Through blogging and Instagramming, I’ve been introduced to an amazing Virtual Sisterhood of Creative Ladies.
The Oh Creative Lady series is your chance to meet these incredible, kind-hearted, inspiring <insert ALL the happy, positive adjectives HERE> women.
I am so incredibly stoked to kick this series off with an interview with Agnes from hello, Wonderful. I first stumbled upon her amazing site about a year ago. (It’s packed with fun and fab ideas for getting creative with kids.) I then may have stalked her amazing Instagram feed for awhile before gathering the courage to comment on one of her posts. (In my mind, she was a bit of a superstar. #fangirl) Agnes makes the online space a happy, rainbowy place. She always has kind, encouraging words and is so willing to share her ideas, creativity and knowledge. In my ideal world, she’d live just down the road from me and we’d discuss crafty projects over cake. Lots of cake. (Agnes totally approves of lots of cake. Read on.)
Prepare to be inspired.
I am… Agnes Hsu and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area in California with my college sweetheart, Tim and two children, Alia (7) and Kian (5). I’m the founder of a kids creative site called hello, Wonderful as well as founder of Plaeful, a cool Erasable Wall Frames Decal for kids. I’ve also helped my 7 year old daughter launch a kindness project called The Rainbow Rock Project.
I find inspiration… in the things you are passionate about and dreaming big. I love reading biographies about people who have overcome BIG THINGS and/or have sought to make their passions a reality. That could be anything from overcoming a challenge, pursuing a creative career, or business. About 10 years ago, I decided I wanted to open up a cookie and cupcake shop. And so I did. I overcame my fears and tested recipes on friends and family for a year. I didn’t go to baking school. I learned from the ground up, invested my savings and opened up my first shop in 2005. We grew to 5 locations in 3 years. I’ve since moved on to other creative endeavors but that first foray into the unknown taught me many lessons. It showed me what hard work mentally and physically looks like and how rewarding results from that hard work can feel. It taught me to be creative, as a single business owner with limited resources. It taught me to open my eyes to new experiences. It taught me how to be a leader and how to manage people. All those things led me to becoming a more rounded, creative, and resourceful person in general. A lasting lesson is that it taught me the value of friendship. How one cannot move mountains by themselves and how forming a tribe of trusted friends and supporters is key to succeeding. To this day, I honor small businesses and creative makers dearly, because I know first-hand how much dedication and love goes into their craft.
Because I took that first chance on my dreams, it’s led me to where I am today. You might wonder what a baker has to do with a kids creative site? Opening up the bake shop led to me wanting to learn photography so I could better photograph my baked goods. I fell in love with the craft of photography which then led to opening up a family photography business after I had kids. The kids then became my passion. Therefore, finding a place to be present with them and still fulfilling a creative need inside me led to hello, Wonderful. Which is essentially photographs of my kids doing creative projects (with lots of baking posts sprinkled in!). My biggest takeaway from all this is – be open to the opportunities that lie ahead in life and use your passions and interests as a compass to move you towards doing things that fill your spirit with happiness.
I am excited about … working on a few projects kids-related. One is my Plaeful Wall Decal and figuring out different ways organizations could use it to inspire creativity in kids such as schools, maker spaces and museums. Another is a recent collaboration with my mom for her handmade knit business, YAY! Crochet which (so far) features beautiful crochet mermaid tail blankets for kids. I’m excited to help my mom (who has sacrificed so much for me and my sisters in her earlier life) achieve a dream at her age today. Another project I’m excited about (but can’t go into details quite just yet) is a children’s furniture piece I’m designing along with an architect firm I’ve partnered with. It’s something I’ve always wanted in my kids’ room and that I hope many others will as well. To see it come alive would be a dream.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… try to unplug and free my mind from chatter. I like to go hiking with the kids and go with what they’re interested in. I find (paradoxically) that taking a break from being creative inspires creativity! On a daily basis, I read at least an hour or two a day. I’ve always been a voracious reader and I like to read across industries. For example, I’ll read anything from Business Insider, CNN, Tech Crunch to crafting, photography, food and design sites. I find my creativity is best sparked from multiple sources of inspirations.
I’m really proud of… my kids. I feel strange saying that. I did have a part in creating them, but they are not mine. They are each their own individual person which is a joy to see as they develop more surely into their own character as each year goes by. They are my happy place and everything creatively I do today zeroes back in on them. They are my beacon for creativity.
Someone once told me… I recently read Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, a fascinating read for anyone who wants to delve into their creative selves more. The quote that stood out to me is, “So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” I truly believe every individual has magic inside them so the takeaway for me is; go and find your magic powers. We all have them.
My advice to you is … humm…well I’ve already told you to go find your magic powers 🙂 Other things, if you’re a mom, find something to do for you and just you that brings you joy. Read often. Snuggle with your kids more as you’ll see – when they grow – that will happen less. Make a tribe both online and IRL of similar, like-minded individuals that lift you up and support you. Pick up the phone sometimes and chat with a good friend; email and text will never compare. Eat cookies and cake. Lots. Add sprinkles to anything. It’ll always (taste) and make you feel better.
You can find me at …
Agnes, you are a true powerhouse. So many inspiring words of wisdom (that I’m sure I’ll be returning to again and again.) Thank you! Now, about that cake….
I love Hello, Wondeful! What a great interview.
I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy Shannon! Thank you so much for sharing and your kind words at the top. I am constantly inspired by the creative ‘ladies’ I meet online and you are at the top of my list. Thank you!!
What a perfect choice for your first interview Shannon! I think that Agnes encourages so many and shares such genuine kindness! I look forward to the next one! And I better get on your book club… I am a big lover of Children’s Literature- I used it to teach absolutely everything! In September my littlest will be off to Playschool and hopefully I will have a little bit more time then! Bonnie (from Make it Your Own)
Love love love! Lovely to learn a little bit more about you Agnes – and Shannon I would really love to get in on that cake date – if only we weren’t all oceans apart!
Oh how I love this interview! Beautiful, happy, encouraging words Agnes, with added sprinkles! Thank you. 🙂
Oh I ‘ve been following Agnes on IG for a while but didn’t know how much we have in common!!! Tks Shannon to have opened my eyes. I totally agree with everything she wrote. Cakes cakes… of course cakes! xx cathy