Hello there! My name is Stephanie Ip, the founder of Sutai Bu.

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Thank you for reading my very first blog post on my newly launched business and website! I feel that Sutai Bu has been years in making, and that I had recently built up the courage to just “go for it!” Our soft launch happened last June at the OC Night Market, which went pretty well, woohoo! I will write more about my first show experience in a separate post later on next month, so stay tuned! 😊 Today, I want to share with you why I started Sutai Bu.

I have always loved creating with my hands ever since I started using color pencils, glue and scissors as a child! ✂️✏️🖍 Whether it’s paper crafts or watercolor paint, I would find myself getting lost in the moment of making, and coming out feeling relaxed and happy ☺️. Throughout my school years, I had participated in competitions, I won some and lost some, and they were all great learning experiences and opportunities for self-study.

Being brought up by Chinese parents, I was taught to always cherish the food given to me, the present time I had on hand, the friendships I made, and to spend money wisely. Born in Los Angeles, California, growing up and going to school in Hong Kong, I would also learn and memorize these proverbs, which at the time didn’t make sense to me at all. Gratefully, as I collect my life lessons each day, the proverbs that were once forced down my neural pathways are beginning to all make sense. 

Here, I would like to share with you a few proverbs that have impacted my outlook on life: 

粒粒皆辛苦 Lì lì jiē xīnkǔ
The food on the table does not come by easily

一寸光陰一寸金,寸金難買寸光陰 Yīcùn guāngyīn yīcùn jīn, cùn jīn nán mǎi cùn guāngyīn
Time is money, however, you can't buy it with money.

千里送鵝毛,禮輕情意重 Qiānlǐ sòng émáo, lǐ qīng qíngyì zhòng
Travel a thousand miles to bestow a goose feather— a small gift may be a token of profound friendship.

精打细算 Jīngdǎxìsuàn
Plan everything thoroughly.

With a thankful and responsible mindset engrained at an early age, plus my strong interest in creating with my hands, I dreamed of becoming a designer and owning a business one day.

I chose to major in a subject most people may think is impractical - Fashion Design, specialized in Zero Waste Design, from one of the most prestigious design schools – Parsons The New School for Design. The world of fashion may not be what one might think - there are numerous career paths within, and I was lucky to have found my love for textile design! ❤️ Upon graduation, I learned my craft through working as a designer, product developer, and production designer in apparel and textiles, at numerous companies in New York and Los Angeles.

During my studies, my interest in Japanese culture and design become a prominent element in my creative process. As I dig more into Japanese design philosophy, I realized a lot of the history resonated with my Chinese background, and thus infusing Japanese culture in my arts became second nature to me. Interestingly, I found out that I am actually 1/16 Japanese, which explains it all! 

Fashion was once an industry heavily influenced by craftsmanship and creativity. After the industrial revolution, fashion slowly became more mass produced, forming the fast fashion generation we all live in today. As an artist and creator myself, it is disheartening to see Fashion fall so far from being hands-on creations for essential utility, down to ultra-commercialized and disposable SKUs. 

Sutai Bu was founded with the intention to encourage and motivate all of us creative beings to think possibility and create with our own hands. By working with your hands and interacting closely with our products you chose to take home, I hope you will form a connection with our products, and gain appreciation for the art and culture within the twists and folds of Sutai Bu’s products. 


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