Tripping With Hen Chung

June 8, 2014 • Travel

the kick-ass women interview series is meant to inject a tiny little bit of modern day feminism into this blog. i figure when my ideology and the subjects of this blog intersect, it’s not just an opportunity to spread positive vibes and support great women in the creative industry, but it also presents an interesting story that might be inspiring to you in other ways, too.

when i first got in touch with hen almost three years ago, i loved her for chasing a dream and beating the odds by launching her office supply subscription company RAD AND HUNGRY. anyone who gets that excited about pens and notebooks from countries all around the world, is a winner in my book. then i started following her on INSTAGRAM and i realised we had so much more in common. she likes good food, enjoys great coffee, finds interesting typography everywhere and, last but not least, she loves to travel.

when i finally met hen in real life, during our honeymoon stop in seattle, she took us out for an amazing lunch, showed us one of her favorite places for coffee and desert, surprised us with a thoughtful wedding gift and left us with an entire list of must-do’s in her hometown. thanks to her, seattle was one of our favorite stops on our trip. i said goodbye knowing i had made a real friend, even though we’d rarely see each other offline.

so really it was pretty obivous to me that i wanted to include hen in this series about kick-ass women. she’s doing her thing, doing it stylishly, and she has some pretty great opinions and views on life. and in case you didn’t want to take my word for how rad she really is, hen offered to write up a LITTLE TRAVEL GUIDE TO SEATTLE, especially for 70percentpure (it’s print-friendly, and you can download it HERE). the places you see in these pictures are mentioned in it, and it has some cool tips for spending a wonderful day in the western part of the city. personally, i can’t wait to go back! (oh, and here’s the custom GOOGLE MAP hen created to go with the guide – did i tell you she’s just that amazing?)

w h o   h a s   b e e n   a    m e n t o r   t o   y o u   t h r o u g h o u t   y o u r   l i f e   o r   p r o f e s s i o n a l   c a r e e r ,    a n d    h o w ? 

my father and my mother. immigrant stories are common but they’re all powerful. my parents packed up their 3 kids, 2 pieces of luggage, and moved to the states with $40. they arrived not understanding or speaking english, yet they pushed forward and accomplished so much. i think the american dream is broken and twisted but it can also be really beautiful. one of the strongest memories i have is walking into my parents’ kitchen and catching my father, beer in hand, toast his best friend and say, “i can’t believe it. we’re really living the american dream.”

it wasn’t until i sat down to answer these questions that i realized – i’ve been recreating my parent’s journey to america over and over again for the last 4 years. every month i pack up and set out for a foreign country that’s new to me. i struggle with maneuvering the local landscape and hunting down goods. i’m forced to learn how to communicate with people who don’t share the same language or culture. my parents were driven by survival and although my story is much less dramatic, i inherited the immigrant mentality of survival. i make things happen in unconventional ways, i create opportunities with limited resources, i never accept “no” as an answer… i just move forward.

n a m e   a   c h a l l e n g e   t h a t   y o u   d i d n ’ t   t h i n k   y o u   c o u l d   o v e r c o m e ,   b u  t   c o n q u e r e d   a n y w a y .

i knew i was meant to be a graphic designer the moment i discovered that it was an actual job. but after 10 years, it became time for me to move on. at first i didn’t know what i wanted to do and i felt stuck. i couldn’t even think about design anymore – on any level. then one day it hit me … i was free to do and pursue anything i wanted. um, hello?? travel the world, searching for rad office supplies?

once RAD AND HUNGRY began taking shape, i understood that i had to do all the design myself given our budget. from the logo to the packaging to the stmt kit posters. the first year was rough. it was a constant struggle to get back into design. it’s really obvious to me when i look through all the kit posters – i get embarrassed when i look at the ones from the first world tour!

but you know what? i was able to push RAH forward and learn to appreciate design all over again because i fell in love with our RAHstrs (what we call our fans and customers). RAHstrs are always sending us the sweetest emails and facebook notes, letting us know how happy our goods make them, how special they feel because we take the time to write them a note… every time i read something from a RAHstr, i’m like yo, you guys make my day! you guys make it possible for me to live my dream job. our big lovefest has helped me move forward and get back to my love for design.

w h a t   i s   y o u r   b i g g e s t   r e g r e t ?

every time i haven’t had the courage to stand up for myself. allowing people to make decisions for me without actually granting them permission. totally not ok with it, and i kick myself after each time i’ve let it happen!

i f   y o u   c o u l d   o n l y   g i v e   o n e   p i e c e   o f   a d v i c e   t o   a n y o n e ,   w h a t   w o u l d   i t   b e ? 

make a decision and move forward. don’t look back. if your decision didn’t bring what you hoped for, figure out another way to make it happen. spending time regretting your decision – or taking forever and a day to make one – can hurt you and wastes valuable time. whether you resist it or not, everything around you is constantly changing and time moves on. strength comes from believing in the choices you make and moving forward with them.

w h a t   w  o u l d   y o u   l i k e   t o   b e   r e m e m b e r e d   f o r ?

for inspiring and helping people create more rad.

w h a t   i s   t h e   b i g g e s t   a c c o m p l i s h m e n t   y o u   w i s h   f o r   y o u r s e l f   i n   y o u r   f u t u r e ?

for RAD AND HUNGRY to continue to grow so we can bring more people into our awesome world. i’d be a fool to not recognize how fortunate i am – i’m constantly experiencing a ton of cool stuff, and the whole time doing it with super supportive friends. i can’t wait till we can add more people to the mix. we’ve begun working on a few collabs, and it’s all so exciting. i love working with other creatives, dreaming up an endless list of things to do, see, and create. it’s the beginning of a lot of special RAH projects that have been a long time coming. i wanna spread the rad!

hen chung’s company RAD AND HUNGRY // and her rad BLOG
photos taken by WHERE’S MA BELT in seattle

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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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