


Diana: But New York, you have all these really big names that people from the outside of New York Worlds are like, holy shit, you had an interview with Bon Appetit Magazine, or whatever. It's kind of wild. I would love to hear your perspective on this. But for me, it was like, all these big shiny names, especially this ranch girl coming from Colorado, but it's actually not that big and shiny.


It's just another person behind a desk, behind an email, and it's just another brand. But New York happens to have some really big ones that you can be a part of. So I'm curious what your experience was there, and if it was as glamorous as it sounds.


Poy: I mean, I love, love, love, love, love, love my job at Estee Lauder. I love the job. I love the people and everyone in there. When I got laid off, I cried for like two weeks. I'm like, this is my dream job. It's hard to land a job you'll love and also the team were like support you 100%, so it was like really tough. But I mean, going back to that story, I think that's a good time to kind of see the transition from the UX and then doing paper flowers because that's have the connection with the big brands that I basically worked with.


So the gap between when I was graduating from NYU and then trying to find a job, it was like a year and a half gap. Then you know how that feels when you graduated, couldn't find a job or your friends around you got this like, ooh, got to work at IBM. I got to work at this place. I'm like, holy shit, what am I doing?


Diana: At this time, I'm gonna interrupt you for a second. The year and a half, are you worried about like a working visa? You're also trying to stay in America not just find a job and like sleep on your mom's couch while you're doing it. Like you're in a different country that's not your home, right?


Poy: Yep.


Diana: So that was probably an added pressure.


Poy: Yes, a lot, and then by that time as well, everything happens in one year that I was graduated and then my boyfriend at the time, we were together for like four years and then he's wanting to support me so he proposed, it's not let's propose for the visa but he was thinking about to propose the next year or something, but this is gonna help my process to be a little better. We married but we still haven't had a wedding yet because who cares?


Diana: Has not had a wedding, I love that.


Poy: Yeah, I have been thinking about it, and I'm like, alright, let's think about this later. But anyway, that's a whole another story. But yes, I was doing things by myself for about a year until this came into play. Then yes, I apply for a green card, but it doesn't take away the fact that I need to stand on my own, support myself and trying to find a job. Then with that time, so there's is like a project that's called A 100 Days of Making, which is a class at NYU that I was going to take.


I took the class and I withdraw, and I told all my best friends, like, you should take this class and it's so great. Then I'm like, I don't need to take the class to have people to tell me what to do for 100 days. I can do this for myself.


Diana: Rebel, I love it.


Poy: I’m like, yeah, bye bye. You take that class. Then my friend was like, what the fuck, but they were like, oh, this class changed my life and whatnot, but we're gonna get to that later.

Diana: Yeah, yeah.


Poy: So yeah, I have that time and I was so stressed out. I basically refreshing my email every five minutes if I get an offer, and I apply, apply, apply, talk to a lot of people and trying to get a job. One of my best friend, she was like, okay, Poy, you have all this time right now. Why don't you just do something that you always wanted to but never did. Maybe do 100 days of making.


I'm like, okay, but what do I do? I want to do a lot of things. I want to make projection mapping project, like so many. She's like, alright, Let’s focus. Choose something that is small enough that keep you going, but big enough that give the room for you to explore.


Diana: Yeah.


Poy: So I started from like, I know that I love anything with paper, paper craft. I do like pop up books, or calligraphy and whatnot. This is like my free time that I'm like try to not look at the screen.


Diana: So I know that I love anything with paper, and I know that I love mashing the color together. Okay, let's do 100 days of paper craft. It was first papercraft, and then, I spent 8 to 6 to 10 hours a day to make one project. Then I did it for maybe five days, and I was talking to my friend like, wait, I want everything to be perfect in one day, the best materials, the best shape, take the best photo. She's like, no, no, no, no, no.


If you're gonna make this consistent, you just have to make a goal smaller, and then something that you can stick to it in your schedule. It doesn't really matter if it's two hours. The best is like half an hour because if you want to sustain this, make it smaller. So I'm like, okay, let's rearrange everything. Then, that's why on day 14, I think, I narrowed it down to paper flowers, because, for me, I'm not a flower person, because I don't kill plants. Also, I feel like what's the point to buy like a 50 bucks bouquet, and then it's gonna die the next day.


Diana: Yeah.


Poy: That's just me. But, sometimes I'm like getting flowers, like, oh, that's pretty. Then I just feel bad that I have to throw it away in two days. So yeah, that's how the 100 days of paper flower started, and I'm like, okay, I'm just going to stick to this. I don't care what other people think and whatnot. I'm just gonna focus on this and now from refreshing my email five minutes, every five minutes.


