About Shirley Yu
Shirley Yu is the CEO and Founder of Choosii, the community app for everyone that loves to collect (including herself and her friends - crazy plant collectors). Prior to launching Choosii, she discovered her creative side in high school, studied computer science at Rutgers, and then started an award-winning creative production studio where she created environmental portraiture and conceptual still life works for clients that include New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Barclays and Toyota.
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[00:01:17] Shirley’s beginnings in computer science.
[00:01:29] Shirley’s family is heavily STEMM leaning.
[00:02:55] With a creative background, computer science seemed like a good balance between technical and creativity.
[00:04:15] Algorithms to 3D print sculptures. The intersection of creativity and technology. There’s an intentionality and logic to the universe.
[00:05:37] Shirley’s pursuit of photography.
[00:05:52] The creative problem solving of photography and bringing a vision to life.
[00:07:45] Seeking a creative outlet and discovering the scope of photography.
[00:10:27] Renting a studio to develop her skills in parallel with school.
[00:11:38] Being nominated for awards and having commissions and realising that photography would be a viable career path.[00:13:51] Steve Giralt and being motivated to be in that world where she could innovate creatively.
[00:15:20] Graduating from computer science and building her studio.
[00:15:53] Developing client work, but also personal projects to explore what you’re capable of creatively.
[00:17:07] Being passively creative and pulling from both her technical and creative experiences.
[00:19:32] Creating Choosii for collectors inspired by her own experience.
[00:20:57] Creating experiences from interactions.
[00:25:48] The experience doesn’t end with the transaction.
[00:30:39] The emotional satisfaction of knowing something you care about has gone to someone who will care about it as well.
[00:34:42] Shirley made Choosii for people like her.
[00:36:36] On Shirley’s COVID experience and reflecting on care packages and contact.
[00:42:15] The evolution of shopping habits and the trend toward supporting local businesses and responsible capitalism.
[00:46:52] Creating networks from which to buy also gives provenance and builds trust.
[00:47:28] Shirley’s breadth of experience and interactions inform the wholistic view of how she creates.
[00:50:05] Shirley’s process in portraiture and capturing her subject and their environment.
[00:58:42] All of Shirley’s experiences and people she has met through her creative work now informs her own journey as an entrepreneur.
[00:59:11] Curating her projects to reflect her own values and cultivate her journey.
[01:01:08] Finding mentorship when your growth is across multiple spaces.
[01:01:49] Show up. Know what you want to learn, and figure out where that can happen.
[01:04:38] Launch House.
[01:05:08] Finding like-minded people and organically grow the relationships. Create new connections and reengage with old connections.
[01:09:53] What it means to Shirley to be good at business.
[01:12:01] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[01:14:13] Loving what you do takes work, risk, and perseverance.
[01:19:50] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[01:21:16] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
[01:21:26] Diversify. Always keep learning and exploring.
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