“As I grew up, I said I’d never have my own business because it seemed like so much work.”
So, how did Joy Cho end up at the helm of her very own lifestyle brand? It was written in her genes.
My parents immigrated to America from Thailand in 1975, four years before I was born. They had come for graduate school and planned to return to Thailand afterwards. But after they got pregnant with me, they decided to stay to try and have a better life for me and what would become our family of four. My parents both worked normal day jobs, but my dad had an itch to start his own business.
When I was five, my parents started their first business—a Thai restaurant in Philadelphia. While my mom worked another full-time job, my dad opened the restaurant with four other partners because he couldn’t afford to open one on his own. Slowly over the years, he eventually bought out the other partners until he was the sole owner and went on to open three more Thai restaurants during my childhood.
I remember watching my parents work so hard (my mom worked in the day at her day job and then would come help my dad in the evenings). My parents worked a lot, so we didn’t have typical “American” family dinners with us all sitting and eating together at the same time every night. I was lucky to get all the Thai food I wanted from my parents’ restaurants, so our dinners were often the meals my parents brought us home from there. I also spent a lot of time there and was a total "restaurant kid." I learned how to fold cloth napkins like a pro and worked there throughout my teen years as a hostess. Having busy, working parents made me very independent. I said I’d never have my own business because it seemed like so much work.