Now, it turned to be the end of the day at five, or at night when I'm going to bed so I'm not that stressed out anymore. Still in the back of my head, I’m like, holy shit, I need to make money, I need to make money. Then after I finish 100 days, it just like a spark. I think it was like Day 80 or something. I have a friend who was like, oh, you're making people flowers. I have this girl who lives in Texas, but she's not gonna be home in five days.


Like, what about you make a paper flower for her so that it arrived at her place, and then it doesn't wilt? I'm like, oh, someone's gonna pay me for something that I do for fun.


Diana: Right.


Poy: Yeah, I'm like, oh, and he was like, oh, how much would you charge for like a bouquet of peony? I think like five peonies. So I spent two days trying to craft like a perfect peonies. Then like, okay, I think this is 47 bucks for you. That was like the biggest money ever. I got 47 bucks for this five peonies. I was so excited. That's like biggest money. I still remember that, because that's like the first paying job for something I do for fun.


Diana: That's really important.


Poy: Yeah.


Diana: Milestone. Yeah.


Poy: Oh, yeah, definitely. Then so you know, that's kind of the idea in my head that's like, ooh, so if someone wants to pay for this, and then also, if there's anything else I can do with this. So first thing first, I think I come back to what can I do today. I know I can make a website. I know that I can take them like okay photos from like my 2D camera. I don't care.


Then I know that I live in New York. So this is going back to your question about the brands because like now, oh, I have this payroll flowers fooling around my apartment stacking up, because in the shoebox, not much space. So what can I do with them? First thing, I can teach. So I'm starting to look at craft stores, and what's it called, like a workshop space in New York.


Diana: Yeah.


Poy: Then another thing I can do is pop up. So I basically take my flower walk around New York, and then, where do I want to work with? What are these big shiny brands that I can just walk in and ask for the manager? I know that West End has pop up for the local artist walked in there, all the location, after manager, hey, I had this paper flower. Do you do pop ups? Where's your manager? Can I have your business card? Take the business card, come back, send them like a small deck. Hi, my name is Poy. This is my product. This is my availability and hope we can work together. Then, I walked into like Anthropologie, among so many places.


Diana: Yeah.


Poy: A lot of nos, a lot of nos, and there's a lot of yes. So I think one thing that 100 days of paper flower has taught me, I dropped a lot of my professionalism, a lot, because you know me in the point where, Poy, you don't have to wait for everything to be perfect.


Diana: Yeah. Right now, just by the story, right?


Poy: Yeah, and I dropped that. Everyday, I was just like, okay, I test new flower, and then, I set my goal to like, okay, I'm just gonna make this flower with this color, and then tried it out. If it doesn't work, or it doesn't look great, you have tomorrow to change it. Who does say that like, oh, you're day 50 looks like shit, and then you have a day 51 to turn it around, or iterate of what the failure. I was grateful that I have a lot of failures, so you can learn from that.


Failures doesn't mean that you’re a failure. Yes, just like One Direction that didn't work so that you can go to another route.


Diana: I love that. Poy quote right there. If Day 50 looks like shit, you have day 51 to turn it around. It's a cool exercise. While you are going around to West End and Anthropologie and all these places, which, first of all, I just want to acknowledge because I think so many people, especially with the way Instagram portrays entrepreneurship, thinks that they just put their shit out there, and they post about it.


Opportunities are going to come to them. I've talked with, it was actually one of the ladies in my mastermind, a chef and we were talking about how to get back to the basics. How did you advertise before digital was a thing? You might have went around and literally stapled flyers to telephone poles, and I love that you had your boots on the ground, actually going and being like, Hi, I'm Poy, and this is what I do.


Can I talk to someone? Let's build a relationship. Actually, literally and metaphorically knocking on the doors and making shit happen, and that's so important. I think so many of us are not willing to do that anymore, and I'm just gonna manifest this and wave my magic spirit fingers and let it come to me. It's like, no, manifestation is also making shit happen. So I love that. So you're going around to West End and Anthropology, had you finished your 100 days by then?


Poy: Yeah, I have. Yeah, so I took photos and then have a website. It's like put 100 photos in there just to have something digital. One thing I know that like, yeah, you need to have a blog, or either a website is kind of show your process a little bit because that's what I do with my job. You need to have a portfolio and whatnot. So, surprisingly, the 100 days projects basically got myself into Estee Lauder, because I asked my team like, why did you hire me?


They were like, yeah, there's other talented UX designer out there, of course. I saw other people who has a better portfolio or better design eyes than I am, but they were interesting on this particular projects because I pick something and they're committed to it and like I have other what's it called dedication or inspiration in something else besides this path that I'm going with.


