From their lino-printed tote bags to dainty clay ashtrays, Morning Face Studio brings home living deco and stationery to a whole other aesthetic level with their custom hand-printed designs. Below we speak to Sue-Ann, one half of the So-Ju twins behind the brand on their their inspirations, visions and more.
What are your brand's creative direction and artistic approach? Why have you decided to go down this route?
Since we love mornings, we create prints that are morning-related. We want Morning Face Studio to be a space where we feel free to experiment with different types of drawings and with different mediums. Some days we drew with our right hand and some days we drew with our left. We use pen, pencil, colour pencils, oil pastel, acrylic. We make sure we try anything that sparks our curiosity. We just want to have fun with this brand and we think we create best when we have fun. Our latest project is with air dry clay.
Please share what has been the brand's most admirable achievement thus far! We learned lino-printing for our tote bags! I don’t think we can call this an admirable achievement but looking back it was pretty amazing. We learn the whole process from Google and YouTube. We practised lino-cutting a lot and on different types of lino boards. We tried with different inks. We spent a lot of money on it too. I can’t feel my thumb for a week because I was so into the carving and my skinny weak arms nearly fell off from only printing on a few tote bags. It was super fun but I won’t do it again!
How are your products sourced and made?
All our prints and products are designed and hand-made by us and printed in Malaysia.
What hardships have your brand gone through?
We started off the brand just for the fun of it. However, the more we got into it, the more we wanted this brand to work. We wished we could continue creating full-time. For months the sales were static. We kept reminding ourselves that we only can control what we create. We continue to focus on creating our best and only after a year plus there was a sudden growth in our sales. It feels like forever but it was so worth it. We have so many great plans for Morning Face and we hope our customers see that too.
What is your brand creative approach?
Anything we wish we have, we create. There are so many more things in our heads that we haven’t created yet. Trying to match our reality with what’s in our head one design at a time.
How did your brand come about?
It was never our plan to sell our drawings and paintings. We knew we wanted to open a brand together but we thought it would be apparel or an accessory brand. But because we drew and painted on a lot in our vlogs, some of our viewers suggested we sell our drawings & paintings. We thought that was a cool idea and it sounded fun so we did it. I mean we did try to make our brand super legit even though we were doing it for fun at first. I still can’t believe we are still creating for Morning Face. It feels like a dream and we are super grateful.
What was your inspiration for your brand?
We get our inspiration mostly from the things we have and from our space. We create prints or products that go well with our environment. Pinterest is a good source of inspiration too. There are so many great designs & DIYs from other creators there.
What are your brand creative values?
Just create. Create ugly art. Create beautiful art. We create what we like and what we think we would love to have in our space. Not caring so much about the end product but rather, enjoying the process of creating. I think people can tell from the product if your heart is in it.
Just create. Create ugly art. Create beautiful art. We create what we like and what we think we would love to have in our space.
Why did you choose the name "Morning Face Studios"? We love (borderline obsessed) with mornings. So we wrote a list of names that we thought paired well with the word “morning” and Morning Face stood out from the rest of the names.
What are the top 3 things you wish you knew before starting out as a brand? Do share some advice for other local business owners out there!
1. Done is better than perfect. It’s easy to want to over-prepare. Want everything to be perfect before starting a business. Experience is the best teacher. “Jump off the cliff first and build your wings on the way down.”
2. It’s going to be super challenging. There are a lot of things in the business that you might not like and find difficult. It’s not creating, sell, earn, happy [laughs]. There’s the business part and we know nothing about business. But always trust the journey. It’s going to be worth it.
3. Most importantly is to not take the business too seriously. This brand you build from zero and it will be like your precious baby. You will want it to work and grow but I wish I let go of things I can’t control and focus only on things I can control.
Morning Face Studio is helmed by a pair of twin sisters—can you share with us some tips on how others looking to own a business with their family can balance personal and business relationships?
Morning Face was founded by two people but it’s now handled by one. I manage Morning Face and Jo-Ann handles our second brand. We don’t have to argue that way [laughs].
Before starting our second brand, we did work together on Morning Face and cliche as it may sound, communication is key. Before starting any project together, we talked about everything we might argue about. EVERYTHING. It is a must! We promise to be super honest (no filter) with each other and respect each other’s opinion. Now when disagreements arise we know how to handle them.
Next is to not play fair. We don’t have a scoreboard as to who works longer or harder or whose design got more sales. We both are on the same team and we know that.
To be honest, it wasn’t easy. It seems that because we are twins and we practically grew up together since birth that we’ll magically work well together. Not true. We’ve been through lots of arguments to be where we are now. I like to think that our relationship got stronger by working with each other. We’re like an old couple now. Our happy ever after story. Family above business!
What are your goals and vision for your brand in the years to come?
Our goal is to create a better and brighter morning for our customers with our art and products. We would love Morning Face to be a lifestyle brand and our products to be part of our customers’ morning routine.
Lastly, what makes your brand and product unique?
I think our drawings are messy and unfinished but so planned out at the same time. That’s what people like about them. It’s a combo of so many thoughts and none at all.