We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikayla Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mikayla, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My creativity and motivation drive from problem-solving. The more I learn about each industry, the more I realized there could be many improvements from what is being done or used. That’s when I decided to start my journey, designing a space where creatives can join to begin problem-solving in various industries.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
A few years ago, I had no clue what I wanted to pursue in life after high school. I started my university as a business administration major back in South Korea with uncertainty. I realized my interest in design during my first year, especially architecture. I was lucky enough to explore the design industry, meet professionals, and learn from them firsthand. While researching, A couple of my family members introduced me to User Experience Design. It changed my perspective of how I viewed things in my everyday life. I was able to broaden my thought process and critical thinking. I wanted to utilize design and improve our way of living. After careful consideration, I decided to study in the states for a UX (User Experience) design degree at Savannah College of Art and Design. It wasn’t a walk in the park moving abroad, but I quickly adapted to the new environment. My business background did not entirely go to waste. I am so happy to have it as my background because this helped me immensely. Once I decided that I wanted to start my startup to get a step closer to make a change in our society, I was able to understand the finance part of my business. Understanding as a business owner and a creative at the same time is a great trait. It saves me a lot of time and money, making our process more efficient. Conteur, my startup, encourages creative thinking, diversity, and storytelling; I want our products and clients to have their unique narrative. I think it’s always tricky and nerve-racking getting out of your comfort zone or start a business by yourself, especially when it involves money or other people. The biggest challenge was pushing my idea to come to life. I feared rejection and failure. However, along this journey, I learned that I should be open-minded to learn new things from other people and value their advice. This learning curve helped me gain confidence and to trust my intuition. If you don’t trust and respect yourself, no one will!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Georgia has one of the biggest Asian communities in the states! So I would defiantly take my friends out for some good Asian food in Doraville or Duluth. There are many great thrift stores, bars, and local restaurants in the heart of Atlanta as well, so I wouldn’t want them to miss it. Then we could go to a little retreat to Blue Ridge or Helen for some beer. I love going to ponce city market and the brewery. Of course, we can’t miss the High Museum of Art. When the weather is nice, my friends would definitely enjoy some sun at Piedmont park! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a massive shoutout to everyone who helped my first product come to life! It’s always great to be surrounded by hard-working individuals and creating something as a team. I’ve had an enormous amount of support from my fellow designers, developers, business partners, and researchers that made everything come to life.