So they were very interested in that and they thought that that is a really good mix. They were really supportive that I work a full time and then sometimes if I have a class, so I also teach back then as well. Apart from doing pop ups, I teach at this place called Craft Jam, where they have craft classes down in Soho. So after the work 9 to 5, and hop down the train to Soho, and then teach the class, come back home, and then that was like, the best life that I had.


Diana: So okay, I have questions. So you just applied for Estee Lauder? Was it?


Poy: Yes.


Diana: It was just an application online, like into the abyss, and they found you. How did they know about your flowers?


Poy: Yes, so yes and no with that. So I have my NYU email alumni list, and then my boss basically went to the same school and she posts about the job. So yeah, I talk to her and apply. But I put the 100 days project into my portfolio as well. But I took it as a case study for branding discovery, like I said, this is my site, a personal project, and I was trying to develop it as a personal brand and see how that takes me.


Then this is a project that I've been doing, and then showcase my personal project, not just 100 days, but like a branding that I did for a friend or some case study and everyday lives. Yeah.


Diana: So with the pop ups, what was the first gig that you got? Tell me more about that. Do you remember?


Poy: I do. Yeah, yes, definitely. It was Weston and Chelsea. I think it was like 18th or 17th Street. But yeah, they always have three or four tables setups for local bakers, and then schedule you for, I think, 12 to 6. So for anyone out there, if you have a product, go to West End, ask for the manager, and then just ask if they have like a pop up, because they always support that, and they also do workshops.


Diana: That’s really cool. I bet 90% of the people listening, have no idea that that was an option. You went in there. They contacted you and said your flowers were worthy of this pop up.


Poy: Yeah, then basically, I had friends like come help me setting up. Then before that, I didn't know how to set up a booth or a display type thing. So I basically take like cardboard, putting on my bed, and then have some like levels and use boxes from Amazon and write it down to see how I display my stuff. Then I think that day, I didn't sell anything, but I learned a very valuable lesson.


I know for a fact that I have a notebook. I wasn't on my phone at all. I take notes of like, okay, 18th Street, Chelsea, what are the types of the customer that walked in?


Diana: I love this.


Poy: College students or families or a married couple with a kid. How old are they? What are they looking at? What are the price of that things? I take notes on every single person walking in, and like who are the people who come and ask about my flower, what the question that they ask, what are they feeling or thinking, taking in those questions. I think those pop up days were a very crucial day that I get all these questions, and then like come to develop my product.


Because sometimes you're like, oh thinking this is the best thing ever. I love this thing. Meanwhile, people are lik, eh, and then they're like one thing that you're like, I don't really like it that much, but that was the best seller. So you never know. So that's like one lesson that like, yeah, you're putting yourself out there, even though your goal is to like, I have to make money right away.


But then the value of you showing up, it's probably not money. Maybe it's a lesson. Maybe you learn something more about your business or marketing. Maybe you need a bigger sign. Maybe you need to adjust your display for a little bit. So that's what I remember, and then I always told other people if they doing pop ups, just take notes.


Diana: Yeah.


Poy: Connect with everyone who walks in and ask. If they didn't ask, invite them. Have you seen this?


Diana: Yes, yeah. I'm the person that's not going to go just up to a table and talk to someone either. I have to be invited in some way. I think it's so important to think about when we have a product or service, there's like the Venn diagram and where it meets in the middle of what you like to do, and what people actually buy and what they need. It's like, that middle piece is so important. Like just you said, your favorite bouquet, you could make it all day long, but if people don't like it and want to buy it, that's not a business. That's a hobby, right?


Poy: Yeah. That's for sure.


Diana: Oh, I love that. So you're doing the pop ups. You now have a job Estee Lauder, engaged or married already.


Poy: I don't remember.


Diana: The least important part, I love that.


Poy: I don’t remember our anniversary.


Diana: I am your girl after my own heart. So where do we go from there? So you're doing pop ups, things start to gain traction. Was there a time when you besides the delivery in Texas that you started to kind of realize you could sell? Or like, I know, you've done some workshops with Paper Source. Where does that come in?


Poy: Yeah, so I think for a good amount of time, I think teaching because I only had the bandwidth to do only teaching, and then, work a full time job as well. Then I think I wasn't selling as much as I wanted to, but back then, my focus was working full time, and then I teach on the side to get some extra money and then see where it takes me.


I think the pivot point is when I got laid off because of the pandemic, and like I said, I was crying, like so many days and like, what am I gonna do, but also not just like the money part. It's about that I worked so hard to find this dream job. I found a perfect job, and that got taken away from me. It was really bad.


