Where I Work: Angie Myung of Poketo

We’re longtime fans of Poketo, something easily noticed throughout our archives, and the love continues to grow as they do. The husband-and-wife team of Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung design and curate collections of accessories and home goods featuring bold colors and geometric patterns that entice the eye. In addition to their online shop, they have three LA-based retail spots (Koreatown, Culver City, and Little Tokyo) plus their downtown LA flagship store at ROW DTLA to keep them busy. In this month’s Where I Work, co-founder Angie Myung gives us all a little insight into their work and design life.

PS. Did you know that you can purchase Poketo’s work in the new Design Milk Shop here?

What’s your studio/work environment like?

The work environment is clean and minimal. Our creative team just moved up from the warehouse/office from downstairs where our shop is located. We’re now on the 8th floor with a bird’s eye view of downtown.

How is your space organized/arranged?

It’s an open environment with desks and computers. Everyone is very busy with their own responsibilities but we gather around and make important decisions together about what to produce and launch. Our creative office is made up of 2 designers, a photographer, 2 buyers, wholesale coordinator, and myself. We’re all creative and have a keen sense of color and design. So we look at the products we make and carry from a creative eye while considering retailers and consumer perspectives.

Poketo shop

How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?

We never really had a real office since we opened our shop. Since the shop was a big enough place for both the retail and office, we always worked behind the shop. As a small business, it’s always important for us to be cautious. But as the shop became busier and space becoming smaller and smaller, we needed to make a move and transition into a quieter and more focused place. Since the move, we’ve also become more productive with fewer distractions.

Poketo shop

If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?

The air conditioning is way too cold! Would also love all white desks, but I’m not complaining. :)

Is there an office pet?

Yes! Our Shihtzu, Scooter comes by once in a while when we let him.

Do you require music in the background? If so, who are some favorites?

Actually, I work much better in a really quiet setting without music.

How do you record ideas?

Email memo, jot things down on many notebooks & planners (I switch mine all the time. Too many of our own to choose from.), screenshot on my phone, Google calendar, and all of the above.

Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

Pinterest board with all past and future colors, collections, product ideas, and more.

What is your typical work style?

I usually come in between 10-11am and go home between 7-7:30pm. I like to exercise in the morning to get my brain and body moving and I try to keep my real work at the office but of course ideas and inspiration strikes and hits anytime so I try and grab those and bring to the office.

What is your creative process and/or creative workflow like? Does it change every project or do you keep it the same?

I try to work at least 6 months out so we’re designing our SS 2020 right now. I’m reworking our 4 color ways to make them a little brighter. Our core products will follow the theme and the color scheme but there are always new, extra items that we make and launch. Once the new things become proven, we fold them into our regular program. The SS 2020 would be a theme of the Sea because we all hope that a major sea of change in our society and politics should and will happen!

What kind of art/design/objects might you have scattered about the space?

Samples are hidden away in our cabinet, everyone has their favorite tool and mementos, jackets, snacks, our notepads, pens, notebooks, and planners.

Are there tools and/or machinery in your space?

Our photo studio is downstairs, so all photography, lighting gear along with paints, rolls of seamless in different colors, and lots and lots of props are all down there. Upstairs in the creative office is minimal with rulers, scissors, office supplies with a printer and each of our own computers and that’s about it. We all keep our digital inspiration boards.

What tool(s) do you most enjoy using in the design process?

Scrap paper, Pantone color book, scissors, and rulers sometimes, and Photoshop for speedy mockup colors and designs.

Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell us about your tech arsenal/devices.

I try not to buy into the latest hyped gear. I use an outdated tiny phone (iPhone SE), and an 8-year-old iMac that’s still really zippy and fast. I turn all notifications off and will never buy into an Apple watch. That seems like a nightmare to me.

What design software do you use, if any, and for what?

Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

What’s on your desk right now?

Pantone color books, product samples, scraps of leather swatches, notepads, notebooks, tea, water, and other things.

Bamboo tableware

Is there a favorite project/piece you’ve worked on?

I love doing something completely different than what I’m used to. This year, we launched 2 new categories, bamboo tabletop and a line of socks. It’s challenging to have to find the right manufacturers for all the new things but being able to work on whole new things is exciting and fun, especially when your customers are loving them.

We also worked with some like-minded companies to launch a line of water bottles with Corkcicle and bike helmets with Thousand, a watch with Breda, and a complete set of yoga wear with Athleisure brand, Beyond Yoga. More licensed products in the works for next year.

Bauhaus collection

We just launched our fall/winter collection based on Bauhaus for its 100th anniversary. The color schemes are all primary of red, yellow, blue, and black, and the designs contained a lot of sharp geometric shapes and lines.

Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?

I always try to find something that we can offer that will work well within our current categories. Much of what I come up with is usually influenced by what I feel like I need as well as what my team is needing to keep them creative. Making new stuff is really fun and exciting but it can also be a lot of pressure so it’s always important to take creative breaks and try to be centered in the midst of all the deadlines.

For example, we are launching 2 new journals for wellness and creativity, called Self Journal and Creativity Journal with all of our own content. Fun activities to get your creativity flowing, inspiring quotes, and daily journaling are included.

I think that Poketo is a breathing living organism. I like that there is constant newness happening within and around Poketo. I think the reason we’ve survived and thrived for 16 years is that I get easily bored by the same thing so I try to find new ways to expand the ethos of Poketo, case in point is our workshop program, that’s been popular from day one until now. We create new products, have opened up new shops.

Do you have anything in your home that you’ve designed/created?

Ceramic espresso cups, planters, saucers, and a wall hanging. All made at one of the Poketo workshops.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.