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

Hi Peder, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I needed to redefine myself. I went to school to become an accountant and realized the career path was unsatisfying. I wanted to work for myself and “be my own boss”. My older brother was my biggest inspiration because he’s a CEO in the Tech industry with no background or prior interest. He redefined his life, so I knew it was possible. My dad opened a tailoring service and they taught me how to sew/tailor my suits. That slowly evolved into a hobby. I began upcycling pieces from closet. Not having a lot of money I found a cool idea in upcycling: why not use the client’s original pieces to upcycle. At the time I didn’t know anyone doing this. There were upcycle artists that would curate their own vibes/looks but I didn’t know any designer accepting people’s items to be turned into whatever they wanted. I knew I had something special, but executing the craft would have to remain high because I’m a random guy on the internet. There’s a lot of barriers for someone to buy something from me, so I focus on the craft heavily to prove that the execution will be on point. My business is based on the craft and way less creative marketing.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The number 1 thing I do is upcycle design. The unique twist is that people send me their personal items for me to flip. I can make them a design I’ve already made or one entirely new. I’ll make what you want. This whole model began because I didn’t have a lot of money to begin investing into a hobby. What started with cut-and-sew NBA logos on old pieces eventually grew to revamping people’s closets into entirely new garments and accessories. Now I’ve been able to make custom pillows for some of the hottest rappers, installations for universities and pieces for Nike ACG and Jordan commercials.

To get there I only focused on craft. Countless 24-hour days, 48-hour days; so many favors and freebies. To this day, I will still spend 12-20 hours on a piece and donate/gift it. Most designers look at me crazy when I tell them these things, but I don’t look at these moments as L’s. Remarkable moments tend to come to my door right afterwards. Every gift brings a blessing.

I was an accountant for 4 years until I was 26. Transitioning into a full-time designer was never in the plans, but you can always redefine your life. I found the juice I once had back in the day hooping for like 6 hours everyday, not caring about anything in the world. We sometimes can lose that passion in life. The key is to find that and go crazy. I don’t measure my work via time. I’m so invested that my entire life is this.

At one point the hardest part was making “working for yourself” a reality, but now the hardest part for me is saying “no” to clients and saying “yes” to “more life”. I am addicted to the craft. I barely talk to my old friends and family, which is highkey sad. Work-life balance, but work is life now. As I try to take the advice to have “my day” another crazy job will come. C’est la vie.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I selfishly value my work time to a point where I barely eat-out, drink or hang out.

My favorite Ice Cream is Paradis DTLA. Those are my guys.
My favorite spot to eat is LaLa’s Argentine Grill.
My favorite coffee spot if Spring for Coffee.

Both of which are downtown LA, about 5 minutes aways from my apartment.

Then we would walk through the fashion district and I’d tell him to pick out a fabric for a custom bag.

Then work on projects all week while apologizing for being bogus and always working.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to my older brother Mikael Cho. I saw my brother transition from his 9-5 career job to a CEO of a global leading photo sharing platform. That was my biggest motivation to recognizing my potential. We both come from the same place, so I knew it was possible for me. Although we work in different industries the mentality is the same. I couldn’t have a better resource than my older brother. He urged me to start and was on my ass about it while plotting out my first “business model”. Through the evolution of the business I’ve been able to tap-in with Mikael; mainly talking about focus, mentality maintenance and work ethic consistency.

Website: www.cho.moda

Instagram: @utopia.us

Twitter: @utopia.us

Other: TikTok: @utopia.us

Image Credits
DaniLeigh Jaden Smith Lil Uzi Vert (not really though)

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