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when one chapter closes, another begins…

Oh Joy!

Oh Joy!

February 2020 will go down as one of the hardest months of my life. This was the month that I took a good, hard look at my business and realized it was going in a direction that I didn’t want it to go. I was burnt out and emotionally drained trying to maintain every single thing that I had built. I was no longer fully, truly happy…and it showed. I knew I had to make some changes, and they were sad, emotional, but also filled with a lot of hope in making space for the things that would allow me to breathe again and feel the joy that this business is all about.

I have already shared more details about the closing of our online shop. I've also decided to move out of our studio and into a smaller space instead. Our space has become a beautiful home to me and my team, and it's definitely bittersweet to see it go. But truly, the hardest decision of all was to scale back on my day-to-day team. I built a dream team of people who have helped me grow over the last several years. I focused so much of my efforts in giving them all the best work/life balance possible, that I forgot about my own life. I am so grateful to have had the best, most loyal team on earth…many of whom are now on their way to exciting and new opportunities (and some of them will still be working with me as freelancers!).

Often, we are taught to believe that growth means MORE of this and MORE of that. I realized that the growth that I really needed was to have less of all these things that I always assumed I needed to be successful. What I really needed was to focus on the parts of this business that made me the happiest and take it to a place that I could manage it all while having a fulfilling life with my family and be present as a mother, wife, and friend.

A few weeks ago, I would have not been able to write this or share this with you because I was deep in the throes (and deep in tears) of making these hard decisions. And, while this next chapter of Oh Joy! is still being written, I feel confident that these difficult decisions were for the best, and I am truly excited for this pivot and what's to come.

The good news is…a lot of the things you know and love (products, content, my house reveal, the academy, new books) will all still be here as there are a TON of new things we have been working on for 2020. You'll see and hear my voice around here more, start to see a slight shift in focus, and…the rest has yet to unfold.

I read this line recently in Dave Hollis' new book that felt so timely for me right now and might be helpful for you as well:

"You and you alone have to feel the call on your heart to grow and pursue the life that's better than the one you already have, even if it means shedding the identity you've become comfortable with." — Dave Hollis

Thanks for your support and for always being there for me and for us throughout the almost 15 years I have been running this business. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you guys back here next week!

P.S. My awesome 4400 sq. ft. studio in the Frog Town area of Los Angeles (see some photos here, here, and here) will be available starting April 1st. If you're interested in more information, email us: [email protected] and we'll send you more info!

{Photo by Lily Glass}


  1. Oh man. Change is so hard, and I bet doubly hard when other people are involved. Good for you, Joy, to do the deep dive of introspection to figure out changes that need to be made. Rooting for you all and have been a big fan of the Oh Joy! Team for years! Sending love as y’all navigate this new territory! ♥️♥️♥️

  2. Thanks for sharing this journey and adventure with us. Just wanted to send you a little extra love and light. Squeeze those kiddos….sip a bubbly drink…and put on a little extra sparkle today! You are such an inspiration and a bright light in this world. Keep going…..we’re cheering you on!

  3. Can’t tell you enough how much I love you and appreciate your willingness to be open and vulnerable. You’ve always been someone I look up to and always will. You empower those around you and no doubt will you continue to do it in this next chapter. XOXO

  4. i’m so encouraged by you! I’ve been following you since almost the very beginning! it’s been an honor to see your business grow and the different shifts you’ve made! you’re incredible!!!! <3

  5. Congrats! I feel like I’ve been watching your journey for years and I am so excited for you to be trying something new. You’re such an inspiration!

  6. Dear Joy-
    In a world where we ( social media consumers) tend to support people we DON’T know more than those that we actually know IRL, I hope that you know YOU support so much in the lives of strangers.
    You check the box for many:
    You are a Successful business woman, mother, and life partner
    You are a Successful ASIAN woman
    You show bravery, sensitivity, and expose vulnerability
    You promote Mental Health and self care
    You are sharing and caring with your creativity
    You are willing to be a teacher and Mentor
    You take risks
    ….YOU have a long list.
    And with no pun intended ……you provide JOY.
    Simply, Thank YOU for being YOU.
    ❤️ @cuzihave2

  7. Wow! Thank you for your transparency and giving an honest view into the inner life of your company. It’s incredibly brave! I’ve never replied to a post before but my husband and I have a small business (architecture firm) and are experiencing similar growing pains. I feel both inspired and encouraged by your pivot back to your North Star. I copied the quote by Dave Hollis onto my desktop so I can refer back to it again. Just what I needed! Thanks!

  8. Thanks for sharing your story! Not an easy decision to be making but not that’s it’s made you can look forward to doing the things you really enjoy in life! I have been following you and your new house which although your are in the design field, it also brings a lot of pressure and angst to life! Soon you’ll be in your new house and enjoying the next chapter.

  9. I went through a lot of these same feelings and decision making last year and it was the worst. I’ve always admired your ability to be open to change and confidence in making those tough decisions. You’re an inspiration!

  10. So happy and inspired to see you following a path that is more aligned with your heart. Kudos! Best of luck and can’t wait to see what’s next.

  11. Thank you for being so open with us about the ups and downs of running your own business. It’s a lot of hard work, hard decisions, and often very isolating. Even harder as a mom of little ones too (speaking from personal experience!). I believe bigger is not always better when it comes to finding happiness. You light up the world with your amazing heartfelt, creative energy and I’m sure will continue to do so in whatever capacity you decide. May you find the balance and support from all you can in the world to be able to live healthy, happy, and authentically. Much love, respect, and appreciation for sharing your beautiful truth. Always rooting for you and looking forward to seeing what’s to come!

