Happy Women’s History Month! I wanted to let you know about a very cool event happening this upcoming Sunday, March 8th, in Downtown Los Angeles that focuses on womxn artists!
I spoke with Joanna Metoki of Tasty Design Studio about how the event got started, what is purpose of the event, what attendees can expect and more!
Please introduce yourself and tell me about your role with Tasty Design Studio.
My name is Joanna Yuka Metoki, and I am the Founder of Tasty Design Studio. Tasty Design Studio is an Events Marketing Company that I started in 2017. We specialize in custom experiences that bring the Fans and the Brands that they love closer. In 2020, we decided to shift our focus to designing events that empower womxn of the pop culture entertainment industry.
In the summer of 2019, Tasty Design Studio was given the opportunity to design and execute a VIP experience for a popular mobile game that had a large female fan base. With our team made up of mostly women, we were excited to design an experience that embodied everything that we wanted to see from a branded event—“what the fans want to experience” and “showing these fans that we care about their needs.” Some of the keywords that helped to shape the event were, “openness,” “relevance,” “giving back,” and “community.”
The event was a huge success! Every single attendee shared that “it was one of the best events” they have ever been to and they absolutely enjoyed “meeting and connecting with other women who enjoyed the game as they did.” It’s quite common to see buzz over branded promotional events like this to fade out soon after the end of an event. But, for this one we continued to see so many positive reviews and user generated content weeks and months afterwards!
What was the most eye-opening for me was a comment made by a press member who participated in our event mention how there was a clear need for events that women can feel comfortable going to. A space where they can be themselves without worrying about being judged by others. To feel confident about their passions and hobbies.
Working on this event was truly a pivotal moment for Tasty Design Studio. We fell in love with the energy that we felt at this VIP experience. We wanted to do more for the womxn of the pop culture entertainment industry. Events that were truly meaningful and demonstrated that the members of the community were being heard.
That’s why we established the “Glow Ups Only Initiative” which shaped our company’s new vision and mission to offer experiences that inspire the empowerment of all womxn of our industry.
How did this event get started and how are you involved with it?
Tasty Design Studio is planning to host multiple events throughout this year surrounding the theme of CONFIDENCE since that concept is a key factor in our “Glow Ups Only” initiative.
As a woman who has been in the pop culture entertainment industry, I’ve had the honor of meeting all kinds of women. So many talented, passionate, hard-working women. But, our industry is still a very male-dominated one. So, it made perfect sense for that one press member (who I mentioned earlier) to mention how there is still a need for promotional experiences that demonstrate a brand’s understanding of their female market. And that’s when it dawned on me: in order to empower the fans, it’s also important to empower the brands—we want more womxn to be making the decisions!
As with many industries in the country this industry also face inequalities. One particular topic that I feel strongly about is the wage gap. There are countless studies that describe the reasons why there is a disparity between wages but some researchers believe the difference in levels of confidence play a large factor. Studies show that women begin to lose confidence as early as 8 years old and that lowered level of confidence rarely recover well into adulthood while men’s confidence levels recover greatly during a similar age range. This lack of confidence (or more like failure to acknowledge their confidence) cost women their jobs, promotions, and raises in their salaries.
“Coffee Meets Confidence Art Market: Bringing Visibility to Womxn Artists” is an event that demonstrates how confidence comes in many forms. And we’re all awesome! Every. Single. One of us. This event is a culmination of my love for visual art with our mission. Artists are a large part of the pop culture entertainment industry and an example of another male-dominated profession. One of my heroes, Dina Rodriguez of Women of Illustration (www.womenofillustration.com) described this sentiment the best, “…we get used to not seeing women in influential roles. So we begin to see women that are brave enough to be in the public eye as the exception, making us feel that only exceptional women should be given a voice. We need to be visible and start to expect inclusion until it’s normal, because it should be.” And that’s exactly what this art market is about—visibility for all womxn artists. We are representing an authentic, inclusive, and diverse experience of the womxn of our industry. We want artists and creatives to come and see that we all have our wins, we all have our struggles, but we all have confidence in our creations and we’re getting paid for it!
