CJC Interview: Yuko Nakao, Visual Designer/Director
Tell us a little about your path so far— where are you from? Where are you currently? "Japan, now Brooklyn, NY."
Share a few career highlights. "Creating the new image direction for a client that resulted in 189% sales from the previous year. The pop-up that I produced the concept and design for, a 2,800 sq. ft. space, brought record breaking guest attendance at their opening party. I also designed the window display including, the holiday display, at the most iconic department store in the U.S."
Where do you find inspiration? "Podcasts, books, freelance gigs, on the street, clients, friends, magazines, and social media…everywhere!"
How would you describe your personality? "Fun and loyal."
What does being an ‘entrepreneur’ mean to you? "Being a calculated risk taker, having a sense of adventure, and constantly learning."
What’s the biggest misconception you face WFH or as an entrepreneur? "That people may feel too relaxed in a home office."
Who was the last person that inspired you and why? "A business consultant I listened to on a podcast; I listen 3 to 5 episodes every morning. He answers any question from the audience, regardless of their business size and stage. He gives the most logical solutions, ones which also can apply to everyone."
What’s your favorite ‘me-time’ or ’self-care' activity? "The new Panasonic steam foot bath machine (It changed my life in freezing NYC!), Chinese deep tissue massage, enjoying fine dining."
What is the biggest lesson you learned in your 20s? "Communication. I had a very hard time in my personal and professional life that ended up in depression. I still have some issues talking about my honest feelings and asking for simple favors without unnecessary hesitation."
What is your outlook on your future career? Your career industry? "Creating my platform all over the world to collaborate and bridge the gap of visual impact and aesthetics between cultures."
What’s your favorite quote? “Anything is possible."
What is the biggest contributor to your personal, inevitable self-doubt? "Millennials."
If you could give one piece of career advice what would it be? "Come to NYC and learn diversity, from different cultures and different economic situations."
If you weren’t pursuing your current career, what would you want to be doing? "A carpenter."
If you could give younger self any bit of wisdom what would it be? "Learn how to push myself to achieve a higher level than the boss."
How do you define success? "Having work/life balance and strong financial stability by doing what really fulfills you."
What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses as an entrepreneur and/or WFH? "Strength, flexibility; I feel great managing my own schedule and jobs. Weakness, it's hard to keep motivated on my own because I love teamwork."
What do you believe most prepared/inspired you to work solo—i.e. corporate experience, college, friends, family, etc.? "Corporate experience."
What is your favorite Instagram to follow? Favorite brands on social? "@HMHome"
What’s something few people know about you? "My Instagram @The_NYC_Project is an account that I started for a Japanese audience, to connect to the real design source as I saw or got involved with projects in NYC. I also really love donuts."