  12. Thank you for this example of bravery, flexibility and leadership! I just read a blog post from Erin at Design for Mankind that touched on the same pressure to “play big,” and I’m so grateful to see someone I look up to making tough decisions for the right reasons. Seems like it gives all of us a little more confidence to do the same.

  13. Ahhh, I’ll be so happy to read more of your personal stories like this today here soon. I missed them! You are so good in writing about your feelings and your personal growth. I follow you for years now and I now the difficulties about growing a business and still find time to share feelings and personal stories. But it’s how our businesses started, why we loved starting them and what we’re good in (beside tons of other stuff). Whatever – happy for you that you’re finding a new way for yourself and happy to read about it. You got his, Joy! xoxo from the other side of the world (where the situations are just the same)

  14. I read this post this morning and just wanted to give you a hug. For making tough decisions, for loving your people of your company so much it brings you to tears, and being authentic. I know there is not a lot we don’t get to see. But, you continue to be one of my favorite business women (and humans) to look up to. I could go into more detail but I am toying w the idea of making some big changes in my career. This post inspired me to call the life coach/career coach I met with recently to help me with the transition. Your vulnerability and passion for this business, your people and your customers is amazing. Thank you for showing us it is not all confetti but that there are doses of really tough things that can also happen and we still move forward to the next right thing. Thank you for sharing with us the next right thing. I hope these changes make it all feel lighter, more content and allow for more time for those who are important to you.

  15. Joy, I admire you as a confident woman who shows the many aspects of being a business woman with a family. I feel connected to you simply because of how you’re willing to connect online. Sending my best to you and your team members. Onward!

  16. Hi Joy, I’m a long time reader but never commented before, but this post really hits home for me… I too closed my catereing business a few years ago because it consumed so much tine and more importantly, mental energy that I no longer enjoy the passion that once brought me to the business (cooking it is). I became so drained in the business part of business (ha-ha!): marketing it, keeping in touch with clients, pitching products etc that I no longer enjoyed the cooking and recipe inventing process. It was a painful decision since I loved my business and it grew beautifully, but I knew I had to make it. I now do catering ocassionally and cook a lot everyday at home for friends and family, and that makes me happiest 🙂 Best of luck for you and your team Joy :*

  17. Wow! This post is amazing! It’s great to see someone so successful share challenges. I can’t wait to see what’s next. Thank you for sharing your courage and your grace.

  18. If it helps, I know (and I mean that as a figure of speech because what do I know lol) you are making the right decision because I could feel what you are expressing…you made an AWESOME team, everyone looked so kind and genuine and hardworking, and I could feel the respect you gave them, the excitement you had for them to grow and feel valued, to celebrate them as humans. But I could also feel your burn out, I could feel you losing your sense of self. So while it’s painful in the short term, I hope there’s comfort in knowing you are following your authentic intentions. Because you can’t take care of others anyways when you don’t take care of yourself. And when you take care of yourself, you will have the power to help others exponentially. It’s painful, but not forever, just a new path.
    As long as we act according to our personal values, even when we make mistakes, we’re doing good. You’re doing a great job, Joy!

  19. Joy, I have only just found you recently but THANK YOU for being open and vulnerable about your struggles in a world where many only highlight the fun, happy parts. Any decision that ultimately brings you closer to the best version of yourself… a happy and fulfilled wife, mother and friend….is the right one. I cannot wait to see what the next chapter holds for you! (P.s. I have already preordered Dave’s book and I cannot wait to read it. I’m sure it is chock full of inspiration!)

  20. I live in DC and was just at the Smithsonian portrait gallery yesterday. I saw your portrait there on the wall and thought about how long I’ve been following you social media and now you’re powerful and talented enough to hang on the walls next to presidents, Supreme Court justices and historical figures. Your next chapter will be grand – you’re amazing – enjoy the ride!

  21. Thinking of you Joy. Such a brave, bold decision to make. Well done for knowing that’s what you needed.
    Love Jac,
    Liverpool, UK.

  22. Thanks Mama! This was a hard one to share but also I think we all need to hear that we’re all going through things, too.

  23. Hi Jaidee,
    Thank you so much. It’s always a roller coaster as a small business owner and sometimes the highs and lows are extra high and extra low.
    Thank you for following along!!

  24. Wow Joy I commend your courage for making such a hard decision thank you for sharing your openness!! This has been quite inspiring for myself, I too have been feeling what you had been for awhile w my own business but feeling stuck that I can’t make a move in a different direction or simply feeling scared to take the leap and rip the bandaid off like you have done. But that quote! Ugh love it, it definitely resonates so much right. Good for you for doing what is best for you! I can’t wait to see everything you have yet to conquer!

  25. Dear Joy
    I just found you due to the piece that GMA on abc this morning. I am not sure if I fit your demographic. I am a single senior woman with grown daughters. I lost my mother 21 years ago and my father March 3, 2020. I have a small business that has tanked due to the virus. My roll with my team is nonexistent for
    Quite sometime. I am
    At a cross roads with a lot of worry, fear, and so much to decide. One daughter lives in CA and my youngest and granddaughter lives in Tx. In December I packed up everything I own after living in TX for 13 years. I am currently staying in the mountain of No. Ca at my family cabin. I am at a complete
    Loss as to where I would like to land. I have been very close to
    My girls. Have been staying close to my youngest to be also close to my Grand. Ok my point is the youngest wants me to stay at a bit of distance she feels to help us both develop a more independent life.
    I could go anywhere, stay here in CA, go back to TX, move to a 55+ active community. I admire you so much! How , what process do you go about making huge life changes to truly own my joy. And advice or tips on the process you have used would be so helpful. I am glad I have now found y’all. I think it is time to figure out what brings me joy, balance and stop the cycle of constant self doubt.
    Sending you prayers of Joyful and abundant success! Lynn


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