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

Hi Cindy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
– I relocated to a new home in 2020, and for the first time, I had a full blank canvas to design. I wanted my home to reflect my minimal aesthetic, however, it turned out much more complicated than I thought it should be: I found very few affordable home brands that can also be considered luxurious (both materials and design). – “Good design shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be affordable” is my guiding north star: I believe that everyone should get access to a well curated home, however the budget it. INK + PORCELAIN was created to fill this market gap, through a mix of product creation and curation: we launched in November 2021 with a beta product that was a set of Raffia coasters handmade by a coop of female artisans we partnered with in Morocco, and we have more currently in development.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
– When I was planning the jump out of my nursing career, I felt a mix of thrill and terror. I was excited to jump into something new and build from scratch, but I also realized I never sold anything outside Craigslist, let alone started a business. I remember searching “how to start a business in California” and then having some intense brainstorming sessions with my partner to figure out how to create and get a new product to market. Needless to say, I’m glad I had more unknown-unknowns than known-unknowns: that meant I basically didn’t know how hard what I was embarking on was going to be … and I think, in retrospect, that was a great thing! – And while I was connecting and talking to the female creatives that inspire me, I realized that I was starting to organically build a small community and supportive network.
– The one thing that strikes me is how the early days of “I have no idea what I’m doing” follow you for as long as you’re running your business. I learned to embrace the unknown, and see it as a good signal that the new challenges are new and are a sign of growth.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a friend visiting the Bay Area, I would absolutely show them around a few of my favorite parts. The first would be a visit to my house in Oakland. The second is a trip over the bridge to San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge. The third would be a trip to Scribe Winery in Sonoma followed by an incredible meal at Valley Bar and Bottle!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Before starting INK + PORCELAIN, I reached out to a few female design creatives that I’ve been following over the years to get their insights and take about what I was embarking into. There were two surprises: the first, almost everyone I reached out to responded. The second, people went above and beyond to help, either through contacts, sharing ideas, or just help me understand how business works. As a result of these conversations, I started a weekly column on the INK + PORCELAIN blog highlighting and celebrating these women, called “6 THINGS WITH” – cheers to the female creatives who make a difference in our community and the world!

Website: https://www.inkandporcelain.com/

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

Image Credits
Photo credit: INK + PORCELAIN

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