Total loan: $5,000


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San Jose, CA, United States / Arts

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A loan helped me fund comic projects to tell the unique stories of my panda characters, which compliment my t-shirt business and fully express my art brand vision.

Phuong-Mai's story

I have always wanted to be a cartoonist. At the age of 3, I was inspired by the wackiness of Looney Tunes, and started drawing Bugs Bunny. As I continued to grow up, I never thought that it wasn't possible to create my own version of the Disney company. I became inspired with comic storytelling after reading manga (Japanese comics), and became a published professional in 1993. My obstacles are familiar ones to many artists. I had minimal moral support from my family, who always aspired me to be a doctor or lawyer. I struggled with operations and managing finances, and was never taught about these things. I've even put my business on hold as I took a career in eCommerce. It all changed when I gave birth to my son, Griffith. Finally, it all made sense: if I wanted to raise an honest child, I had to be true to myself. I had a painful journey of resetting all the untruths of my life, from letting go of my corporate career, to letting go of my relationship with my son's father, to letting go of all the expectations imposed on me from my family. In the end it was all worth it. I feel so fortunate to have the chance to see my failures as learnings. By shifting my mindset, accepting my responsibility in my failures and expressing gratitude, I have been rebuilding my life and my business with true honesty. With this as my foundation, my business and career are successfully rebuilding. I want to keep going, so that I can show others that it's never too late and you can always achieve your dreams.