We had the good fortune of connecting with Bernice Sioson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Bernice, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Truthfully, it still doesn’t feel real to call what I have “my own business”- but I suppose that is what it is! I started my online shop because there were things I wanted to make both for myself and for other people to use and enjoy. I’ve been penpalling for over a decade now and I really really really love stationery and paper products. I had always wanted to make my own letter sets or notepads someday. I also really admire all the people that do, whether that’s big stationery brands like san-x or independent artists making their own stuff. It was daunting to start! You have to do a lot of research, apply for a bunch of stuff, and also find manufacturers to make high quality products, on top of hoping that other people will be interested and actually buy the things you make. But I started slow, and I started off with stickers and sold them in person. Then I slooowly started to branch out and make even more stuff that I was interested in, like the notepads and the washi tape on my online store! I really just wanted to make stuff and share that with people- and it’s been a lot of fun for me.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Aside from the online shop I personally run, I professionally work as a storyboard artist for animation. I actually went to college for one year to study animation, but dropped out due to financial reasons. Art school is expensive and I couldn’t actually afford it. After dropping out, I worked a few different minimum wage jobs… managed to save up a little bit for a storyboard class while paying off my loans, and took that story class maybe 3 years after I had dropped out of college. I commuted from San Diego to Pasadena for that class every week all while working basically full time in retail. Luckily, my partner was there to help me with this commute every week. This shit was not easy and before taking this class, I probably gave up on finding a creative job a couple times along the way. This class reinvigorated me and it was really inspiring to see my classmates’ work every week- but then the pandemic hit and we ended the class online on zoom. The store I worked at closed temporarily due to the pandemic, but some of my classmates came together to form a little study group that mimicked the structure of the class- and I was lucky enough to be a part of this group! We worked really hard and met multiple times a week. We continued to create work and collaborate and update our portfolios together. We helped each other, and it helped fill the void that the pandemic left us all with. And not having work helped me finally focus on what I really wanted to do professionally. We all worked really hard! Along the way, a studio had reached out to me to take a test, and I did well enough to get hired for storyboarding. I haven’t been working in animation or as a storyboard artist for very long… but I’m really grateful that I finally got here, and I’m learning something new everyday on the job.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m actually pretty new to LA and haven’t many chances to explore the city or much of the county yet… but I would 100% want to go on a long drive/motorcycle ride on those mountain roads nearby. They’re sooooo scenic and the air out there feels so good. I’ve seen some really fast cars nyoom past me up there, and lots of motorcyclists! I think a ride up the mountains would be really exciting and really relaxing at the same time!!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All of my wonderful friends that supported me when I was only selling stickers out of my bag deserve so much credit for pushing me towards creating my online store and continuing to make things for this store. Big thanks especially to Jenielle for buying at least 5 of each of my stickers every time I made a new one and filling up her hydroflask with every single design I’ve ever made. And another gigantic thank you to my partner and my brother for helping me pick up my products and pack my orders and take them to the post office. And of course, thank you to my parents for buying the very first notepads I had ever designed and produced- that was a really nice way to support to me and I will always appreciate that. All of the support I get from people online and all the new customers and all the people I’ve met along the way have really kept me going and fueled me making more things!! And it all makes me so so happy!!

Website: https://bernicesioson.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/niceytime/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/niceytime

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