What is the goal of the event?
The goal of “Coffee Meets Confidence,” is very much aligned to our vision and mission for the “Glow Ups Only” initiative.
- Inspire confidence in our local womxn artists by helping them align their professional goals to their life’s purpose.
- Provide artists access to meaningful connections both professional and personal.
- Build a safe and open community of like-minded artists with similar interests, ambitions, and passions to encourage economic empowerment and success.
- Represent an authentic, inclusive, and diverse experience of the womxn artists and their unique journey of professional development.
Tell me about why you chose International Women’s day to host your event.
We are strong advocates for equal rights and are aligned with the missions of the International Women’s Day and for this event, specifically their mission to “increase the visibility of women creatives and promote their work for commercial projects.” (https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Mission/Creative)
What is the schedule of events? Are there any fees?
Market Hours: 9:30AM-3:00PM
Artist Panel: 3:30-4:15PM “Let’s Get Personal—The Story of the Thriving (Not Starving)
“Anti Networking Networking Club”: 4:30-5:30PM
Attendees are not charged for the Art Market portion. The Special Artist Panel with some of our featured artists is only $5 to reserve your spot. The networking following that is totally free also.
Tell me about your special guests. How were they selected to be involved?
Many of our featured artists are talented creatives that Tasty Design Studio and Capsule Corner (our wonderful co-host) have worked with in the past. They are all local artists/creatives that aligned with our vision for “Coffee Meets Confidence.” Some of them are artists that I am working with for the first time for this event! They’re all artists that I fell in love with after following on Instagram. I basically begged them to be part of this event and were awesome enough to agree to join us! All the artists were excited to hear the concept of the Art Market when I explained it to them and that just made me so happy.
What do you hope people take away from the panel?
The special artist panel, “Let’s Get Personal—The Story of the Thriving (Not Starving) Artist” is going to feature 8 of our artists to host an open discussion of their experiences as artists in L.A. This is where we get into the nitty gritty on their journeys up to this point. I want to hear all about their wins but also sharing their struggles and how they overcame them or not (and that’s totally fine too). I want to hear each artists’ take on “confidence” and how that affects their work. Some of the questions I’m planning on asking them include things like, “What is one commonly given piece of advice that you learned is total BS? What is the alternative advice that you would give?” and “What do you think was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your career that ultimately paid off?”
My goal for this panel and the entire event is to encourage womxn of our industry to stop being perfectionists. So many of us suffer from an unattainable image of the “perfect (insert any profession here).” We see this behavior in the workplace all the time. While men may ask for that promotion or raise even if they’re not sure if their perfect for the role (they usually think that they can learn as they go), women tend to not ask for that promotion or raise until they are perfectly capable. So many of us are conditioned to believe that they must be perfect and take little risk in order to be successful. And again, I believe this comes from a lack of visibility of different experiences from womxn. “Women that are brave enough to be in the public eye are exceptional.” Basically, we falsely assume that these successful women are perfect and we begin to believe that we are not enough. But we all are! I want everybody to see that we all make mistakes, we take risks, and it’s OK to be wrong at times.
Anything else you would like to share?
I want to thank all the people who made this amazing event possible in the first place. Edie Xu, owner of the Capsule Corner (www.capsulecorner.fun), a truly amazing capsule machine-based micro gallery in Downtown L.A for co-hosting this event with our company. We’ve been wanting to work together on a project and so far this has been a wonderful experience. All of the artists who are joining us for the Art Market and the panel. Their kindness and support for our mission warms my heart! I also want to thank the staff at Bicycle Coffee in Little Tokyo for providing their space to us. Their team let us pay them in hugs (no really, they literally said we can pay them in hugs) to use their cool space and have been supportive from day 1. We also want to thank Greg Hignight from Tune in Tokyo Club for their continued love and support! And last but not least, Ally Vega for being an amazing partner in bringing to “Glow Ups Only” vision to life!
We hope to announce a very special event that highlights our “Glow Ups Only” initiative that we are planning to launch this year very soon. The team has been setting the stage for the big reveal for the past month and we just can’t wait to let everyone know.