Diana: When did that?


Poy: May 2020.


Diana: They realized like, hey, this is,


Poy: Yeah, which is understandable. Sometimes I kept thinking to myself and like, but it's just UX is digital.


Diana: It shouldn’t matter.


Poy: It shouldn't matter. Is it just me or it's just the pandemic? I don't know. I self sabotage a lot that like, maybe I'm not a good fit to the team, like why, why me. But anyway, that is in the past, but also, with that, I guess, process, I thought to myself, like I actually felt relief in a way, because the side story is this that my fiancee husband at the time, now husband, whatever.


Diana: Whatever it was.


Poy: Whatever he is. He’s sitting right there. Man I live with. He is a pulmonologist, and he basically worked in a COVID unit in the Bronx. So, Ethics Center. Yeah, Ethics Center. So yeah, knowing that when the pandemic start, we didn't know. We didn't have vaccinated or what's going on back then, and he has to be the one intubating patients every single day without protection.


With that, I feel lucky that I get to be home to when he walks in, all the cloth are like out, and then, cleaning the whole apartment, had the food ready, and then constantly, like he constantly working. I'm happy that I get to support him with this, because we definitely had a conversation of like, okay, do I like go back to find a job or are you okay that I want to take a break for a little bit, and then we'll figure it out next.


Because back then before this, we already know that we're going to move out to Long Island because he got a job out here. So that was a kind of transition in a way that I lost the job, and then also like, I have to move up to New York and like, I didn't come from Thailand to like live in Long Island. It's like, are you kidding me?


Diana: Yeah, your whole identity was wrecked. Yeah.


Poy: Yeah. Like what? Like, no, at the same time. I know that he would be happier to like, his family's here. His dad is here, and then, get a high paying job up here. Then I test something out and whatnot, so I'm like, alright, what we'll try. We're not too far away. We're an hour train ride, so it's not that bad, same as I live in Queens. So, yeah, it's true. So yeah, that's a lot of things happening in the same time.


But also with that, I think, it kind of grounds me for a little bit of like, okay, now I know that I can take a break. I know that I have a certain support that I don't have to worry about money as much. So what about kind of switch to focus on summer space for a little bit and see where it takes me? Like, what do I want, but summer space, right? It's more than just teaching. I want to be able to sell it. I want to do like custom order or whatever.


Like maybe I'll just like do this at 100% summer space and then see where it takes me and that's how it started.


Diana: Yeah, amazing. So you dig into this. Your whole identity has been shifted. You're no longer truly a New Yorker. Let's be real. You got laid off from your job. You're now paying not care taker but support advocate person, lean on my shoulder, I'll make food. I'll wash your clothes to your end during a crazy ass time in the world that we're all just so many unknowns and a lot of isolation, obviously.


You just start making your flowers. What were the steps to move it forward? What was your plan and what worked and what didn't work?


Poy: So I think one thing that was a blessing in disguise is when I moved out here, I have a bigger room. I have two bedroom apartment when I was like in a shoebox like basically a fearful walk up on the Upper East Side, you know what that means. Now, I have a second bedroom that I can turn into my studio, and I have like a shitty camera. So this is like one quote that I say a lot to myself and other people too, to start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.


I say this a lots to myself as well. It's like, so what do you have right now? I don't have like the perfect camera or skills or whatever, but I know that I can design. I know that I can make a website. I know that I can take okay photos. I know how to work around zoom. What does the world is telling you right now is online virtual, putting the workshop on a virtual and then, see how that takes me.


Of course, it takes a lot of energy, show up, teaching people, figured out the technology, like top down camera and blah blah blah blah, sending the kid blah, blah, blah. But every job that you're going to do, even though it's a job that you love, it is going to have something that you don't like. You're just gonna do it. You're just gonna do what you got to do, man.


Diana: So true. Can you say that quote, again?


Poy: You just got to do what you got to do.


Diana: The start what you have.


Poy: Yeah, start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.


Diana: I love it. Again, that bootstrapping mentality, like I am here, as you know, to debunk the idea that we have to hustle our asses off especially in New York, you know how it is, but things can look aligned. They can feel aligned. You can be doing what you love, but that doesn't mean, like you said, there aren't going to be parts that you hate that you have to do anyway to make the whole system work.


Also, just that you have to actually have some boots on the ground work and get your hands dirty, and really be willing to put yourself out there and work long hours for a minute and really go for it. So start doing these workshops, when did you start your Instagram presence?

Poy: Basically, summer space started when I did the 100 days of making that's the other Instagram that I just post my flower every day.