Meet Dana, the CEO and Founder of YAY Foundry
The/Studio: Introduce yourself. Tell our readers a little bit about who you are!
Dana: Hello! My name is Dana Choi. I’m a designer and creative tinkerer from New York City. I’ve been working professionally for about 10 years now, which I believe is the same amount of time Facebook has been a thing. I’ve done a lot of work in that time for clients such as Estée Lauder, Warner Music Group, Coach, and the Food Network, among others. In addition, I launched a campaign-based design studio called YAY Foundry this past year.
The/Studio: You have done so much! Very impressive! What does your company do?
Dana: YAY Foundry is a place for enthusiasts, seekers, YES-men and women. We are about bridging the gap from thinking to doing and making a difference through good design. I run seasonal campaigns to raise funding and awareness to select causes through different mediums such as t-shirts, tote-bags, and other apparel, not to mention home décor, posters and stationery, which are coming up this new year!
The/Studio: What a great concept! What have you learned since starting your company?
Dana: I have learned that you can do anything you put your mind to. After having grown to feel the stresses of long hours and limitlessness to a desk job, I always felt the need to do more but was afraid what I would find outside of my comfort zone, and if it would entail failure. But I decided to show up to my own game of yes or no and I couldn’t have been happier. YAY Foundry is driven by the act of showing up. More of than not, when you say “yes,” you’ve been inspired, made new friends, sparked new ideas, and even learned when/what to say no. I read an amazing article by Isabeau Miller who stated… “Show up for your life relentlessly, and life will show up for you.”
The/Studio: I love that! That is some great advice! What about your company are you most proud of?
Dana: This past project was called the “Ace Ventura” campaign, and suitably was for all the animal lovers out there (Who doesn’t love animals?). I designed t-shirts and tote bags – a portion of the proceeds have gone to safeguard the welfare of homeless animals in New York City’s NO-KILL shelters such as the Sean Casey Animal Rescue Center, and Bideawee.
The/Studio: That’s fantastic! I love animals! What are some of the greatest challenges you face with your company?
Dana: There are a ton of small businesses out there with the same meaningful goals. I don’t necessarily see it as a challenge if we can all collaborate and do things better.
The/Studio: Great answer! Where do you see your company in 10 years?
Dana: I’m currently running this studio single-handedly, but I hope in 10 years it will have grown into a multidisciplinary creative agency. I wish to collaborate with great companies, and hope its heartbeat of “showing up” is carried through the YES-men and women across all industries.
The/Studio: Wow! All by yourself? You just keep impressing me! What type of legacy do you want to leave?
Dana: It’s simple. My goal is to always do thoughtful, impactful, and unforgettable work.
The/Studio: What is the story behind the custom product that you produced with The/Studio?
Dana: The/Studio has helped produce such high-quality woven labels for our newest campaign. Thank you for providing such top-notch service on both customer and product-ends. The labels are sewn on our custom YAY Foundry beanies, and the proceeds from every purchase will go to the city’s Coalition for the Homeless. The Coalition helps implement humane, cost-effective solutions to New York’s homelessness crisis.
The/Studio: Thank you for your kind words! I really respect what you are doing. Describe the custom product and what it means?
Dana: A person’s body heat can be lost significantly in cold temperatures through an uncovered head and maintaining core body temperature for those less fortunate is an important element to survival. The beanies are hypo-allergenic, super-warm, and non-itchy! (Itchy hats drives me insane.) You can also gift it either to yourself or your loved ones, or if you already own a hat or beanie, there is always someone out there who could use one. I use social media to shout out to the community to keep an eye out on the way to work and back home for people who may need warm clothing. The problem isn’t just here in NYC, but across America and is very real. Please visit our “Dressed to Chill” campaign on our website here, www.yayfoundry.com. Again, proceeds from every purchase of the YAY Foundry beanies will go to the Coalition for the Homeless.
The/Studio: Do you have any promotions you would like to offer our community?
Dana: We have a few more shirts left from our Ace Ventura Campaign and they are all 50% off currently at our DO GOOD SHOP online! We would like to ask everyone to visit us (and like us, if you do) at www.facebook.com/yayfoundry and www.instagram.com/yayfoundry and share all of your YAY moments with us. Hashtag #yaymovement and #yaymoment
Thank you Dana for sharing your story with us. You are an inspiration. I know YAY Foundry is going to thrive!